Planning Assumptions, Principles and Priorities

Jun 14, 2013 Debra Cheung

The CA&ES has responsibility for programs that are housed both on and off the UC Davis campus. Some programs address our role as a degree-granting college within a major research university, while others address our role within the Agricultural Experiment Station and our responsibilities to the land grant university system. The diversity and interdisciplinary nature of CA&ES programs makes it impossible to envision every strategic step that will be needed over the next 5-10 years. However, principles for setting priorities must be established, and are described below.

Retirement projections

For purposes of planning, we have used age 65 as a presumptive retirement age. Using this assumption, we estimate that 70 CA&ES faculty (23.5 I&R, 28 OR and 18.5 CE FTE) will retire by 2005-06.

Partitioning these figures on a divisional basis reveals that the Agricultural Sciences Division could turn over up to 6.57 I&R, 16.95 OR and 10.33 CE FTE (or 17 percent, 14 percent and 22 percent of current FTE, respectively). The Environmental Sciences Division could turn over 4.87 I&R, 5.93 OR and 2.20 CE FTE (or 14 percent, 16 percent, and 17 percent of current FTE, respectively). The Human Sciences Division could turn over 8.05 I&R, 4.80 OR and 5.75 CE FTE (or 18 percent, 12 percent, 31 percent of current FTE, respectively). These numbers do not include Unit 18 FTE, which presently total 2.65, 3.57 and 15.27 FTE in the agricultural, environmental and human sciences divisions, respectively.

Because of the highly integrative nature of CA&ES research and teaching, the above figures do not yield accurate estimates of retirement impacts on programs. Faculty in one division often contribute to programs in others. To quantify the extent of such interaction, department chairs were asked to estimate what percentage of their faculty FTE focused on programs under the three broad college themes. Faculty in the Agricultural Sciences Division reported 70-75 percent of their effort under the agricultural sciences, with the balance attributed to environmental or human science programs (approximately 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively). Faculty of the Environmental Sciences Division reported approximately 70 percent of their effort under environmental science, with approximately 25 percent and 5 percent reported under agriculture and human sciences, respectively. Faculty in the Human Sciences Division reported approximately 55 percent of their activity under programs of the human sciences, with approximately 25 percent and 20 percent reported under agricultural and environmental sciences, respectively.

These estimates illustrate that "Retirements in one division significantly impact the teaching, research and CE programs in others."

Building and preserving strengths

The CA&ES must remain at the forefront of scientific discovery and research application. Towards this end, we will invest in five new college initiatives to ensure that we continue to lead in advancing the life and social sciences. Each of these initiatives capitalizes on existing college and campus strengths.

Research preeminence will be achieved through coordinated investments in faculty positions, improved physical facilities and a solidification of infrastructure support. To the extent that college initiatives attune with one or more of the 10 campus initiatives, we are requesting new (growth) FTE.

In addition to new FTE, the large number of retirements that will occur in the college during the planning window will allow us to redirect positions to areas of opportunity. Thus a strategic planning principle for the college is that "Programmatic growth through FTE redirection (from an area of lower to higher priority) is an appropriate development strategy for college priorities." Clearly this is an exercise that must be carried out with caution so that we do not compromise the fundamental elements that contribute to the college's strong foundation. This philosophy will ensure that the college has the capacity to respond to the priorities of the Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (DANR).

Priority-based planning

The CA&ES will adhere to principles of priority-based planning in all decisions regarding requests for new (growth) FTE, or requests to replace or redirect vacated positions. In our evaluation of potential retirements, we have identified the individuals who will turn 65 by 2005-06 so that we can anticipate potential programmatic gaps. Combined with this is a planning exercise that we asked each department to undertake (see attached department plans). It involved the description of departmental staffing priorities under each of two scenarios.

One scenario involved "no growth" (i.e., how would departments balance ambitions for new positions against desires to refill vacancies in the absence of added FTE) and "limited growth" (how would priorities change if there was an opportunity to add one new FTE). The purpose of this exercise was to help departments (and the college) distinguish between program elements of very high priority and those that could be redirected to new opportunity areas.

Management of OR resources

To advance college priorities, we will act to increase our pool of discretionary OR funds. These funds will be used for start-up packages for new faculty, matching funds for grant proposals, and seed money to develop competitive proposals for subjects targeting high priorities. This principle of "CA&ES support for research that advances college priorities" will be extended to faculty in other campus units when it is appropriate and matched with support from other units. A guiding principle will be that "OR resources will remain flexible in order that the college can maximize its use to promote outstanding research scholarship and outreach."

A pool of OR funds will be set aside to allow the college to address critical infrastructure and equipment shortcomings. Priority for OR investments will go to "enabling technologies" that enhance faculty competitiveness for extramural support.

To develop the discretionary reserve described above, the college will use a combination of strategies, including freeing OR resources by re-direction from low priority uses, the recovery of faculty salaries (e.g., through position vacancies and faculty salary recovery on extramural grants), and through aggressive, targeted fundraising efforts. Consistent with government policy, "OR funds will be expended only in ways that serve the missions of the AES and the needs of the citizenry of California."

Management of I&R resources

With the prospect of new (growth) positions coming into the college as 100 percent I&R, the college will set out a process for assuring the most effective use of this resource base. The difficult question, from the viewpoint of CA&ES faculty, is: what really are the expectations associated with different types of split appointments? There are significant disparities in I&R/OR splits within the college and, early in 1999, a Teaching Workload Committee was formed to establish appropriate workload expectations. Bringing the work of this committee to completion shall be a priority for the 1999-2000 academic year.

Because OR and/or CE resources will not increase in parallel with I&R, we will develop strategies for internal redistribution of FTE. This is particularly true with respect to OR, so that split appointments can be constructed and I&R can be placed to the greatest strategic and programmatic advantage for both the college and campus.

Management of CE resources

The CA&ES is developing progressive strategies for responding to anticipated DANR budgeting model wherein 3.3 percent of the college's CE budget will be withdrawn each year and placed in a pool for competitive reassignment. We will use this opportunity to ensure that our CE programs continuously address high priority needs. One important element of this planning will be to ensure that the college initiatives have appropriate CE components.

Excellence in undergraduate and graduate education

In identifying the research initiatives put forth below, we chose areas that will support strong scholarship at the student as well as the faculty level. The programs that we describe will help to produce students with the skills and knowledge necessary for tomorrow's competitive environment. Thus, as we develop the research infrastructure that is essential for the initiative areas, we will simultaneously develop the infrastructure for undergraduate and graduate student training.

We are aware that within the college, there are considerable differences in faculty teaching loads. There is a potential that this situation could be exacerbated by the development of the new initiatives. To insure that this does not happen, the dean will request that the Teaching Workload Committee file its report within the next 12 months. Subsequent to this, an implementation committee will be appointed to act on the workload recommendations.

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