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November 2017 Newsletter - Issue 1

Message from the Academic Senate Chair

As the Division chair, I am delighted to present the first Academic Senate newsletter under my leadership. It is an honor to represent the amazingly talented UCSF faculty. I hope that together we will achieve important advances for the faculty, and the University as a whole, over the next two years.

In a foreword to a history of the Academic Senate, Clark Kerr wrote “The two greatest gifts to the University of California have been the institutional autonomy given to its Board of Regents in the Constitution of 1878 and the unprecedented grant of authority the board assigned to the Academic Senate in 1920. These two gifts constitute the institutional foundation for the growth in distinction of the University of California.” The Senate shares governance of University affairs with the administration, and as such, has the ability to effect positive changes for its members. I look forward to working closely with the Administration, which is committed to involving the Senate in all aspects of University life.

As an initial foray into developing collaborative solutions with the administration, I have changed the name of the newsletter. Like many of you, I greatly enjoy Dan Lowenstein’s Expresso newsletters. However, they tend to leave me a little wanting – for dessert! In the spirit of restraint, we will only offer dessert on a quarterly basis.

The dessert recommendation for this first newsletter comes from Mission Pie, a wonderful bakery at the southeast corner of 25th and Mission in the City. A locally owned business in close proximity to La Taqueria (need I say more), I can attest that its pies are indeed special (my expertise comes from having a mother who made pies for every Friday night dinner, pies known to be some of the best in Toronto). My favorite of Mission Pie’s current offerings is Pear-Ginger, which comes in a mini-size, so you can still feel somewhat honorable while indulging.

So, while you’re having your espresso and dessert, do check out the newsletter articles on important issues on which we are working these days, and perhaps some stories from around the world that I think you may find as fascinating as I do.

Stories from around the world:


  • This interesting article supports the notion that, although workspace changes are a necessary element to our lives, one size does not fit all. I was particularly struck by the statement “Research done by Craig Knight, a British organizational psychologist, concluded that “empowered offices” — in which workers can choose their conditions — can increase productivity on cognitive tasks by 25 percent or more.”
  • How about partnering with Sidewalk Labs/Alphabet to create Sidewalk UCSF, to address some of our massive housing needs innovatively? (Way to go, Toronto!)

For Dog Lovers:
Who would have thought that a genetic defect in humans (I see these patients regularly in my pediatric cardiology practice) may be the reason that your dog (and not a wolf) is your best friend; or, more to the point, that you are your dog’s best friend.

Super Cool!
Or super hot. The collision of two neutron stars was first detected by LIGO on August 17. This animation of the event is fascinating. The first article on it was authored by 4,000 scientists! Now that is truly a multi-center project.

Lastly, I want to say that the Senate exists to represent and support you, the faculty, in all aspects of your work life. I would love to hear from you about any topic that concerns you, whether you have ideas for positive change, want support, or just want to vent. Please go to the Senate Response Page. The Senate is interested in all of your thoughts, and problems, and we are committed to supporting you, to make your experience at UCSF, and UCSF itself, better.


David Teitel, MD, Chair
Academic Senate (2017-2019)

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UCSF Space Update: Issues and Initiatives

From the development of the Mission Bay campus to Mission Hall, and now to the anticipated revitalization of Parnassus Heights, space at UC San Francisco has long been a significant concern to the Faculty and the Academic Senate. Space involves more than the physical allotment of office and laboratory space to UCSF researchers, clinicians, and educators. It encompasses a broad range of policy issues, which intersect the borders between academic departments and clinical, educational, and research programs. In the coming months, the Senate will publish a series of stories in collaboration with the Change Management within the School of Medicine's Dean Office and Program Management Office; Campus Planning; Capital Programs; Real Estate, and Sustainability. This article lays out the basic landscape of Space, as perceived by the Senate.

Although the Senate has been successful in placing faculty representatives on the various space planning committees at UCSF, there has been very little coordination among these representatives, which has hindered shared governance in this area. With this in mind, the Senate established a new standing Committee on Space (SPC) in June 2017. It is primarily charged with coordinating Senate efforts and input into UCSF space planning. The ultimate goal is to work with the Administration in setting general principles regarding all campus space, and, from those principles, to develop policies which will guide UCSF space stewardship. This includes the maintenance of existing infrastructure, occupancy of new and renovated buildings, and monitoring space usage and occupant satisfaction. The membership of SPC was designed to best achieve that goal. It consists of Senate representatives from each of the three UCSF standing committees on space (the UCSF Campus Space Committee, the UCSF Campus Space Management Subcommittee, and the UCSF New Space Development Subcommittee1), from each of the ad-hoc building programming subcommittees, and one at-large member, and reflects the diversity of geography, School, and primary activity of the UCSF faculty. Ex officio members from Senate and Campus leadership ensure that all issues are known and appropriately considered.

