BERKELEY FACULTY ASSOCIATION
Council of UC Faculty Associations
July 2, 2012
Dear Members of the Berkeley Faculty Association,
As you may have heard, the Operational Excellence leadership is instituting a Campus Shared Services (CSS) initiative that includes the removal of hundreds of departmental/program/center staff to an off-campus center on 4th Street. This move was slated to begin in September, but has been postponed to January 2013 because there wasn’t enough time to prepare the new site (a troubling indication of poor planning). We welcome this delay, however, as it gives faculty and staff needed time to troubleshoot the plan and urge solutions before the move begins.
We are gravely concerned about the design of the CSS plan, key features of which have still not been made public. We are worried about the lack of a clear financing scheme and recharge costs to departments. We are concerned about OE’s failure to study the impact of this restructuring on the staff support we faculty need to deal with research grants, manage events, appoint GSIs and GSRs, manage faculty recruitment and retention, obtain computer support, and the like.
We fear that moving essential staff (and staff functions) out of departments to an off-campus site, based on a call center model, will make life much more difficult for faculty. We need direct access to staff who are personally familiar with the rules, policies, and cultures of our individual departments and disciplines. We worry about the impacts on small departments and programs, which stand to lose staff and resources needed to provide basic services to faculty and students.
Attached is a statement that we have prepared for the Chancellor and members of the Operational Excellence leadership in response to what we currently know about the CSS initiative. In it we spell out our concerns in detail. We then call on the Chancellor to establish an ad hoc committee of faculty and staff outside the OE structure to propose real design changes, timeline adjustments, and other actions to minimize disruptions to research and instruction.
We urge you to consult with your department chairs, faculty colleagues, and administrative staff regarding Shared Services and its likely impact on your unit and yourself. We also urge you to contact the CSS leadership and Academic Senate with your own questions and concerns. The campus needs faculty help in identifying potential flaws and brainstorming better solutions.
We believe there is still time for faculty to get engaged and work to avoid or mitigate foreseeable harmful consequences of the CSS plan. The BFA Board welcomes your feedback and will report to you on the response we receive to the enclosed statement.
The BFA Board