Chancellor, cabinet craft action plan for university
Initiatives will move campus toward solving pressing issues in the next two years
By Jeff Holeman, Public Affairs

25 OCTOBER 00 | Chancellor Berdahl and senior campus administrators are undertaking a series of initiatives aimed at a wide spectrum of campus priorities - from planning for campus growth, to recruiting faculty and students, to leveraging the new ways to deliver education and information.

The initiatives, which include the recently announced plans to address staff workload and compensation, support Chancellor Berdahl's overall priorities, constituting an action plan for the next two years.

The initiatives were adopted at a recent retreat of the chancellor's cabinet, a group including Berkeley's vice chancellors and other senior members of the campus administration.

"We looked at what things keep us from achieving our priorities, what we need to do to achieve them, and what initiatives we should undertake in the next two years to fulfill our priorities," Berdahl said in a recent interview. "What resulted was an action plan for the next two years."

Outside factors have in particular made it difficult for the campus to sustain academic preeminence and improve organizational effectiveness, Berdahl said. Many of these factors can be traced to the nation's booming economy.

"We've had a tremendously inflated and hyperactive real estate market, which has driven up the cost of living for faculty and staff in the Bay Area; it becomes a major obstacle in our recruitment of faculty," Berdahl said. "As we look at how to sustain academic preeminence, it became clear that housing is a major issue, as are competitive fellowships for graduate students."

Deteriorating competitive staff salaries and a virtually zero unemployment market have compounded the problem of organizational effectiveness, Berdahl said. "A demoralized staff is not a staff that is going to be effective."

Another concern is enrollment expansion facing the university system, he said.

Weighing the challenges facing the campus, vice chancellors and other cabinet members were asked to articulate major imperatives that need to be addressed over the next few years. More than 35 initiatives were proposed, then consolidated, resulting in the cabinet's plan for action.

"We put a lot of effort into planning," Berdahl said, making certain that we came away with not just a broad discussion of what needed to be done, but with people who would take responsibility for resolving these issues and a timeline for reporting back with definite progress on addressing them."

Most of the initiatives will be completed in the next two years, but some will require more time to be completed.

The chancellor acknowledged that the initiatives will address long-term issues that don't present easy, quick solutions. Although the initiatives may not solve all of the challenges facing the campus, he said, they will provide a timeline, framework, and plan to begin making progress.

That progress includes responding better to the varied needs of the campus community; meeting the challenges and demands of the new economy and technologies; helping to reinforce the value of a liberal arts education in the making of new citizens; working in new and creative ways to solve some of society's most pressing problems; and serving as a forum to discuss ethical and policy issues that arise from advances in science and technological fields.

Priorities for the campus

Following are the five major priorities Chancellor Berdahl has set to ensure that Berkeley remains the premier public research university in the country as we continue to fulfill our mission to serve the public trust.

Sustain academic and faculty pre-eminence so that intellectual and scholarly leadership can flourish in every field.

Protect and enhance the research environment so that we can continue to carry out research that addresses the needs of public interest.

Advance student learning by integrating benefits of the information revolution, curriculum innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and research opportunities.

Support an inclusive campus community by enhancing access and opportunity for students and creating a safe, human, caring place.

Improve operational effectiveness across campus by streamlining processes, providing needed training, and striving for continual improvement so that we can maximize our core teaching and research efforts.

Cabinet initiatives


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