University of California, Riverside

UCR Budget News & Information

Presentation on Impact of Budget Cuts at UCR

Chancellor Timothy P. White's Presentation to the Regents on the Impact Of Budget Cuts On UC Riverside

July 15, 2009

The University of California, Riverside, like our sister campuses, will experience a reduction in services, shrinkage and elimination of education and research training programs, and increased workloads for our employees, who at the same time will be faced with reductions in time and salary.

When general fund budgets are contracted significantly and quickly, as now, our Achilles tendon is our high reliance on state general fund:

  • 44 % of our total support vs. system wide average (excluding medical schools) of 25 %

Let me touch very briefly on five areas: Students, Programs, Administration, the Numbers, and our Future.

1. Student Programs/Services

Most serious of all are the implications for our students.

UCR is the most diverse of the UC campuses

  • Largest percentage of students in UC on Pell Grants at 45%.
  • 50% first to degree in their families
  • Many of these fully UC eligible students need assistance navigating higher education, and we have a special responsibility to help them succeed.
  • The standard of knowledge and skills to graduate is high and consistent across campuses; different slopes to get there depending where you enter from.
  • We are proud that UCR's graduation rate is virtually the same across all racial and ethnic groups and ahead of national peers
  • I worry deeply of our capacity to sustain this success.

The deans at my request and that of the provost will continue to provide priority among the faculty's activities to deliver the curriculum...we have an unalterable commitment to our students and are going to absolutely minimize the negative impact here.  None-the-less, some examples of retraction:

  • We have had to reduce the number of lab and discussion sections and eliminate courses.
  • Advances in some student success initiatives will be lost. For example, our student/advisor ratio was at the national standard of 300:1.  Now, due to budget cuts, this ratio has slipped to an unacceptable level of 450:1, and may exceed 500:1 when final cuts are implemented.
    • This puts a severe strain on our advisors to do a thorough and timely job in meeting our undergraduate needs for academic and career advice.
    • In the end, it may decrease retention and graduation rates.
  • Each year the Medical and Health Careers Program serves more than 2,000 students who are applying to schools in the health professions.  A 50 % cut in funding for this program will seriously undermine our ability to serve this cadre of students.
  • Recent budget reductions have eliminated 12 honors courses and more than doubled class sizes, thus dramatically diminishing opportunities for students to have close contact with our most distinguished faculty.
  • Freshmen Discovery Seminars have been eliminated.  These are one hour courses on a plethora of subjects aimed at broadening students' horizons and exposing them to fields of study they may not otherwise have explored.
  • Eliminate/reduce training graduate students from socio-economically disadvantaged groups, particularly in areas such as research ethics, grant writing, dissertation writing, and preparing for future faculty positions. 
    • Without these workshops, our students will be less competitive for grants, fellowships, and ultimately jobs.
    • Students of color will be predominantly affected, especially in areas such as the sciences and engineering, where they are already underrepresented.
  • UCR's Graduate School of Education faces a 24 percent reduction in students admitted to the teacher education program - at a time when UC is struggling to maintain its science and math initiative for teacher training.
  • The Bourns College of Engineering had hoped to launch a much needed civil engineering program, but will be unable to do so.  Further, their new and highly popular five year BS/MS programs are in jeopardy.

And as you have heard from my colleagues, we too are concerned about the raids being made on our best and most productive faculty members, and concerned especially about the impacts on our entry-level faculty.  The salary gap compared to peers is growing, not shrinking, and this is not sustainable. The quality of our academic enterprise rests on the quality of our faculty.

2. Programs

In the past year, you approved two major programmatic initiatives for UCR-the School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy.

  • We have been unsuccessful to-date in securing state funding for the UCR medical school.  The state's inability to support the school has put on hold a $10 million gift from Kaiser Permanente, which requires a state match for release of its gift. 
    • While we are carrying on at a slowed pace with planning funds from private sources-including the search for a founding dean-the delay has huge implications for healthcare in our seriously underserved region, and for the regional economy which is among the hardest hit in the nation.
  • The School of Public Policy has been delayed indefinitely, despite the increased need for public policy on the environmental, educational and social issues of our times.

