Whatever happened to: Mark Yudof ?

Mark Yudof was one of the more intriguing personalities to roll through these parts. During his five years as president of the University of Minnesota, he started a massive building and renovation program on campus, got to know the students through pancake breakfasts, and butted heads with Jesse Ventura on a regular basis. He also gave sullied basketball coach Clem Haskins a ton of money just to go away, and then tried to get it back. Eventually he went back to Texas, declaring his love for the Lone Star State.

Now Yudof is saddling up and moving on to California. He’s about to be officially named the president of the University of California system.

It’s good news for the jewels of the UC system but some of the lesser lights might be troubled. According to Richard Blum, chairman of the selection committee and the UC Board of Regents, the only real negative they could find about Yudof is he focuses on the premier parts of his institutions.

“He has shown no interest in the UT Pan Americans or the UT Brownsvilles,” said Tom Johnson, executive director of the Texas Faculty Association to the San Francisco Chronicle. “It is all about UT Austin because that is what the world knows about. It is about the high-profile programs.”

That may sounds familiar to fans of the U’s old General College, but it wasn’t Yudof’s fault. Yudof’s predecessor, Nils Hasselmo, tried to close the college. Yudof championed the college, and his successor, Robert Bruininks , shuttered the school, which had been a gateway for under-prepared metro-area high school students, many of whom are immigrants and people of color. It was combined into the College of Education.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Yudof has his work cut out for him in California, a state with a bad budget picture, the threat of layoffs, and the probability of big increases for students.

  • Milan Moravec

    Current Threats to University of California Don’t Come From the Outside – $3 Million Extravagant Spending by UC President Yudof for University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau to Hire Consultants – When Work Can Be Done Internally & Impartially

    During the days of the Great Recession, every dollar in higher education counts. Contact Chairwoman Budget Sub-committee on Education Finance Assemblywoman Carter 916.319.2062 – tell her to stop the $3,000,000 spending by Birgeneau on consultants.

    Do the work internally at no additional costs with UCB Academic Senate Leadership (C. Kutz/F. Doyle), the world – class professional UCB faculty/ staff, & the UCB Chancellor’s bloated staff (G. Breslauer, N. Brostrom, F. Yeary, P. Hoffman, C. Holmes etc) & President Yudof.

    President Yudof’s UCB Chancellor should do the high paid work he is paid for instead of hiring expensive East Coast consults to do the work of his job. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the hard work analysis, and make the tough-minded difficult, decisions to identify inefficiencies.

    Where do the $3,000,000 consultants get their recommendations?

    From interviewing the UCB senior management that hired them and approves their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled the public, state, federal agencies?

    $3 million impartial consultants never bite the hands (Chancellor Birgeneau/ Chancellor Yeary) that feed them!

    Mr. Birgeneau’s accountabilities include “inspiring innovation, leading change.” Instead of deploying his leadership and setting a good example by doing the work of his Chancellor’s job, Birgeneau outsourced his work to the $3,000,000 consultants. Doesn’t he engage UC and UC Berkeley people at all levels to examine inefficiencies and recommend $150 million of trims? Hasn’t he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina – which also hired the consultants — about best practices and recommendations that eliminate inefficiencies?

    No wonder the faculty, staff, students, Senate & Assembly are angry and suspicious.

    In today’s Great Recession three million dollars is a irresponsible price to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ UCB Chancellor and his bloated staff do not do the work of their jobs.

    Pick up the phone and call: save $3 million for students!

  • Milan Moravec

    Yudof;s UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Credibility, Trust

    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.