Budget Rant #2: The State Morass

One additional lunchtime article talked about a state senate hearing on the state budget, and the potential of closing down one or more UC campusses. It’s about time that this question was raised.

I’ve been wondering to myself for a while whether we have overexpanded the UC and CSU system. Simply cutting the pay of the large staff isn’t enough. Mothballing campuses wholesale might be, but there are the tenure contracts that get in the way. At least it is worth discussing. But an even better idea is in the article: “Mac Taylor, the legislative analyst, told the panel that they might also consider transforming some UC campuses into liberal arts schools while concentrating research efforts at other locations.”

Now that’s a great notion and thought. Ignoring UCSF here, why must every UC be a full general purpose campus? Why can’t we have some that specialize in engineering whereas others have other specialities? This is what companies do: they realign facilities to eliminate duplication of effort. Perhaps such a realignment could permit UC to serve the same number of students at lower cost through more focused upper-division and graduate offerings (I recognize the lower-division courses would need to be the same at both). The same could be done for the CSU system.

Yes, I know this is a radical idea. But it is intriguing none-the-less. What do you think?