Ongoing Issues: Campus Space Policy and Indirect Costs

Most recently updated in 2014, UCSF’s current campus administrative policy on Space Governance and Principles is organized around four principles:

  1. general space accountability and governance
  2. fairness, consistency, transparency, economic sustainability and strategic prioritization in the deployment of space
  3. non-permanence of space allocation, retention, and use
  4. operational cost responsibility for space.

However, that policy falls short of being a comprehensive plan for space stewardship. It focuses on research and administrative space, neglecting space needs for UCSF’s two other central missions, education and clinical care.

1 New Space Development Subcommittee is pending and not yet formed.


The metric for research space utilization in the current policy focuses on indirect costs recovery per assigned square foot of research space. Many within the faculty and administration have questioned whether this approach adequately supports the development of research programs within the University. For example, many sources of sponsored research, such as foundations and state monies, provide very little support for indirect costs relative to traditional federal governmental funding agencies. This is a particular problem for junior-level faculty, who often may rely upon foundation grants in order to collect pilot data necessary for larger federally sponsored grant applications. A space policy based primarily on indirect cost recovered per square foot would unduly burdensome faculty researchers and restrict their careers.

As noted above, the current policy does not fully articulate the standards to be used in making space allocation determinations for educational and clinician space. Education is changing dramatically across the campus, with new curricula and interprofessional programs requiring very different types and locations for education. Metrics for assigning and auditing administrative space for educators and clinicians have not been developed, nor have principles to guide their development been articulated.

It is the hope of the Senate that these deficiencies will be addressed over the next few years, by articulating guiding principles for research, education and clinician space, which will lead to sound, equitable and enforceable policies.

Ongoing Initiatives

A number of UCSF buildings are currently undergoing renovation. In addition, new buildings are being constructed to provide new space for our growing clinical, research, and teaching enterprise. Below is a list of renovation and construction projects underway:
Renovations and Retrofits

  • Parnassus Heights: UCSF has begun a project to retrofit and renovate the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB), with expected completion in late 2019. CSB is changing from a mixed wet lab, clinical, teaching, and office building to a desktop open plan environment with a mix of private offices and workstations for educational, research, and administrative activities. Planning for the renovation of UC Hall (UCH) is currently under review. On October 27, 2017, Chancellor Sam Hawgood, gave his fourth annual State of the University address, during which he said, “We now stand ready to face the challenge of rejuvenating the facilities on Parnassus Heights so they match the excellence of the researchers, clinicians, students and staff who work on the campus.”
  • Laurel Heights: The Laurel Heights building is now leased by the University from a private entity and UCSF started planning to move its units out of the buildings over the next few years. The university anticipates vacating the facility by early 2020.
  • Mission Hall: Renovations to Mission Hall are planned, based on feedback from an occupancy survey that provided recommendations. To view the complete timeline, visit the Mission Hall website or view a flow chart of the process.

New Buildings

  • Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute for Neurosciences Building (Mission Bay campus): The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute Neurosciences Building will be the headquarters for the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, which unites three UCSF departments and an Organized Research Unit (ORU): Neurology, Psychiatry, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Neurological Surgery, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Its expected completion is the second quarter of 2020.
  • Center for Vision Neuroscience on Block 33 (Mission Bay campus): The UCSF Center for Vision Neuroscience will house Ophthalmology clinics, teaching space, research space, and administrative space. The building will also house desktop space for non-Ophthalmology research and administrative units now at Laurel Heights. Its scheduled completion is 2020.
  • Precision Cancer Medicine Building (Mission Bay campus): PCMB will serve as an outpatient building. Its projected construction timeline is from 2017 to 2019.
  • UCSF Research and Academic Building at Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG): UCSF is building a new research and academic building at ZSFG that is expected to house and consolidate some of the University’s research and teaching activity at ZSFG. The new five-story facility is expected to contain a mix of state-of-the-art research, teaching, and administrative space. Construction is expected to begin in 2019.
  • Other Sites: UCSF owns and leases different locations throughout the city. Two building sites received construction approval by the UC Board of Regents on May 18, 2017:
    1. The Child, Teen and Family Center for Department of Psychiatry Building at 2130 Third Street, located south of the Mission Bay Campus in the Dogpatch neighborhood will house education space, office space, outpatient clinics, desktop research space, as well as a small retail space. It has a projected construction timeline from early 2018 to early 2020.
    2. The Minnesota Street Graduate Student and Trainee Housing is under construction on land immediately south of the Mission Bay Campus in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The project will provide up to 595 units for graduate students, post docs, residents, and fellows in two five-story buildings, along with support space and a corner market. The new housing is scheduled to open in summer 2019.
Looking Forward

Space policy should account for the varying needs of a researcher, clinician, and educator, making relative space equitable, but not necessarily equal. At its recent fall Senate Division meeting, the Senate began to lay out some core principles that might drive the allocation of clinical and educational space. These included modular and flexible space (especially for teaching), proximity to the clinical and/or research workspace(s), and designs that would increase collaboration. Inclusivity, diversity, and community were other important themes that emerged at the meeting.

