Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
“Campus Conversations”: UC Berkeley VC for Administration Marc Fisher

“Campus Conversations”: UC Berkeley VC for Administration Marc Fisher

– Lets get started, my
name is Dan Mogulof, I’m from the Office of Public Affairs, and I’m delighted to be here today at the third in the series
of campus conversations with Vice Chancellor
Administration Marc Fisher. This has become a very well attended and I think interesting
and really valuable forum for campus leaders to meet with and talk to and listen
to the campus community. I’m just gonna do a brief introduction of Marc’s background and
then he’ll have a few words to sort of set the table and then we’ll be doing
question and answers. So Marc is a graduate of
West Virginia University, Landscape Architecture,
was also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s
Architecture program. He began working, his time at UC starts all the way back in 1987 when he began working
at UCLA as a consultant and served as Director of Design and he was campus Architect there from 1995 to 2002, leading the design direction for a $2 billion capital
program that included projects such as The California
NanoSystems Institute, The Broad Art Center in Kaufman Hall. Then Marc moved over to
UC Santa Barbara in 2002 where he spent 15 years, there also Vice Chancellor
for Administrative Services and in that capacity he reorganized the Administrative Services division, introduced and rolled out a host of new technology services for the campus, lead the creation of Santa Barbara’s Long
Range Development Plan, and established its first
Sustainability Plan and more. So if you’re starting to get the idea, the guy is incredibly
qualified for his current job, that’d be right. Marc has served on numerous
University of California system wide committees with
the Office of the President. He came to Berkeley in September of 2015, and if you’ll remember
that was an interesting time to arrive on campus, uh 2017, sorry, last September, in other words. And in his capacity as Vice
Chancellor Administration here on the Berkeley campus, he oversees just about everything. But it includes Campus Shared Services, Human Resources Procurement, Business Contracts and
Brand Protection IT, UCPD Facility Services, Parking and Transportation,
Property Management, and last but not least, of course, the Campus Sustainability Office. So, Marc, just wanna thank
you for joining us today. (audience applause) – Thank you. I’m not sure this, oh I am turned on. Okay great, thanks everybody. Thanks for coming out
on what was a rainy day but it’s turning into
kind of a beautiful day it looks like out there. This is my third UC campus. Each of the campuses is different, tied together by kind of similar genetics. And one of the things I like to point out is that while there are similarities, there are a lot of differences, and part of, I think, what
makes someone successful, or unsuccessful in a role such as this, is the awareness that
each of these campuses is really different, and yet we have a lot of similarities that we should always remember. It’s great to be here,
it’s only been six months and I’m starting to
recognize people in the room. I might not remember all of your names, but I will try to get to the
point where I get them right. It’s great to see those
familiar faces here today, and I hope to meet more of you over the coming months and years in my role here at Berkeley. An amazing place, so lets
talk about that a little bit. So, one of the things that Dan said, what’s different between
Santa Barbara and Berkeley? Santa Barbara is a
relatively small campus, It is run on a very lean budget, has a lot to do with the way
the University of California funded different campuses. It had the lowest funding per student of any UC campus for the last 20 years. And with rebenching, there’s some changes that
are happening there, finally, that are very positive. Berkeley, I would say, is very different. It’s been on the higher
end of the funding stream, so it has built in to that
a way of doing business that’s different than I’m used to. A lot of that’s very good. You can be much more strategic, here, I think, than we could there. It’s not a criticism of Santa Barbara in any way, shape, or
form, it’s just reality. So things like business
process improvement, we were talking about this morning, we really couldn’t get
to those sorts of things because we were so busy just trying to keep everything moving, all the bits and pieces aligned and operations moving forward. So there’s a lovely opportunity here for me in particular to really be involved in something that is new for me, and that sort of process improvement, and really thinking about how can we do things well
in the future is great. It helps, I think, also
to come from a place that’s so lean, because one of the things you see, I know we can do this
differently because we did, and I know the resources are challenging, but I think the resources we have here are adequate to do a really great job, and I think it’s just a matter of us coming to a point where
we’ve aligned the resources and the work that we’re trying to do in the smartest fashion possible, so it’s, I think, one of our big efforts, especially over the coming
year will be in those areas. Let’s talk about how smart it is. So this is my third campus, and I hope none of my friends in UCLA or Santa Barbara hear this, because I think that you have some of the most brilliant
people on this campus of any UC campus. So it’s not just the faculty, or the students, but the staff. I found with the staff on this campus, I get engaging questions,
