California Issues

A Proposal to Eliminate the SAT in Berkeley Admissions, by Saul Geiser

Saul Geiser

The SAT is used for two purposes at the University of California. First is eligibility: Determining whether applicants meet the minimum requirements for admission to the UC system. Second is admissions selection: At high-demand campuses such as Berkeley, with many more eligible applicants than places available, test scores are used to select from among them. UC policy delegates authority to the faculty at each campus to establish local admissions procedures that reflect “campus values and academic priorities.” Under the proposal outlined...

The One University Idea and its Futures by Patricia A. Pelfrey

Patricia A. Pelfrey

The University of California, the nation’s first multicampus system, is unique in its central organizing principle, known as the one-university idea. Its premise is simple: that a large and decentralized system of campuses, which share the same mission but differ in size, interests, aspirations, and stage of development, can nevertheless be governed as a single university. Long regarded as a major structural reason for the UC system’s rise to pre-eminence among public research universities, the one-university model has been a unifying administrative and cultural ethos within UC for...

The Effect of Selective Public Research University Enrollment: Evidence from California, by Zachary Bleemer

Zachary Bleemer
What are the benefits and costs of attending a selective public research university instead of a less-selective university or college? This study examines the 2001-2011 Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) program, which guaranteed University of California admission to students in the top four percent of California high school classes. Employing a regression discontinuity design, I estimate that ELC pulled 8 percent of marginally-admitted students into four "Absorbing'' UC campuses from less-competitive public institutions in California. Those ELC compliers had lower SAT scores and family...

Exploring Funding Options for the University of California by John Aubrey Douglass

John Aubrey Douglass
Despite massive cuts in state funding over the past thirty years, the University of California has managed to keep enrollment on pace with growth in population. With California’s population projected to grow 22.5 percent (from 40 to 49 million by 2040), that will no longer be the case, unless UC is able to find a new funding model. Informed by the historical analysis in the report Approaching a Tipping Point: A History and Prospectus of Funding for the University of California, this essay revisits the options for funding UC from that report, including: reinvestment by California lawmakers and...

Policy Options for University of California Budgeting, by Charles E. Young

Charles E. Young

Within a quarter century after the end of World War II (1945-1970), largely because of the support and investment it received from the State, the University of California had changed from two modest-size general campuses (Berkeley and Los Angeles) and the medical campus in San Francisco (UCSF), to a system of eight general campuses. California was at the pinnacle of its success-its economy strong and growing. Since then, however, the fiscal and political problems facing California have led to a steady erosion in funding support for the University of California, and now are leading to...

How Best to Coordinate California Higher Education: Comments on the Governor's Proposed Reforms, by Warren H. Fox

Warren H. Fox

California government is now considering major reforms in the organization of higher education, specifically dismantling the state’s independent planning and coordinating agency, the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), and placing it and the Student Aid Commission under a new position in the governor’s office, possibly a Secretary of Higher Education. This recommendation is the result of Governor Schwarzenegger’s establishment of the California Performance Review Commission, in February of 2004, to investigate possible reorganization and other reforms for reducing...

Californians Redefine Academic Freedom, by Martin Trow

Martin Trow

This position paper discusses the changes to the UC Academic Senate’s regulations on academic freedom and on policies for teaching potentially contentious or political issues, arguing that the new regulation has not been adequately considered in light of its detrimental effect on academic standards. Whereas previously the university’s policy had stated that faculty were not to use their teaching to "convert" students, the new regulation relies on individual instructors’ "competence" and allows for their politically committed viewpoints instead of establishing any guidelines for...

Credential Inflation and the Professional Doctorate in California Higher Education, by Thomas J. La Belle

Thomas J. La Belle

The article argues that the time has come to change California’s 1960 Master Plan for higher education by permitting the California State University (CSU) to award the doctorate in selected professional programs. The article also addresses the inadequacies of the joint doctorate as the means to remedy degree or credential creep; the CSU’s focus on securing permission to grant the Ed.D. rather than other professional doctoral degrees; and the dominant role played in the State by the CSU relative to the UC in master’s level education. Subsequently, the article considers why degree and...