3. Core Administrative Functions

Core administrative functions have also been hard-hit, in order to provide maximum protection to the academic core.

  • In May I instituted an administrative redesign, reducing UCR's senior leadership by one vice chancellor.  This resulted in a savings of approximately $500,000 per year. 
    • With this action, I believe the campus is "right sized" administratively.
    • Further, this action set the tone for the rest of the campus in terms of achieving administrative efficiencies by re-thinking the way we do business.
  • The campus will consolidate IT functions.  In May I charged a campus-wide committee with making a recommendation to me on how this can take place.
  • In order to continue to meet state and federal regulatory and compliance requirements, many of our administrative offices must sacrifice other services available to the campus.  With a 20 percent reduction in staffing, for example, the Office of Research will have less support available to assist faculty in seeking external contracts and grants, which may result in lost funding opportunities.
  • The advancement office will eliminate 12 staff positions and significantly reduce UCR's new integrated marketing campaign.  Further, our small but highly effective Governmental and Community Relations Office has suffered a 43 percent loss in staffing. 
    • These cuts in our research and advancement and government relations operations are particularly troubling at a time when we are trying to reduce UCR's reliance on state funds.

4. The Numbers

Our need is to pull out about $45 million of our general fund expenditures ... about 20 % of the resources that support 44% of our expenses.

Since my arrival last summer, an extensive budget planning process has resulted in the following actions:

  • All faculty hiring has been significantly curtailed. 
    • Of 47 faculty positions planned for recruitment in FY08-09, we scaled back to 17
    • At most, UCR may hire only 4-5 new faculty for FY09-10.
  • At the staff level, more than 100 FTE have been permanently eliminated.  Since January, only mission critical positions have been approved for recruiting.
  • Dozens of additional layoffs are anticipated.
  • Over time, I anticipate permanently reducing both our faculty and staff by approximately 15 percent.
  • Of course the faculty reductions impact  research and creative activity productivity, and a reduction in extramural grants and contracts, etc...a negative ripple effect

5.  Let me close with the Intangibles and a Promise

Ultimately, UCR is here to serve our students and the people of California first, and the nation and world. The development of human capital is at the core of our future, and we are particularly proud that our students reflect the rich diversity of California's citizenry.  I am very concerned about our vulnerability here.

The generation of knowledge is also at the core of our economy...and while much of this is supported by extramural resources, some of the diminished training activities among our undergrads and grad students if sustained will impair the richly diverse pipeline that feeds the research enterprise.

This is my third association with the University of California since 1972, first in the 70s as a graduate student at Berkeley, in the 90s as Professor and Chair on the Berkeley campus, and now as Chancellor of Riverside.  My association with UC has been interrupted with stops at other strong public research universities in Michigan, Oregon and Idaho.  The impact of today's economic crisis is unlike any I have experienced over all these years in California and three other states.

The losses I have enumerated are real, and will be deeply felt, and will have lingering negative impacts that will become permanent if a solution is not found with dispatch.

Less tangible is the opportunity cost.  As many of you saw when you visited UCR for the March Regents' meeting, we are a campus on the rise.  We are poised for growth.  We are positioned for greatness.  We are a campus of diversity, opportunity, and promise.  These cuts will bring a loss of momentum that will seriously test and undoubtedly delay our ascension.

But let me be clear, we are focusing on the least lousy decisions, and let me be clear that I and my faculty, staff and leadership are working day and night to generate new resources for our future while we are making necessary cuts and crafting innovative efficiencies.

Let me be clear, we will be strategically poised on the backside of this contraction to continue our climb to preeminence.

And let me be clear, there are no white flags at UCR.  I promise that to you The Regents, and to my faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5201
Fax: (951) 827-3866