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Accrediting commission notes UC compensation and governance reforms

| 12 March 2008

Following a report of a special-visit team, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has issued a letter to the University of California validating the university's reforms in compensation and governance matters and urging continued progress in these areas.

WASC, the agency responsible for accreditation of schools, colleges, and universities in the Western states, sent a team of university leaders from around the country to UC last fall to examine the university's compliance with WASC standards in employee-compensation matters. The team expanded its review to examine governance issues at the university more broadly.

In a letter sent to the university last week, WASC President Ralph Wolff said the association's Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities had formally received and reviewed the report of the special- visit team. With respect to oversight of employee compensation, he wrote, "the commission commends the university for the many steps it has taken to address these issues, and for its awareness of the need to maintain transparency and conformity with policies while continuing to recruit the best personnel possible."

With respect to broader governance issues, the commission identified several issues for continuing attention regarding the respective roles of the president and the Board of Regents. The commission also noted the value of the January report of the Working Group on the Roles of the Office of the President, available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/future/roleofOPrpt.pdf, which outlines respective responsibilities for the regents, president, and chancellors.

"The commission supports the university's conclusions that significant efforts to address these challenges have been made, and that much progress has been achieved," Wolff wrote. "The report of the working group appears to have set a framework for clarifying roles and restoring balance in the functions of these vital elements of university governance and decision-making."

He added that "the progress made to date will need to be sustained and institutionalized."

The commission indicated in its letter that it will seek another special visit in spring 2009 to assess the university's progress in addressing the issues identified in last fall's review. The commission also will seek a meeting with the new president of the university, once one is appointed, to review the issues to be addressed in that follow-up visit.

"We appreciate the careful attention WASC and its special-visit team have given to these issues," said Wyatt Hume, UC provost and executive vice president for academic and health affairs. "We value their recognition of the progress the university has made in ensuring public accountability in compensation and effective governance of the institution overall, and we remain committed to implementing continuing improvements to ensure that our administrative operations match the excellence of the university's academic programs."

The WASC letter, the report of the special-visit team, and the university's response to that report can be found at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/future/wasc_report.html.