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Spring 2003
Going After the Best
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Nelson agrees that the regional costs of housing and children’s education “create our biggest problems.” This is something the UC recognizes, she says, and it tries to create ways to give faculty targeted resources, particularly for housing. “Part of what we are good at is being thrifty, inventive and enterprising,” adds Nelson. “But in the end, competitiveness is about making sure we raise more money to have an outstanding faculty, and that we allocate the funds to make our faculty better researchers and better teachers.”

THE CENTRAL ISSUE AT UCLA, even in good times, has always been how best to use the institution’s limited resources to promote excellence in research, teaching and public service, the UC system’s three-part mission. Yet data on resource use is typically scarce, which is why it’s heartening to note that it is one of the task force’s assignments to provide it. Heading the group examining allocation and reallocation of resources is Scott Waugh ’70, dean of social sciences.

Besides examining UCLA’s budget mechanism, Waugh’s group is keeping an eye on such things as how much research a department has produced, how others regard it, whether the department is cost-effective and if it receives adequate support for realizing its mission. “There is always the question of how to allocate resources or whether it’s a good idea to reallocate from one area to another,” Waugh says. The whole idea behind the task force is to “keep the chancellor well-informed and help him understand what his options are.”

Or what those options should be. “There are a variety of things to do, but certainly being continuously attentive and vigilant about managing resources ought to be a top priority,” says Aimee Dorr, dean of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, who heads the task-force group looking into the deployment of existing academic resources. An essential first step in that direction, says Dorr, is “a spirit of recognizing that the campus as a whole has to succeed.” This attitude, she emphasizes, is not unlike the rallying cry of the American Revolution: United we stand, divided we fall. “The campus is big enough and our work challenging enough that we can remain disconnected from each other,” Dorr points out. “We need to know more about our college, our schools and our colleagues. We need to understand each other well on a professional level.”

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