they’re challenging, thoughtful. To the staff in the room,
it’s really remarkable. I love my colleagues in
Santa Barbara, no question, but I really am thrilled to
get to work with all of you because I see a level of thought in this that is nice, refreshing,
interesting for me, so I’m really heartened by that, and as I meet you, again, I tend to be really amazed at just how bright this group of people is and how lucky we are to
have all of you here. You’ll find, as you work with me, that staff in particular
are very important to me. I look at you, if you’re
staff on the campus, I feel a huge responsibility for you having a good experience here. So what does that mean? Things like staff engagement. Are we doing a good job? Is it inclusive enough? Are we being thoughtful
about how we work with you? Are we making it fun, in some way? It should be fun. You should enjoy coming to work. I like coming to work. What are the opportunities for you here? And if not here, what are the
opportunities in the system? Because I always say to folks, before you leave the UC,
before you leave the campus, let’s look for opportunities
on campus, obviously, but if you decide the
campus isn’t right for you, what are opportunities within the system, including the office of the president. It’s a big rich organization full of all kinds of opportunities for everybody in this room to do things. I’m a perfect example of this. I started out as a
part-time employee in 1995, and never thought I would
stay more than two years. So 22 years later, almost 23 years, I’ve had this remarkable career with all kinds of possibilities
and things that happened, and part of it was taking
those opportunities and really running with them. So there’s something in this for everyone, and if you ever wanna talk
about that on a personal level, I’m more than happy to talk about why this is such
a great place to be, and can be a great
place for everyone here. Maybe we should get to some questions? – Alright, I’m gonna exercise
my prerogative as moderator and toss you a few, and
then we’ll pick up cards, and again, as we go along, if people, other questions
arise that you wanna pose, just fill out the white
cards and pass ’em down. So, Marc, I remember you
got here in September, right when we were beginning
to deal with all the, or not beginning, were in the midst of dealing with the free speech week, and I couldn’t help notice
some of those initial meetings it looked like you were
saying to yourself, I am not in Santa Barbara anymore. No, you’re not. And obviously, a lot of what
we did and the money we spent was about safety and security, and there were controversies
and disagreements about the level of policing, and even recently there
have been other incidents involving UCPD, and it’s a hot and important
area in your portfolio, and I thought maybe you
could just share a little bit about how you think about campus policing, what its unique attributes are, and what you hope to
do with the department in concert with the chief in terms of its relationship
to the community and its ongoing efforts and abilities to provide safety and
security for the community. – First of all, we’re lucky to
have a great chief of police, Margo Bennett’s great, she has a great national reputation, we’re very fortunate. I think on campus, as the most important thing
as community policing, that the police department is
really engaged with the campus both all faculty, staff, and students, in particular, I think student
engagement’s really critical. Every police force in
the UC is going to have, will be moments when the
police are loved and hated. I saw this in Santa Barbara, and remember there we had riots, fires, a mass killing, all within six months, so we had a huge arson case,
we had six students killed, it was really a difficult period, and during the Deltopia
riots, right afterwards, the students despised our police force. They thought it was too heavy handed. Then we had mass killings, and
they loved our police force. It’s a very complicated
job, there’s no question. So for all the police officers, we all should be really
appreciative of what they do in terms of keeping us safe. Having said that, we have to make sure that that same police force that’s so critical for our safety is also mindful of the fact that it’s working in a
very different environment. We’re not a big city, we’re a community, and in that community, how can we make sure that our
policing effort is appropriate and is tailored well to
the community at hand. So Margo and I have had
a lot of discussions since I’ve been here, everything from, we’re putting together
a police advisory board, that will be composed of
faculty, staff, and students. The students brought this to us, we think it’s a great idea. We’re growing that idea to include all three groups on the campus. It’s not the police review board. That has a very different legal role. This is really about, how do we make sure that our policing does for the community? Student policing, CSOs, I’m a huge proponent of the
CSO program on the campus. When I got here, we had 19 CSOs, we had 135 in Santa Barbara, so we’ve grown that to
about 50 or 60 I think now. I am committed to that
being a really great way to police the campus, more eyes and ears than anything else. They don’t carry weapons, they’re students, just like
the rest of our students, they tend to be well-received
by the student population, they can do a lot of good. Having more people out there looking and seeing what’s
going on is helpful. We had a case last week involving a CSO that would’ve been much
