To all UCSF Faculty,

It has been my privilege to serve as your Chair of the Academic Senate during this past year, and I look forward to the coming year with enthusiasm. Not surprisingly, many of the big concerns facing our campus at the start of last year are still with us. The State's financial crisis has not resolved, and its impact on our University is expected to get worse rather than better during the coming 12 months. The era of 15% increases in NIH budgets appears to be over. The costs of medical insurance continue to climb in double-digit increments, and coverage of Medicare patients by HMOs and other carriers is declining. Dean Haile Debas has announced his retirement at the end of this coming academic year and will be hard to replace. On the bright side, the Medical Center under the impressive leadership of Mark Laret continues to improve its financial position and is now well into the black. The first building at Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, is expected to open for business in January of next year. The funding for our California Institute of Science-the Institute of Quantitative Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Biomedicine or QB3-is secured by a bond measure and not subject to the cuts in research funding mandated by the State budget crisis. Furthermore, QB3 has recruited a well regarded Director, Marvin Cassman, PhD and so is well on its way to greatness. Graduate education is finally getting the attention of our State Legislature, with money for additional FTEs appearing on campus. The $1.4 billion fund raising effort by our campus is on track with more than 50% of the money secured. Thus prudent optimism is the order of the day. So from my perspective, what are the big issues facing our faculty over the coming year and what is the Senate doing to address these issues?

