SF State News {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

Decisions on UPAC Recommendations

Note: The following e-mail was sent on 2/4/11 to all faculty and staff.


Dear Colleague:


Two weeks ago, I wrote to let you know that the University Planning Advisory Council (UPAC) had submitted its report and recommendations and that a review of those recommendations was under way. This was clearly urgent work. Delay would only deepen our fiscal problems and jeopardize our ability to maintain the quality and character of the university we know and love.


I am pleased to report that we have made great progress since then. I have accepted the vast majority of UPAC’s work and we are moving ahead on most of the recommendations. Here, in brief, is an account of our plans and actions. 


The 22 recommendations fall into three groups: those for which a response is already under way, those that will be further informed by the work of a task force or outside consultant, and two recommendations about which further discussion is needed.


Fourteen recommendations are already in progress. Among them are recommendations dealing with  academic issues (Review the curricular structure and content of existing degree programs with an eye to maintaining quality, eliminating redundancy, and merging similar programs; expect centers and institutes to be self-supporting, house them within academic units and have them report to the head of the unit; approach any necessary faculty reductions strategically), administrative matters (review all lease agreements to analyze costs/benefits; explore the efficiency of equipment procurement and possibilities for units to share equipment; evaluate all campus copying to ensure maximum advantage from our institutional copying contract) and revenue-generating strategies (expand the success of Development and/or Government Relations; review auxiliaries to ensure that we are maximizing the potential of entrepreneurial opportunities).


We are forming new task forces to address the recommendations calling for streamlining of CEL, eliminating redundancy between the Learning Assistance Center and Campus Academic Resource Program, and review of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in light of the resource commitment it requires. The task forces will be asked to complete their work by the end of the spring semester. We are issuing an RFP for an external consultant to address the recommendation that we conduct a comprehensive review of information technology support with the goal of significantly reducing IT expenditures and redundancies.


Two recommendations are on hold pending further review:


Analysis of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development: When the new dean of Faculty Affairs is selected, he or she will be charged with considering this recommendation.

Move from paper-based student evaluations of teaching to an online method: This requires further review and consultation.


And now to the “needs further discussion” category.


The broadest and most challenging of UPAC’s recommendations – that we reorganize to a six-college structure – shows courageous and creative thought, and I accept the general concept. The provost and I feel, however, that a slight adjustment will better serve our academic mission: a “six plus one” structure that creates a free-standing Graduate School of Education. We are requesting the Academic Senate to carry out a faculty referendum to advise us on the placement of academic units within the six college structure. The related recommendation encouraging partnerships among smaller departments and programs clearly rests on the outcome of the college structure, so it is on hold for now. 


By Friday, February 11, faculty will receive notice of the referendum by e-mail. They will be asked to vote, and will also have the opportunity to comment. We aim to promptly make a decision and begin the work of reorganizing.


As we all know, the already dire state budget situation could get much worse.  We do not know whether the Governor’s ballot measures to extend certain taxes will even reach the ballot, much less be approved. If they fail, the CSU’s $500 million budget cut for 2011-12 could well double to one billion dollars. 


Through this academic reorganization and implementation of the other strategies that emerged from UPAC, we hope to preserve both SF State jobs and the high quality education that is both our mission and our pride.


Again, I want to commend UPAC for the positive spirit in which it has proceeded and the valuable work it has done, and to thank all the members of the campus community who have offered – and will continue to offer – their insights and advice as we move forward.


--Robert A. Corrigan, president

SF State Home