April 19, 2012
University of California Hastings College of the Law has been working hard at the implementation of our new Strategic Plan. This report will provide updates on our progress, including compiled links from earlier messages and notes on the strategic planning process and substance, March’s staff reorganization, the context of the new legal marketplace, and our ongoing call for input. Also included in this report is a special note regarding transparency, the decision-making process at UC Hastings, and “The Perils of Rankings.”
Ongoing communication about the Strategic Plan is crucial to our success as a law school. UC Hastings will continue to provide periodic updates as the implementation process continues. As always, input and feedback from all community members is welcome and encouraged.
The faculty, staff, students, and governing board of UC Hastings worked together for a year to produce a bold strategic plan for our shared future and the school’s long-term institutional health. A committee of representatives from the student body, faculty, board and staff led the UC Hastings College of the Law Strategic Planning process. Together – through a broadly inclusive process of institutional introspection that gathered ideas and input from students, faculty, alumni, board members, and all employees of the administration – this committee developed the eight strategic goals we are now implementing.
Throughout the development process, the Committee provided various venues to seek feedback from the UC Hastings community on the strategic direction in which the College should proceed:
While UC Hastings has had several long-term planning documents, this document represents a milestone. With this plan, UC Hastings charts its way forward as a national leader in preparing law students to be innovative and strategic professionals capable of solving complex legal problems.
This Strategic Plan responds to the changed circumstances of legal education with a bold plan for the future. By leveraging our distinctive assets, including our location in San Francisco, a gifted and dedicated faculty and staff, and many loyal and grateful alumni who benefited from a high quality, low-cost education at UC Hastings, we will provide a cutting-edge legal education for 21st century professionals.
UC Hastings is a public, nonprofit institution of higher education. For almost all of its history, the College depended heavily on the State of California to subsidize its operation. Twenty years ago, more than 80% of the annual revenues of the school consisted of its state appropriation; even a decade ago, about half of the budget came from state sources. Now, only ten percent of the revenue is public funding. More than anything else, this structural change affects UC Hastings – as similar changes affect public higher education everywhere.
Today’s UC Hastings students are accomplished individuals from a variety of academic, professional, and demographic backgrounds. They thrive in a challenging academic program, creating a sense of community that unites them with their classmates and the community, and continue UC Hastings’ legacy of graduating leaders of the bar, the private and non-profit sectors and the government.
In order to give our students the full set of tools they need to succeed, we must direct resources to the priorities reflected in the goals articulated below. By doing so, and only by doing so, we can provide our students and graduates opportunities for specialization, interdisciplinary understanding, real-world experience, comprehensive professional skills, and active mentorship.
Goal #1 – Create Outstanding Professionals to Solve 21st Century Problems
Goal #2 – Produce Influential Scholarship
Goal #3 – Enhance Reputation and Strengthen Market Position
Goal #4 – Build a Vibrant and Engaged Community
Goal #5 – Communicate Identity and Value
Goal #6 – Optimize the Campus to Serve Strategic Goals
Goal #7 – Achieve Service Excellence
Goal #8 – Maintain Financial Health
In “unveiling” this plan in September, Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu provided a summary of “one crucial aspect” and an anticipatory note regarding the challenges ahead:
I will summarize only one crucial aspect of the plan: It is imperative we reduce the size of the JD class. This is the right thing to do, not only for our students but also for society. We should accept only the number of students that could have reasonable expectations about employment.
For most of UC Hastings' history, this has been a very large, heavily state subsidized school offering the highest quality of education and proud to offer few frills. This has changed. UC Hastings continues to offer the highest quality of education; we cannot remain very large; we are likely to receive only lower levels of state subsidy; and you as students expect and deserve better support. What will not change, however, is access. We have offered and always will offer access--and not merely access, but access to the best training.
None of this will be easy. The implementation will cause upset in some quarters. That is inevitable.
We have always been a great law school. Our progress as an institution depends on our ability to come together and adapt.
Further detail regarding this process including meeting minutes and results of the Strategic Plan Development Survey, is maintained online: Developing A Strategic Plan.
As part of the implementation process of the Strategic Plan, UC Hastings will be reducing the JD enrollment by 240 students over the next three years. Given the changes in the legal marketplace, it would be irresponsible to continue with an outmoded model. Students will have a better experience while on campus and greater employment opportunities after they have graduated.
UC Hastings will remain one of the largest law schools in the country, continuing full-force in serving our public mission of access and diversity. Access to a top-tier legal education continues to be a priority at UC Hastings. This includes strong support for the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP), which has been a model since it was started two generations ago. UC Hastings has made an ongoing commitment to enroll 20% of its incoming class through LEOP. The College’s most distinguished graduates include people who matriculated through LEOP, including this year’s Commencement speaker, Jeff Adachi. UC Hastings also restored the Fellow position to the LEOP program and has made a commitment to continue funding it.
