Faculty endorse new admissions process
Systemwide Academic Senate approves ‘comprehensive review’ of applications

By Marina Dundjerski, UCLA Today

07 November 2001 | The systemwide Assembly of the Academic Senate gave strong approval to a proposal for admitting students to the University of California through a comprehensive review process.

The faculty body, meeting at UCLA on Oct. 31, voted 42-0, with three abstentions, to endorse the proposal, which would broaden the evaluation criteria for undergraduate applicants.

“This is a very historic day,” said Chand Viswanathan, chair of the UC Academic Council and an engineering professor at UCLA. “The senate is very strongly committed and wants to take back complete control of the admissions policy. In that sense, I believe we have achieved a milestone today.”

The UC Board of Regents is expected to make a final decision on the measure Nov. 14 in San Francisco. During a preliminary discussion in October, some regents questioned whether the public would perceive the process as fair, since decisions would not be based exclusively on quantifiable factors.

Under the proposed policy, students would still become eligible for UC in the same ways they currently do, based on high school grades and standardized test scores or by being in the top 4 percent of their high school class. Those who meet basic UC eligibility standards would continue to be assured admission to a UC campus. Comprehensive review wouldn’t change that, but it could affect who gets into which campus.

At Berkeley, every freshman application is already read cover to cover and given both an academic score and a comprehensive review. The academic score evaluates achievement in the context of opportunity, which is a tenet of the new admissions proposal.

Fifty percent of Berkeley’s class is admitted based solely on academic scores. For the remaining students, comprehensive review criteria are taken into consideration as well.

Under the new proposal, this tiered system would disappear at all campuses; all UC students would be admitted based on comprehensive review of their application.

“The systemwide admit pool would essentially be unchanged, and our focus will remain primarily on evidence of academic achievement by students,” said UCSF Professor Dorothy Perry, who chairs the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS).

“We are just going to define it more broadly,” she said, “and the campuses will make distinctions individually as to how they want to define and utilize the criteria.”

Perry said that the most serious concern raised during its evaluation process was fear that “somehow moving away from the tiered system would diminish academic quality.”

But Perry said BOARS believes the proposal “would maintain, if not enhance,” the academic quality of students entering the university.

Faculty also expressed concern over the costs of implementing comprehensive review. The state has allocated $750,000 in its budget this year specifically for this purpose, Perry said. But, she added, there are no guarantees of future funding.

To view the faculty recommendation, see


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