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Master Plan for Higher Education

May 21, 1986

Anne Roark's article (May 1) on the deliberations of the Commission for Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, and the letter from Chancellor-emeritus Glenn Dumke of the California State University (May 10) raise some very important issues regarding relationships between the University of California and the other segments of higher education in California.

Dumke reminds us that it was the original intent of the 1960 master plan that functions be divided so that money appropriated for higher education might be used as efficiently as possible. UC was to be the research arm, CSU the teaching arm and the community colleges were assigned a double task: preparing students for the four-year institutions, and offering vocational instruction.

Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), in his report to the commission, has raised the long overdue question regarding the wide disparity in funding these three equal but separate segments. This gap has been accentuated by UC's additional revenue derived from its independent investments.

There is no question that the research responsibilities assigned to UC by the master plan represent costly and essential aspects of academic endeavor; what has been overlooked or undervalued, as Hayden makes clear, is the importance of the teaching function assigned to the CSU and the community colleges.

Had these latter two segments in the system received funding remotely equivalent to the $301,443,000 allocated to UC for 1985-86, instead of the $89,823,000 budgeted for the CSU and the $50,197,000 for the community colleges, the result would have been smaller class sizes, more reasonable teaching loads, enhanced clerical and instructional services, and expanded library and computer facilities. Such augmentations would significantly improve the quality of learning and teaching where the far greater number of students are to be found.

Rather than attempting to redress the funding imbalance by trying to add graduate programs to their present assignment, would it not be better for the CSU to emphasize and for the Legislature to consider the importance of the undergraduate teaching function in the division of higher education funds?




Professors of History

California State University


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