As a result of this reduction in class size, and subsequently, a reduction in revenues, it is necessary to reduce the College’s salary and benefit budget by $2.1 million by June 30, 2012. Layoffs, reductions in time, voluntary separations, and closing of vacant positions were made on a school-wide basis in March. As much as possible was done through procedures other than layoffs. All divisions were affected [see “Related Links” below for more information, including a salary reduction summary and list of positions affected]. Every effort was made to maintain services to students. The emphasis on preserving student services (and enhancing them through the lower J.D. enrollment levels) is reflected in the allocation of targeted cuts among different divisions.
The process by which positions were chosen for elimination or time reduction was consistent with the College’s commitment to fair labor practices and in accord with collective bargaining agreements with the College’s unions. It was as transparent as legally possible given privacy rights and personnel rules and regulations.
Decisions were made as to positions and not specific persons, and nothing here should be understood as reflecting any judgment as to individual performance. As noted above and shown in more detail on documents linked below, the plans affected all divisions. They also included positions that were represented and those that were not represented; among them were management positions.
Final choices were based on the strategic plan, the staffing needs of the College, the Division or Department's ability to fulfill operational needs, and the availability of funding.
Although the meet and confer process has concluded and the initial Levine hearings have been conducted, there remains an appeal to the Levine hearings. Individual cases involving "bumping" or movement into open positions have been resolved one at a time as appropriate, and there are various benefits provided to employees (e.g., COBRA) that are ongoing. In addition, there are legal matters that have been brought to closure or that are pending that are not reflected here due to confidentiality constraints.
Moving forward. Departments planned how the workload of the positions eliminated would be handled, particularly for positions that directly involved services to students. New hires are planned in keeping with the implementation of the Strategic Plan, and UC Hastings will not be filling positions that were eliminated due to the reorganization.
Pay increases and fair labor practices. Through the collective bargaining process, the administration negotiated with the College Service Unit a 5%-plus pay increase over a one-year period (2.5% in December 2011 and an additional 2.5% to come in July 2012). The same provision was extended to faculty and other staff (with limited exceptions based on employee status and contractual differences). Furthermore, staff (with limited exceptions) but not faculty received a one-time lump sum payment of $800. Over the past two years, numerous employees – including, among staff, primarily individuals who are not managers – have received individual compensation adjustments.
Change is happening at UC Hastings College of the Law. This is not a plan that sits on a shelf collecting dust. The implementation of the UC Hastings strategic plan is being led by eight committees, each charged with implementing one of eight strategic goals. The committees include representatives from the UC Hastings community and began their work in earnest in January 2012. We have been working hard. Everything we are doing is guided by the plan. People are taking notice:
[UC] Hastings as ambitiously and as effectively as any law school in the United States is actually trying to change radically for the better what it does when it teaches people to be good lawyers. Rather than to fall into the trap that is more typical of law schools in the United States, which is to announce that they’ve transformed legal education, having done virtually nothing at all. It’s tough to do that in legal education... It’s tougher still to do it in the way that [UC] Hastings has tried, which is literally to try to involve everyone.
Gerald López, founder of the Center for Community Problem Solving and professor at a sister UC law school, from his keynote at the “Representing the Vulnerable and Remembering Ralph Abascal: Lessons from the 1970s” conference at UC Hastings, March 16, 2012.
Actions by the Chairs and the Committees are posted here: What's New with Implementing the Strategic Plan?
While the committees have been formed and charged with their objectives, we always welcome your feedback, suggestions and ideas to help facilitate the implementation of the strategic plan and make UC Hastings a stronger law school. The Strategic Planning Implementation Feedback Form is available for this purpose. Information on the form will be sent to Strategic Plan Co-Chairs, Academic Dean Shauna Marshall and Controller Debbie Tran who will forward the information to the respective committee.
Consistent with the strategic plan, we are adapting to the dynamic marketplace. We have hired four new faculty to start this upcoming academic year, as well as a new Chief Information Officer who will launch high-quality distance education. As the related implementation links show, we have already made major improvements in skills training, our international scope, and interdisciplinary programs.
Our resolve is paramount. We must proceed.
The decision-making processes atUC Hastings are inclusive and transparent.
Transparency in budget development, review & reporting. The annual budget development and review processes of the College's programs are coordinated by the Budget Officer under the direction of the Chief Financial Officer. View the Budgeting and Reporting page for links to detailed information including the beginning budget development and midyear review processes and forms, budget transfer processes and forms, frequently asked budget questions and the Fiscal Information Reporting System. The Budget Officer also supports the CFO with planning, development and preparation of the annual State Governor's budget, budget status reports for the Board of Directors meetings, and completion of the financial sections of the Annual ABA Questionnaire and NECS IPEDS (National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) reports.
UC Hastings takes rankings seriously and intends to do everything we can to improve ours, and we've shown our ability to analyze the statistics and then take action; however, we will do only what is academically beneficial and ethical. All changes being made at UC Hastings are aimed at adapting for the betterment of the legal education provided, student experience, and alumni career prospects.