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Spring 2003
Going After the Best
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Another good example of UCLA’s research-oriented, cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial initiative, says Neuman, is the Department of World Arts and Cultures in the School of the Arts and Architecture, which is considered unique not just in the country but around the world. It evolved out of the dance department in the mid-1990s, and offers a curriculum in culture and performance studies leading up to the Ph.D. “It’s a new, emerging field that may well serve as a model for other universities in this century,” says Neuman. As with any research-based program, it’s impossible to predict the department’s eventual direction, but as Neuman perceptively stresses: “What is interdisciplinary today becomes disciplinary tomorrow.” He adds, with a smile: “How’s that for a bumper sticker?”

OF ALL THE TOP CAMPUSES in the nation, UCLA, with 419 acres, is among the smallest in land mass. This has profound implications for long-term planning, making space one of the keys to competitiveness. “Without space, your program can’t grow, so in certain ways it is more important than money,” says Judith L. Smith, vice provost for undergraduate education and, as of July 1, interim executive dean of the College of Letters and Science. Smith is the head of the task-force group entrusted with space planning, including how UCLA has developed in the past and what kind of programs it should develop in the future. Besides long-term planning, Smith’s group is also monitoring ways in which faculties can continue to do quality work without the prospect of building much more on the main campus.

“Space is power,” says Smith. “I don’t know if you can have a dialogue about that, but space is certainly something that the faculty understands very well. It kind of transcends everything.” Many campus buildings, adds Smith, were built in the 1950s and ’60s, and renovating them is monumentally expensive, especially since state funds for renovation as well as new buildings are scarce. “We are looking at models in other universities to see how they have dealt with these important issues,” she says.

Indeed, one way of tackling UCLA’s budget woes may be to instill a dose of administrative reorganization. That, at any rate, is the view of William Ouchi, holder of the Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Chair in Corporate Renewal at The Anderson School, who has offered a course for UC managers titled, “What Will Our University World Look Like?” The course includes responses to the challenge of dwindling state support for UC campuses. As Ouchi sees it, “having a difficult economy is no more or no less a disadvantage to UCLA than any private university.” That, he explains, is because private campuses are having trouble raising tuition fees and are faced with diminished endowments, plus ever more requests for scholarship money by students whose families have been hit hard by the economy.

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