  1. Strategic Plan for the Medical Center. One delightful problem arising from success is that the Medical Center needs more space, while at the same time recognizing the need for growth in critical areas to remain successful. As such the Medical Center has hired consultants to assist it in determining its optimal strategy for growth over the next five to ten years. Prominent consideration is being made for increased utilization of Mt. Zion clinical facilities. No final decisions have been made. A Senate task force chaired by Len Zegans and comprised of members of the Clinical Affairs Committee and Academic Planning and Budget Committee have been working closely with Mark Laret and his staff to ensure that academic, clinical, and financial concerns are all addressed in the planning process.
  2. Long Range Development Plan. The need to replace the Medical Center because of seismic concerns has provided this campus with one of its greatest challenges and opportunities. One year ago, I mentioned that five scenarios were being considered but suggested that more were likely. Indeed the combinations have multiplied in part because it no longer seems likely that any one site including Mission Bay can accommodate the entire Medical Center if that also means moving all the Schools to that site. Although it appears likely that much of the Medical Center will move to Mission Bay (by no means a done deal, however), even with the purchase of an additional 17 acres (so called Mission Bay South), the amount of space available and the costs of moving and construction make the wholesale consolidation of UCSF at Mission Bay unlikely. Thus, much of the current thinking is devoted to how to optimize a divided campus. Planning for such an eventuality will, by necessity, need to await decisions on what is economically feasible for the Medical Center. However, it is not too early for our faculty to consider the implications of a divided campus on our academic mission. The initial wave of basic scientists will be moving to Mission Bay next year. This will open up space at Parnassus for the six new research programs that should be well established by the time a new Medical Center is built. The Clinical Research Building 2, originally slated for construction at Mt. Zion, is likely to be built at Mission Bay sometime over the next several years with implications for a variety of groups including those at the Mt. Zion Cancer Center who were anticipating space in that new building. Thus our campus faces the challenges of maintaining excellence in our research and teaching programs with our faculty spread across multiple sites. Members of the Senate are on critical committees dealing with these issues. Furthermore, the Senate will be working with the Faculty Councils to develop means to solicit faculty input regarding the best ways to maintain our academic programs in the face of these new developments.
  3. Faculty hiring, retention, promotion and quality of academic life. Our campus is unique among the UC campuses in having only a minority of its faculty in the Senate. Expansion of the Clinical X series is helping here, but over half of our faculty are in the Clinical and Adjunct series which do not qualify for Senate membership. Yet these faculty are vital for the academic mission of our campus. The bylaws of our Senate are currently under revision to enable Clinical and Adjunct faculty to participate in Senate committees. The Committee on Research has proposed a broadening of the eligibility for Senate research grants. The Committee on Academic Personnel is currently considering, and the Medicine Faculty Council has recommended, that the UCSF Distinction in Teaching award criteria be expanded to include Clinical and Adjunct faculty with salaried appointments exceeding 51%. A proposal has come from the School of Medicine Faculty Council recommending that Senate Travel Grant awards also be expanded to include Clinical and Adjunct faculty with salaried appointments exceeding 51%. The Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) has developed a check list for use by Department Chairs and CAP to ensure that at the time of hire, faculty are appointed to the appropriate series, understand the differences in expectations for the different series, and that they are provided the resources to be successful in their series. A task force of Senate members and Academic Vice Deans has been established to explore means of ensuring that the criteria for hiring and promotion of faculty into the appropriate series are fairly applied. The Committee on Equal Opportunity has developed a program to assist recruitment committees in their efforts to hire a diverse faculty. Finally a task force co-chaired by Mary Croughan and Vice Chancellor Bainton has been formed to develop a mentoring program to assist all faculty in developing successful careers at UCSF.
  4. Conflict of Interest Policy. As mentioned in my letter last year, an important component of our academic mission is to extend our expertise and research discoveries to the outside world. Financial incentives are a legitimate means to encourage the extra time, effort, and risk to do so. However, financial incentives may also distort the academic mission if less remunerative but academically vital activities such as teaching and university service are ignored, and/or the financial incentives lead to incomplete or misleading reporting of research findings. Furthermore, in today's environment, the appearance of potential conflict of interest counts for much in the minds of the public leading some to judge faculty enterprise by how it will play in the Chronicle. A task force of the Senate, under the leadership of Mike Weiner has been formed with broad representation from the clinical and basic research communities, bioethicists, and legal expertise. This task force has spent the past year examining the conflict of interest policies of 21 major universities including our "Comparison 8", the AAMC, and the NIH, and is wrestling with formulating recommendations for the best policy for this campus. The task force is diverse, and the differences in opinion profound. Their work is not yet complete. However, when their report is issued, it will be widely distributed for faculty comment prior to finalizing recommendations to the Chancellor for adoption.
  5. Budget planning process. In the past the Deans of the Schools prepared their annual budget requests with limited faculty participation, although the extent of faculty participation varied among the schools, and with no involvement of the Senate. During the past year the Senate, Deans, and Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, Steve Barclay, developed a process in which the Faculty Councils would work closely with the Deans to develop budget priorities for the individual schools. These would be submitted to Vice Chancellor Barclay's office and subsequently discussed with the Academic Planning and Budget Committee (APB), of which VC Barclay is a member, in a special session(s) including Faculty Council representatives. APB would then submit its comments on the budget priorities to the Deans and to the Chancellor prior to the individual one on one meetings of the Deans with the Chancellor. This process was initiated in part last spring, with many of the faculty recommendations being incorporated into the final budget by the Chancellor, and will be fully implemented this academic year.
  6. Tobacco industry funding. Few on this campus would deny that tobacco is harmful to one's health or that the means by which the tobacco industry promotes itself is less than forthright. Many are of the opinion that tobacco money is sufficiently tainted and that the University has a moral obligation not to accept it for any purpose. A petition towards that end has been circulated and signed by many of our faculty. Furthermore, some organizations such as the American Legacy Foundation (ALF) have inserted a clause in their contracts that requires that an institution receiving money from ALF not also receive tobacco money. This requirement has not been accepted by the University. Other foundations, such as the American Lung Foundation, stipulate only that the grantee (not the institution) must agree not to accept tobacco money, and these grants have been accepted. The concept that an outside organization with no responsibility for the academic program at UCSF should dictate terms to UCSF that would bind its faculty in otherwise lawful pursuits raises serious questions of academic freedom. A task force led by Patrick Fox with members from the Committee on Academic Freedom and the Committee on Research has developed a process to ensure faculty discussion of these issues. In particular, a town hall meeting is scheduled for 1:00pm September 25, 2002 in Toland Hall to initiate the dialogue prior to a faculty poll on these issues. The results of the poll will be sent to the Chancellor and discussed in Academic Council (representing all 10 campuses) as appropriate.
  7. Cross School Educational interactions. A number of concerns have been expressed regarding the ways in which we handle our teaching tasks -- including little collaboration in the teaching of courses across schools, lack of coordination in identifying learning opportunities abroad, difficulty scheduling courses/classrooms, lack of appropriate equipment, out of date and/or non comprehensive course catalog, limited faculty experience with web based teaching resources. The Committee on Education Policy (CEP) under the leadership of David Teitel organized a half-day "Symposium of Leaders" to address these and related issues. Over thirty faculty and administrative leaders from the four schools and Graduate Division participated, and the report is on the Senate web site. The symposium clarified the issues and established core working groups to accomplish the various sets of action items to be accomplished during the coming academic year. Call David or Patricia Benner, in-coming Chair of Education Policy Committee if you want to participate. This effort will complement the efforts of the Committee on Courses of Instruction and the Distance Learning Task Force dealing with similar issues.

These are but the highlights as I see them today. The Academic Senate has fourteen standing committees, six task forces, and four faculty councils each with its own agenda and dedicated members and is served by an excellent staff - Gretchen Gende, Elizabeth Langdon-Gray, Judy Dang and Patrick Nabors - under the direction of Tamara Maimon, Director of the Senate Office. I am looking forward to a productive year and plan regular communications with the faculty to provide updates and status on the important issues facing UCSF. I welcome and encourage the participation of all faculty on this campus in the University's system of shared governance. Please do not hesitate to contact me or the Senate Office for any assistance or additional information.


Sincerely,

Daniel Bikle, MD, PhD
Chair
San Francisco Division Academic Senate

Last Webpage Update: 4/22/13


University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94143, (415) 476-9000
The Regents of the University of California