worse without the CSO, and I won’t go into details, but having a CSO on the
ground, out in our buildings, resolved the case much more quickly than it would’ve otherwise, and it saves a lot of
issues for the campus having that group. On top of that, looking at things like our security force on the campus. What’s the image of that? Is this the right image? What we should think about that, how are they perceived on the campus? Policing in general, when
you have a big event, and I wasn’t here a year ago, it’s hard to argue that
what we did this fall was right or wrong or– Let me reframe that. It’s hard to argue it was wrong because I didn’t have that context, and I believe the response
was probably correct, given what Berkeley had been through. And I know it was challenging, and they’re triggering issues with this, but we came out of something very bad, and we didn’t want that to happen again, so this balancing of safety and the sense of safety
for the entire community is really critical for us, and it’s something we’re just going to have to keep working on. And I keep saying to Margo, a big part of this is
the image of policing, and how do we temper the image of policing so that we feel safe, but
we don’t feel threatened, and that’s a lot of work
for us coming forward. – Thanks. Another hot button issue
is campus shared services. The Chancellor’s been very forthright when she talks about the extent to which it didn’t meet
initial hopes and expectations. In fact, one of the questions we got from the audience goes right to that. So talk to us a little bit about where we are in the whole process. We’ve heard about the regional model, what exactly that means, how it’s going to differ, what your level of confidence is that we can learn from the past and really have sort of a setup that serves the needs and interests of the campus and all
the folks who work here. – So there’s been a lot of good work done on this in the past, and I think the most important
thing for everybody is, the regional model balances
governance, if you will, of service provision. So when CSS was set up, it has a tendency to be
more isolated, I think, from the campus, than is really healthy. So the new model, the regional model, there’ll be six regions, five academic regions and
one for the rest of us, will really be governed by
both the academic endeavor and administration, so it’s a shared governance, truly shared governance of how this works. So we should have a better understanding of the needs of the academic community, and make sure that we’re
making the right provisions in staffing and services
available for that endeavor. The most important part of what we do here is the academic endeavor. So having a service provider that is not as tied to that
as it can be is a challenge, and that’s what we’re
really working toward. So the regional associate deans are a critical piece of this. Ursula’s been up and running for years, it’s a good model for that. The second region is the chem MPS region which is up and running, and that’s also, I
think, working very well. We have a good regional
associate dean, that’s Ron Cohen. We hired with him the executive
director for that region, Samantha Ye, also a good hire, and I think that what’s
happening with that, they’re working very well together, the region’s coming together
as you’d like it to, they’re very thoughtful about
what pieces are in the region or not in the region, how they’re going to serve
their client base, if you will, and how it’s shaped. Their issues that I think
folks are worried about in terms of where do we sit, are we at fourth street or on campus? And one of the things we’re thinking about trying to work toward
is having more people in close proximity to the folks
that they’re working with. So if you’re in that chem MPS region, hopefully you’re in a building nearby so if a faculty member needs you, they can walk over to the regional office and talk to you directly. We’re also talking about
merging pieces of the team, HR and RAs together so that there’s a closer
working relationship. So in many ways, taking
something that could be looked at as being a little bit Balkanized
and de-Balkanizing it, and really making it a
much more integrated, both academically and administratively, but also across the team, a
much more integrative model than we perhaps have in the past. – And what’s the time line
look like for the transition? – Oh boy, okay. That’s not such an easy question. There was an aspiration that this would happen fairly quickly. It will take longer than
I think some would like. However, the critical piece here is to make sure we get it right. We don’t wanna make a misstep with this. So the second region, I think,
is coming together nicely, I think the bio college
of natural resources is beginning to take shape as well, and I think we’ll start
to see some progress there in the next few weeks, and then the professional
schools are moving along as well, and theirs is probably
the most challenging because they have nine deans, so they have to figure out how nine deans will pick an associate dean, first of all, what their governing
structure will look like, how they’re going to work together collectively in the future. So that’s a pretty big challenge, but I will say, they are fully engaged. The one group that we haven’t gotten as far along with that I’d like is arts and humanities
and social sciences, and we have meetings coming up with that particular part of the campus to start to really see if we
can move that along as well. So there’s no short answer. It will take longer
than this June I think, but I think you’ll start to
