For you, YudofShocker (not)! Mark Yudof will replace previous UC president Robert Dynes, who sailed through some rough water a while back. Yudof boasts skillz in mastering public high education systems, including University of Texas and University of Minnesota. Now he’s playing with the big boys.

The Chron reports that

he called UC the “premier public university system in the world” and said, “There’s no better job in higher education in America.”

Aw, shucks. But it’s not all rainbows and kittens, we assure you.

Yudof will inherit a large system facing some financial strain from the state, and it seems the UC Board of Regents will bank on Yudof to pull some money out of his ass. He’s a charmer, so it’s said, and this won’t be his first time trying to fill up a piggy bank. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come from our pockets.

Image Source: Badseed under Creative Commons
Yudof hired as new UC president; base pay set at $591,000 [SF Chron]
Regents Appoint Next UC President [Daily Cal]
Presumptive UC president knows lean times for higher education [SF Chron]

Transparency said:
Oct 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm

UC Berkeley’s recent elimination of popular sports programs highlighted endemic problems in the university’s management. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the UC Board of Regents and the California legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million….until there was no money left.
It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain , to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization and the academic senate..
From time to time, a whistleblower would bring some glaring problem to light, but the chancellor’s response was to dig in and defend rather than listen and act. Since UC has been exempted from most whistleblower lawsuits, there are ultimately no negative consequences for maintaining inefficiencies.
In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, students, staff, academic senate, Cal. alumni, and taxpayers await the transformation.