Academic Senate approves UCLA Anderson proposal for self-supporting M.B.A. program

The Legislative Assembly of the UCLA Academic Senate today approved a proposal to convert the Anderson School of Management M.B.A. program from state-supported to self-supporting.

The vote was 53-46 in favor of the proposal with three abstentions, said Andrew Leuchter, chair of the Academic Senate and
a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.

The proposal now goes to the University of California system-wide Academic Senate and to UC President Mark Yudof, who has the final say.

"The UCLA Anderson proposal would aid not only the professional school but the entire campus as we adjust to the loss of state funding, so I am very pleased with the outcome," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "My administration, deans and the Academic Senate will continue to work in partnership to develop creative solutions that ensure academic excellence amid dramatic reductions in state support."

"Our proposal is a response to the urgent need to find solutions to campus-wide financial challenges," said Judy Olian, dean of UCLA Anderson. "We are at a critical moment at UCLA where we must find innovative responses to dramatic cuts in funding while protecting the great engine of research and education we have here. This is a solution that benefits both UCLA Anderson and the entire institution, a small step among many we're taking on campus. It benefits students across the campus and protects our public mission."

Noting the concerns raised by the Anderson proposal, Block and Leuchter said they are convening a joint UCLA administration–Academic Senate task force to establish principles to guide the development and assessment of potential self-supporting degree programs. They said it is critical for the administration and the Academic Senate to work together to respond to new funding realities.

Under the Anderson proposal, state support that otherwise would flow to UCLA Anderson would instead be available to the campus for use in supporting other programs hard hit by state budget cuts. The net financial gain to the campus is estimated at $8.8 million annually, campus budget officials said.

UCLA Anderson officials said the proposal would allow them greater flexibility to grow and enhance the flagship daytime M.B.A. program. Under the proposal, revenue from philanthropy would replace state funding. Anderson officials said the proposal would allow teaching resources to be allocated more effectively and efficiently.
 
Under the proposal, UCLA Anderson would remain integral to the campus and subject to policies and regulations that govern UCLA's professional schools. It is not a proposal for privatization or self-sufficiency. The school still has a state-supported doctoral program and a state-supported undergraduate accounting minor. Five of six UCLA Anderson master's degree programs are already self-supporting, including the fully employed M.B.A. program and the executive M.B.A. program.

The vote by the Legislative Assembly, which includes approximately 120 elected representatives from academic units across campus, followed an exhaustive review by faculty. More than 70 percent of UCLA Anderson faculty and a majority of the school's Faculty Executive Committee supported the proposal.
 
The proposal's finances were reviewed and endorsed by the Academic Senate's Council on Planning and Budget. A majority of the Senate's Graduate Council voted against the proposal. UCLA Anderson faculty appealed that result, leading to the June 7 vote by the Legislative Assembly.

"The state's disinvestment in higher education is very unfortunate and threatens the status of the University of California as the leading public university system," Leuchter said. "We are therefore forced to consider new financial models to support our programs. Changing models understandably evokes strong emotions, and there are firmly held views on both sides of the UCLA Anderson proposal. The UCLA Academic Senate conducted an exhaustive review utilizing all appropriate committees, and I am confident that the proposal received the careful and thoughtful analysis that such important matters deserve."

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phampton@support.ucla.edu
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