see real progress by June. Then the sixth region, just if I could, is just as critical as the
other five, in many ways, and actually I think it’s
eight hundred million dollars worth of business will
flow through that region. We need to make sure it’s
set up properly as well. And I know there’s been some concern about which pieces ended up there, and we’ll continue to work with the campus to make sure we have that the right shape, and also a similar kind
of governance structure, so whether it’s vice
chancellors, or whomever, we’ll have a seat at the table and we’ll be able to work together to make sure that we’re providing the right services for the region. – So I think that that whole
subject offers a nice segway to another question that
came from the audience, given that we’re talking about our future and evolution of systems
and how we do business here, and this question is, how
are staff being considered in the strategic planning efforts in terms of staffing levels,
skills needed, et cetera? And for those who may not be aware, the campus has now embarked on a broad strategic planning process involving the vision for who we wanna be going down the road. So talk a little bit about
how staff needs and interests are being accounted for, and addressed, and considered in that whole venture. – Well it goes back,
I think a bit, to CSS, and just thinking about what
is the right staffing structure to support the endeavor. And part of this is
redefining the endeavor, the strategic plan, is
really thinking about, what is Berkeley for
the next 10 or 50 years, where are we headed? And I think, there’s a layer
then that comes along with that where we really start to think
about, how do you get there? I don’t know that we’re far
enough along in the process to really answer, have we
addressed the staffing model? But I like the question, and
it’s a good reminder to me that we really need to
think about that and move, as soon as we have a sense of where the strategic plan is heading, to layer on that very question to make sure that we have
properly considered staff. So we’re pretty early in the process. When did we start, January? January. So it’s a really quick process, and I believe it goes to the
chancellor in April or May, so it’s very fast. I like the question and I’ll make sure that we keep that under consideration. – So the next question really here is about the workplace itself, and apparently there was some article recently on the internet that had to do with, I’m sorry,
whoever wrote the question, I can’t quite read the
name of the website, but it as regarding workplace
discrimination claims and questions that it raised about the campus investigative process, and whether, this person states, whether we truly value an
inclusive and equitable workplace, and so the question they pose is, what plans do we have to address this in a way that people will
believe and trust in, and will believe that those who are in leadership positions on campus really espouse, and live,
and practice the values that we give a lot of lip service to. – So Chancellor Chris, as we all know, is very committed to this. Her entire organization
is committed to this, and we’re going to make sure
that we are mindful of this, that we really understand
where the issues are and what we can do to resolve those issues and make a healthy, equitable, fair place for everyone to work. If we haven’t done that, we will have missed a
huge opportunity, one, and also do a disservice to
the campus and its reputation. Berkeley’s reputation is that of being an inclusive, forward-thinking place, we need to make sure and protect that, message in the chairs, and I think it behooves all
of us to work to that end. I know there’s been concern
recently about specific areas on the campus where
this might be an issue, and I can tell you that my administration is really aware of that, and we are looking for
ways to make improvement, whether that’s where people
sit, how they’re organized, the structure of the organization, looking at all those pieces to make sure at the end of the day, we really have considered
the staff experience and make sure that it
is fair and equitable for everybody on this campus, that everyone’s treated in a
way that they feel good about. We have a lot of work to do here. You’ve seen the results of the engagement survey for this campus. They’re not as good as I would like. There are green boxes and red boxes. The campus has a lot of red
boxes and very few green boxes. I came from a campus
with a lot of green boxes and very few red boxes. Green is good, red is bad. So one of the challenges for me is to say, what did we do differently there, what can we do here to
improve the situation, how can we make this a really good place for everybody to work? So we’re aware of that,
and we’re working on it, and we know that we
have not a lot of time, because basically that
survey tells us an awful lot about the current work experience, especially if you drill down and think about all the
different groups on campus, all the demographic groups on campus, the level of satisfaction is
pretty low in a lot of areas and we have some good challenges. – In that regard, based on your past
experience on other campuses, do you think it’s primarily
a matter of perception, or substance, or what
have you noticed here? When you say we have a lot of work to do, what are the areas that you
think demand that kind of work most immediately? – I think communication is key, really having the campus involved in what’s happening on the campus. Part of it, I think, is a sense