Outside of the Senate’s Division meeting, SPC members have been discussing how UCSF should approach the multi-faceted challenges associated with Space. Towards that end, the Senate is proactively engaged in developing a set of principles that will inform a comprehensive space policy. These principles will acknowledge that while space is managed on a Departmental level, it is utilized and occupied by faculty engaged in research, educational and clinical programs which often span multiple Departments and Schools. In many buildings, space is occupied by programs, not departments. Local control of space by these programs is necessary to ensure that utilization rates increase from the often-cited 45 percent under-utilization of research space at UCSF. In addition, space often serves multiple purposes, as education takes place in both clinical and research spaces. A well-informed Space policy will require the collection of quantitative metrics to assess utilization rates and assist in the allocation of space. Although the Senate does not disagree that quantitative metrics need to be included, all factors need to holistically considered, including qualitative ones. This type of holistic review becomes even more important when one begins to examine clinical and educational space. Above all else, principles should be articulated to guide the development of clear policies on all components of campus space. Within those policies, clear and comprehensive metrics should be presented, which will inform the allocation, management, and assessment of those spaces.

Finally, it goes without saying that a revitalization of Parnassus Heights is both needed and deserved. While Mission Bay can boast the newest buildings and facilities, Parnassus is equal to Mission Bay in terms of sponsored research, and it generates more clinical revenue. These two campuses are equal jewels in UCSF’s crown, and require equal resources. The Senate understands that there are many visions for the future of Parnassus, but one thing is clear – whichever vision emerges as the reality, it must enjoy consensus and support from all four Schools, as well as the entire Faculty at UCSF.

UCSF faculty can make their concerns and suggestions on space heard through a Senate website portal that is in the process of being made. Until that is finalized, faculty can reach out to the Senate’s newly formed SPC, which represents the faculty voice to the Administration and other UCSF administrative space governance committees. Comments can be addressed to the Senior Analyst to SPC, Kenneth Laslavic ( For more in-depth details and updates, the following websites should be consulted:

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The Role of the Academic Senate in School Curricular Improvement

One of the Academic Senate’s essential roles is authorization and supervision of all courses and curriculum (UC Regents bylaw 40.2). Since 2012, three of the four UCSF Schools have initiated major curricular change to update their respective professional degree programs. The School of Medicine (SOM) launched its Bridges Curriculum in 2016-2017, and both the Schools of Dentistry (SOD) and Pharmacy (SOP) are in the midst of curricular change. These initiatives are driven by the substantial shifts in the health care workplace that UCSF’s graduates will enter. UCSF-trained dentists, pharmacists, and physicians will increasingly work on interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams, in health care systems caring for diverse populations. In that regard, SOM’s Bridges curriculum has been modeled on the expectation that students contribute from the beginning of their medical education to improving patient care, on care teams within community health systems.

While many faculty, students, and staff only see a revised curriculum as it is rolled out, all curricular reform efforts are faculty-driven and facilitated through the Academic Senate committee structure, especially the Schools’ Faculty Councils and the Senate’s Committee on Education Policy (CEP), Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCOI), and Committee on Rules and Jurisdiction (R&J). In concert with each school’s administration, the faculty propose, develop, approve, and implement such curricular changes. The current initiatives described below have allowed the Schools the opportunity to share best practices, for curricular improvement and for the transition from the old to the new curriculum.

Curriculum Reform Process and Role of the Senate

The respective CEP of each School oversees the reform process. Each School’s education leadership works with its committee to develop the vision, goals and timeline for curricular reform. Subcommittees or workgroups then develop the curriculum. Three of the four Schools (Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy) have a unique CEP. The School of Nursing differs from the other three, having several degree program councils, one for each degree program (MS, MEPN, PhD, DNP). When considering curricular issues, relevant program councils work together.

