UC Commission on the Future to hold public forums

The UC Commission on the Future is seeking creative ideas from the University of California community and the public for sustaining the university's contributions to California in the context of chronic shortfalls in state funding.

Two public forums have been called by the commission to solicit the widest possible array of ideas for consideration as UC seeks ways of sustaining its quality and accessibility amid the unrelenting state budget pressures. Faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, leaders of community and business groups, and members of the general public who care about the future of higher education are all invited to participate.

The first forum will be held Dec. 8 in San Francisco. It follows town hall meetings being held on all 10 UC campuses in November and December. Those town halls were called to provide information about the commission to members of the UC community and to solicit feedback on the early directions of its work.

"These public forums are another effort to engage Californians in a conversation about the future of their public research university," said UC President Mark Yudof, who joined Board of Regents Chairman Russell Gould in launching the commission earlier this year. "As the commission's working groups take shape, it is essential that we hear from all quarters about the things Californians most need and value from the University of California--and that we also hear a broad spectrum of ideas about potential solutions to the fiscal challenge we face."

The commission's five working groups--which will focus on the size and shape of UC, education and curriculum, access and affordability, funding strategies, and research strategies--are composed of a wide spectrum of members drawn from the Regents, faculty, students, alumni, administration, staff, and other experts not affiliated with UC. Close consultation with the Academic Senate will be essential for commission recommendations pertaining to curriculum and other core faculty responsibilities.

The commission will be grappling with how to continue the university's legacy of promoting the public good--through its education, research, health care, and public service--when state resources that historically have funded a large share of the university's core activities continue to erode. The commission's web site contains summaries of many of the issues under preliminary consideration by the working groups.

The public forums will be meetings of the full Commission on the Future. The Dec. 8 public forum will be held from 1:30 -4:30 p.m. at the UCSF Mission Bay Community Center, 1675 Owens St., San Francisco. A second forum is expected to be held in Southern California in January; the specific date and location will be available in January on the commission's web site.

Interested members of the public are invited to learn more about the commission and review background reading material at http://ucfuture.universityofcalifornia.edu.