of isolation on the campus, is not getting enough information. We had our first town hall, I think it was last week, it seems longer, and I encourage all of you to participate in those processes. We’ll have another one in the fall. It’s a good source of information. What I’ll be looking for
in those, going forward, is really engaging you in the process, so if there’re things
you want to talk about in the town hall process, whether it’s staff groups
that want to participate, absolutely. I mean that’s the way I think we can open up lines of communication and make this a better place to work. If there’re other things we need to do, engaging the staff
directly in the workplace, happy to do that. This is a chancellor, we’re really lucky, who’s already done a lot of that. We saw it over the holidays in facilities, the chancellor came to
their holiday event, and they said that had
never happened before. The tone and the mood leaving
the room was so much better, and I think we take
advantage of what I look at as really strong leadership at the top, that wants to be engaged, that wants to know what
you all are thinking, and is really there to make sure that we make the best
work environment possible, and Chancellor Christ is
really doing that already, and I think all of us will
be working hard with her to make sure that we are out
with you as much as possible. Feel free to tell us what’s
going on or what bothers you. I always say in these meetings, my email address is really easy, my name is spelled M A R C, F I S H E R, at Berkeley dot edu, it’s very simple to get ahold of me. I read emails, I try to respond to them
as quickly as possible, and I might not always have an answer, probably don’t always have an answer, but if there’s something
I can help you with, do contact me, and don’t
be afraid to do that. So speaking of Chancellor Christ, the next person who posed a question referenced something
that she’s talked about, which is our low tolerance for risk, and how that influences our ability to think outside the box, and the extent to which
we actually can lean in and to address some of our
problems with processes that were sort of a
conservative institution. So I think this person is really asking for your own assessment and how staff might be involved in that. And in the context of
sort of mandatory changes in order to– They seem really concerned
about the ability to facilitate and implement change in the context of what is an environment that has this aversion to risk. How do you see that,
and what’s your answer? – Well it’s pretty process
heavy here, I will say that. So there’s definitely a
level of risk aversion that is more so than what
I’ve seen in the past. Having said that, I think UC wide, there’s a pretty high
level of risk aversion, so it’s not completely unusual. I do think though, looking
at things like like, we’re looking at processes right now, especially going into
this next fiscal year, travel and entertainment, so there’s an online travel
form that seems to be working, it may need more work, we need to be thoughtful
about how it’s rolled out, but I think it’s a sort of tool that we’ll really want to look at and say, how can this serve the campus well, move resources quickly so if you have been on
travel and you come back, how are you compensated for the money you might have spent on that trip? And I think there’s some
very strong potential here to really use certain tools that take away a level of bureaucracy, and there’s quite a bit of bureaucracy built into the current
way of doing business here that I think we will need to simplify just to be able to meet
the needs of the campus and provide a level of service that’s commensurate with
the quality of the place. – [Dan] Thanks. – [Marc] Let me just finish though. – [Dan] Yeah, please. – Your input’s critical. So the piece I didn’t touch in there was, if you have ideas or you think, that’s the stupidest idea to
ever travel entertainment, don’t do that, let us know, because and or how we can improve it, because there have been some comments, there was a faculty member last week I think sent some really
great notes through about how the travel form
could be made better, that’s good, that’s great stuff, because if you can take that current tool, tweak it, and make it an even better tool, it will better serve the campus and that feedback is crucial, rather than saying, I hate
it, I don’t wanna use it, why isn’t it working and what can we do to make that a really
solid tool going forward. – So we’re talking about process. You’ve said a few times, let us know. What’s the best way for people to do that? – That’s a great question, too. You can always start by emailing me, and I usually know who I’d
send it to in our organization. That’s not always the fastest
way, but let’s start there. I like to know what’s going on, so– – [Dan] Careful what you wish for. – Exactly, exactly. I do have two email addresses, the other one is one called V cat, I do not like that one because
it doesn’t get to me as fast, I really like the Marc Fisher one. – [Dan] Alright, here it comes. – Flood in. – So speaking about systems, this question is interesting, and I think it probably
resonates with a lot of people. Any chance we can stop charging each other just to use another room on campus? The little stuff, right? (audience please) It’s just too much work to get approvals, and it doesn’t really save or make money, unbalance anyway, so what the heck. The what the heck is mine, not theirs. – So don’t get me started on recharge. I think it’s one of the weirdest things that was ever started in higher education. It just moves money in little circles. If it’s truly new money, I’m all for it. Most of this is not new money,