Once a School’s curricular workgroups and CEP have developed and approved the proposed curriculum, it is presented to faculty for comment, through various means, including forums, newsletters, and Departmental meeting. Feedback is used to identify gaps in the curriculum, and appropriate recommendations are incorporated into the final curriculum. The School’s Faculty Council (FC) votes on the proposed curriculum, followed by an in-person or electronic vote by the full faculty. The Senate’s CEP facilitates any cross-School innovations, and COCOI assures procedural adherence. The School’s Dean and education leadership then initiate implementation.

Upon approval, the Senate moves quickly to ensure that any necessary bylaw or regulation revisions due to curriculum changes are reviewed and approved by R&J, and if necessary, the Executive Council (EXC).

Ongoing or recently completed curriculum changes include:

The School of Dentistry

SOD curricular changes are in progress. Town halls have already been held to present the changes to faculty. The need to develop a new SOD curriculum initially arose out of a faculty retreat in 2014. Various SOD workgroups made subsequent recommendations on a new curriculum, and a Curriculum Steering Committee (CSC) was formed, to plan changes that would meet accreditation standards. The CSC also conducted research with faculty and former students about gaps in its curriculum. At present, members of the CSC are developing detailed course descriptions and a broad timeline of deliverables.

They will be presenting the proposed curriculum for a vote to the SOD’s CEP later in the 2017-18 academic year, followed by a presentation to the Dentistry Faculty Council, and a full faculty vote.

The School of Medicine

SOM charged the Bridges Leadership and Design (BLD) Committee to begin working on its vision of the Bridges Curriculum in 2012 through collaboration with stakeholders at UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC), Priscilla Chan and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), and Kaiser Permanente. The goal was to develop a new curriculum that would produce collaborative, inquisitive, and patient-centered physicians.

In 2013, faculty, students, and staff were involved in a design process that led to the Bridges Curriculum blueprint. Then, the blueprint of the structure moved to the design phase in 2014, implementation began in 2015, and the Bridges Curriculum launched in 2016. The SOM Bridges Curriculum is a 45-month curriculum divided into three-phases: 1) Foundations 1 (60 weeks), which combines classroom learning, scientific exploration, and clinical workplace learning; 2) Foundations 2 (48 weeks) that facilitates the learning of eight core disciplines by placing students in teams that care for patients; and 3) Career Launch (53 weeks), in which students take advanced clinical clerkships to prepare for their respective residencies.

Within the three phases are three curricular elements: foundational sciences; clinical and systems applications; and inquiry, innovation, and discovery. Students within the SOM Bridges Curriculum will also have individualized coaching, online learning tools, and scholarly project opportunities devoted to specific areas of interest.

The class of 2020 will be the first class to experience the Bridges Curriculum in all phases. For more information, see the SOM video that explains the SOM Bridges student experience.

The School of Pharmacy

SOP curricular change is in progress, with a tentative rollout date of 2018. This curriculum is called the UCSF PharmD Curriculum Transformation Project: 2018 and beyond. In particular, PharmD students will experience the integration of science and therapeutics into a block curriculum model; engage in real-world pharmacy practice early in their program; participate in unique seminars applicable to patient care utilizing ground-break research at UCSF; and work on individually tailored student projects. SOP endorsed a need for curricular change in January 2013 and began the vision process in June 2014. In the spring of 2015, the faculty voted to accept a 2015-2020 UCSF SOP strategic plan. Three curriculum-component pilots launched in the 2015-2016 school year and in 2016 SOP created workgroups, teams, and task forces to complete work on the curriculum. In 2017, the curriculum continues to be piloted and assessed. The UCSF Senate may need to seek a variance from Systemwide for the grading change incorporated into the new curriculum. The curriculum is scheduled for a vote of the faculty in January 2018, before the UCSF Division evaluates the changes within its Committee structure. The program will change from a four-year program to a three-year, year-round program and will embrace collaborative learning, contemporary teaching, and critical thinking skills.

Academic Senate Involvement

As noted above, curricular improvement is necessary, and is ongoing, throughout UCSF. The Schools initiate it, but the Senate also plays an active role, through the Faculty Councils and several standing committees. It functions as a forum for the Schools to share their vision and planning, facilitates innovations and opportunities across the Schools, and ensures procedural adherence. It ensures a smooth review and eventual approval of the proposed changes. Lastly, the UCSF Senate will pass on curricular issues to the Systemwide Academic Senate only when changes are being considered in grading systems or for units for credit.

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Retiree Health Benefits: What Does it Mean for You?

In July 2017, the UC Board of Regents received a proposal to discuss two related items: removal of the 70 percent floor for aggregate expenditures on retiree health benefits, and creation of a cap on the growth rate of the maximum UC employer contribution to an individual retiree’s health benefits of 3 percent. The stated reason for the proposed change is to address a new perceived liability of $21 billion, which has resulted from a change in the ‘GASB 75’ accounting rules. They now require the full actuarial value of OPEB (“other postemployment benefits”) to be included on the systemwide balance sheet. For UCSF, this equates to a new $5.9 billion liability.

