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Summer2002
Tough Times Tough Choices
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Finally, there's the quality of life for their families. Housing is substantially more expensive in the neighborhood of UCLA than it is in all but a very few other places in the country. There are concerns also about the quality of schools and the availability of child care. All of these things are related to resources. Even though they're not seeking money for themselves, faculty do seek adequate resources as they relate to the work environment, graduate students and the quality of life for their families.

Graduate students have similar concerns having to do with resources and support, and undergraduate students tend to be concerned about things like class size. Our ratio of students to faculty is about double what it is in the elite privates. Undergraduates also worry about housing, its availability on campus and, of course, its cost in the Westwood area. And senior administrators worry about the same kinds of things — housing, child care and the like, and to some extent salaries, where we have to be competitive.

Now, what we have going for us is at least as important: superb academic programs, superb faculty, superb libraries, superb facilities. But these are not available in all academic fields. And notice that I was not able to include superb arrangements for housing or superb schools. We're certainly working to expand and improve child care on campus, but even that does not meet the demand.

Q: What are the strategies?
A: There are two kinds of things that one can do: Make the best possible use of the resources available to us, and expand those resources.

On the academic side of things, we're focusing our resources more than before, concentrating on areas in which we are already excellent or where we must achieve excellence. We've been investing more, for example, in the College of Letters and Science — there's no such thing as a great university without a great college. We've been investing in areas where we are or can be a national leader. These are areas like genetics and society; the UCLA in LA initiative, which has to do with the connection between a great public university and a great metropolitan area; the visual arts; and the California NanoSystems Institute. And we're concentrating more on interdisciplinary activities, because that is where UCLA is already a leader and is an area that is essential if we are going to help solve some of the major problems that face society.

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