TO: University of California Hastings College of the Law Board of Directors
RE: Strategic Goals for 2013-14 Academic Year
I write to present my goals as Chancellor & Dean of UC Hastings for the upcoming 2013-14 academic year. I have listed here only the most important strategic goals in which I participate directly as Chancellor & Dean or that may require Board consideration.
Everything that we do is for the benefit of our students. Most importantly, we must continue our adaptation to the changing marketplaces for legal services and higher education. Our decision to reduce class size, which was part of a comprehensive plan, already has attracted accolades and has since been much copied.
Now it is imperative that everything else about our business model be adapted to the "new normal" as well. UC Hastings must operate on a financially sustainable basis.
The significant reduction in state funding is not likely to be reversed. The modest changes of the past year have been more than offset by the increased obligation for employer contributions to the pension program and the shifting of debt service onto institutions of higher education (without even taking into account the effects of the tuition freeze). Almost all of the work that must be done also must be done without the economies of scale, because of our unique status as a school affiliated with the UC system but operated as a stand-alone campus.
These changes must be made in a manner that sustains the positive spirit needed for success. They must be carried out in an environment of scrutiny and skepticism on the part of many observers, about legal education and its leaders, while also ensuring that our reputation as a top research institution is improved upon.
The pre-requisite to our efforts, then, is a cohesive team that communicates clearly, candidly, and resolutely to all stakeholders. All of our decisions must be made with the understanding that they will require explanation, including to a range of interested parties that extends beyond those who are directly engaged with the institution.
In concrete terms, we are well underway in planning both increased revenue from alternate sources and decreased expenditures on an overall basis. Even as new programs are developed, in some instances literally coming on line, the core of our institution remains the JD program that is conducted through a live classroom experience.
With respect to revenues, we are launching academic programs that have the same high level of quality that traditionally has been associated with the University of California. These include the MSL program, which is being expanded from the health care emphasis to encompass entrepreneurs and high-tech professionals; the LLM program for lawyers trained in foreign jurisdictions, which will grow in enrollment; and a new LLM in health care.
The faculty is considering a Legal English Advancement Program (LEAP) for individuals coming from non-English speaking jurisdictions to pursue further training (regardless of where they ultimately matriculate for a degree or other opportunities). They also are considering collaborations with other institutions that would take the form of 3+3 programs (allowing college juniors to apply to UC Hastings and finish their undergraduate degree concurrently with the first year of law school) and joint degree programs with other institutions, including business schools in the United States and abroad.
With respect to expenditures, we contemplate restructuring the faculty. It is likely that the type of professors who teach at UC Hastings will change significantly in the foreseeable future. Alongside the tenured, tenure-track and long-term contract professors whom we have presently, we anticipate adding different categories of teachers. We are analyzing the size of the faculty as well. It is likely due to demographic trends that there will be more professors retiring in the next few years than have retired in the past several years and there are opportunities presented thereby to align the faculty to our plans.
We also have initiated a study of the security function. The goal is to maintain or enhance the security function at lower cost.
Budget processes are being changed. The changes are meant to ensure decision-making is made by academic leaders, consistent with academic priorities, based on the best data provided in the most efficient manner. They include changes in our budget hearing process, so we can follow our strategic plan, instead of considering matters in seriatim. They include changes in our standard operating procedures for executing on budget decisions that have been made. These changes should not affect the scope of Board oversight or the manner in which it is carried out.
Primary responsibility for the academic program falls to Provost & Academic Dean Elizabeth L. Hillman. I have charged her with three tasks I highlight here:
I play a personal role in our legislative relations, institutional advancement, and communications. These are all means to an end: they allow the operation of an excellent institution of higher education, and not vice versa. We do our best in these endeavors through our presentation of a vision and our ability to bring it into existence.
For me personally, I believe it important to reiterate my commitment. I look forward to working with the Board and the faculty on the upcoming review and renewal process. We are well underway -- together we are leaders -- in the reinvention of legal education.
Frank H. Wu
Frank H. Wu
Chancellor & Dean