Although institutional support for faculty and staff retiree health has never been a guaranteed benefit, it has long been considered an incentive that contributes to faculty hiring and retention. Assuming that health care costs will rise at seven percent per annum, these two changes would lead to a reversal of the relative funding of retiree health within the next 20 years. Instead of UC covering 70 percent of retiree health costs, retirees would shoulder this burden, with UC picking up only the remaining 30 percent. Indeed, rising out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for UC retirees, absent Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), represent a real decrease in overall UC benefits and total remuneration. In response to this proposal, the Systemwide Academic Senate Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW) sent a communication to President Napolitano outlining the Senate’s concerns. In response, the President instead postponed consideration of the proposed changes, and the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) announced that it would assemble a work group in early 2018 to make recommendations about reforming retiree health benefits.

The work group will be charged with reviewing strategies and plans for budget management and ways to sustain benefits, peer institution benefits, and implications of different options for UC and retirees. By June 2018, the work group will recommend strategies for ensuring long-term viability of retiree health benefits. While the membership of the work group is yet to be defined, UCSF hopes to have representation on this task force through the systemwide Academic Senate.

Academic Senate Involvement

The systemwide Academic Senate has taken action to ensure its faculty voices are heard on this issue. The systemwide University Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW), along with its permanent Task Force on Investment and Retirement and Health Care Task Force, formulate and communicate the Senate’s position on retiree health benefits. While most Senate committees took a summer hiatus, UCFW did not stop working, and successfully postponed a decision on this issue until thoughtful input could be gathered.

The Senate recently spoke with UCFW Chair Roberta Rehm, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Professor of Family Health Care Nursing in the UCSF School of Nursing. Rehm recently began her 2017-18 term as Chair of UCFW; she previously served as the UCFW Vice Chair and Chair of UCSF’s Committee on Faculty Welfare (CFW) in 2016-17.

“It is important for faculty to note that the 70 percent cap is an idea that is not final, and because it is still in the discussion phase, there are things the Senate is doing and things faculty can do to get involved and have their voices heard,” Rehm said.

The systemwide Senate’s executive body, the Academic Council (COUNCIL), is responsible for advising the UC President on a monthly basis on major decisions that may impact faculty on the UC campuses. UCSF Senate Division Chair, David Teitel, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the UCSF School of Medicine, sits on the COUNCIL as UCSF’s representative. Rehm, who also sits on COUNCIL, remarked that after the Senate received the news of the 70 percent cap, they requested financial modeling by UC consultants that projected the potential liability for healthcare expenses for UCOP over the next 20 years. Based on those projections, the Senate is arguing that the problem is manageable on a year-to-year basis, and permanent changes are not needed at this time.

“We cannot predict what will happen in the future, but if there are any financial risks, they should be shared,” Rehm said. “The University should help with changing financial risks to health benefits and not just transfer the responsibility to the faculty.”

The UCSF Academic Senate is taking other steps to address and advocate for faculty on this issue. Before year’s end, they will send out a survey to faculty to obtain feedback on proposed changes to retiree health benefits. Faculty concerns from UCSF and the other UC campuses will then be relayed to the UCFW Task Forces examining the future of retiree health.

For UCSF faculty who want to be more involved in the possible changes, Rehm encourages them to reach out to their School’s delegate to the CFW, their local representatives to the state legislature, as well as the Governor by phone or email, emphasizing that UC is a critical institution for the State of California.

“Local representatives to the state legislature and the Governor control funding for state education,” Rehm said. “Both UC and UCSF need to be good stewards of the money they give us, but we also need help from them. Faculty can use the time now to manage their own money and health well, so that they will have sufficient resources and good health in retirement.”

Changes made to UC’s retiree health benefits will not happen until 2019 at the earliest. The current UC funding policy for retiree health benefits will remain effective throughout 2018, as the University continues to cover 70 percent of retiree health benefits costs. For more information on the work group on retiree health and changes to UC’s health benefits, refer to the UCnet statement.


Created by UC Board of Regents Standing Order 105, the UC San Francisco (UCSF) Academic Senate is empowered to exercise direct control over such academic matters as admissions for degrees and curricula, which are of central importance to the University. The UCSF Division of Academic Senate provides an independent forum to discuss faculty-related campus wide academic concerns. In other areas, the Senate exercises an active advisory role. The Academic Senate works within the larger body of UCSF, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

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