it’s just circular money. It wastes a lot of time and energy, and I think it’s one
of the great challenges here for us to really see, how can we eliminate as
much of this as possible? This gets back to how we core
fund things like tea efforts. I think that looking
at that very carefully is really important. What are the common goods that
we should have on the campus? How do you fund them? How do you make that move forward? Then you can start to get away from these little circles of money and all the complication
associated with it. So I’m fully supportive
of trying to reduce that. Room rentals, there was one
last week I think that we heard, renting academic space that’s
not currently being utilized by the department, so
their academic departments, what a bad idea. It just sets up one more piece where, is that really an appropriate
way to raise funds? Probably not. And it just penalizes
our academic endeavor. Especially as we’ve grown,
as much as we’ve grown, without growing buildings
or other resources, using our space wisely is just critical. – So, talking about space, share your sort of assessment about the physical
condition of the campus, inside, outside, what you’ve been doing, what are the areas you’re
looking at going down the road? – It certainly doesn’t meet my standards, which the folks around me know. – [Dan] When you say it, what do you mean? – Oh, the condition of the campus, whether that be grounds, interiors. But I think we’re making huge progress. So having said that, there have
been some really good things happening over the past six
months and I’m very proud of. So let me back up and say, it didn’t meet my
expectations when I got here, but it’s beginning to get
closer to my expectations, which is good. And again, the folks who
are near me in our division will know that I pay
attention to a lot of things I’m really interested, I try not to micromanage, but I really am interested– Trash cans are overflowing, or the grounds aren’t in good shape, or I walk in the academic
building with a dean and it’s in bad shape, we’ll work on that, and we
work on it very quickly. The condition of the parking structures is something that’s come up recently, and we’re making a very concerted effort to try to clean up the garages. As I say, it’s our first impression. Someone comes to campus, if
the garage isn’t well-painted, it’s not well-lit, there’s
trash on the floor, what message does that send? It sends a message that Berkeley’s not a very high quality place, and that’s your first and probably your lasting
memory of the place. I’ll tell you something
my mother always said, the front door’s the most important thing. If your front door isn’t well-painted and the glass by the door isn’t clean, that’s the impression you
have of someone’s home. So this is a chance for us to change that first impression there, as you walk the campus, the
campus should look great. Then getting into the buildings, and in order to support
what you all do out there, we need to make sure that
they’re well-managed as well. We have a lot of deferred maintenance. We’re in the middle of
a process right now, something called I camp, it’s a system-wide process
where we look at, in detail, how much deferred maintenance
do we really have. We say seven hundred million, I think if Rajiv, I don’t
think he’s in the room, but he would tell you it’s
probably, with seismic, closer to two billion
dollars of deferred– – [Dan] Is that with a B? Two billion with a B? – B, with a B, yeah. That’s both for seismic, upgrade, and for the deferred maintenance, and I think our deferred
maintenance number will probably approach a billion dollars. So, that’s big. However, we have found some resources. We’re beginning to make
some progress out there, progress against a billion dollars worth of deferred maintenance is going to take a while for us to start to chip away at that, but you can do a lot of
little things along the way that will make it much more bearable to be in older buildings that really need, probably, total refresh, again, making the work
experience better for everyone, faculty, staff, and students. It’s a big problem, but I think we’re beginning
to chip away at it, and there have been some
structural changes in facilities I think are very good, there’s some new staff there that are incredibly good, actually, and I think as you walk the campus you’ll probably, I hope, you’re
seeing there’s less trash, the grounds are more well-tended to, and you’ll see more and
more of that going forward. – So speaking of trash, which sort of brings up
the idea of recycling and sustainability’s also in your daily, what are some new
initiatives going on there and what are your designs and intentions for that part of your operation? – Well Kira Stoll is in
the back of the room, so she’s the person in
charge of sustainability for the campus. That role was elevated
just after I got here. Kira now reports directly to me. So sustainability is now front and center in terms of an important
issue on the campus. I don’t think that it was unimportant, but it now has a reheightened focus, and we have some very big
challenges ahead of us. One is carbon neutrality by 2025. Carbon neutrality means that you no longer really burn natural gas. If you’re really going to
meet carbon neutrality, everything on the campus
would be electrified. It’s impossible. All the campuses are challenged by this, Stanford spent 480 million
dollars to electrify their campus and got to 80% carbon reduction. We won’t get there
without doing some things that are similar over time, and in the short term, we’ll do things that
the students don’t like, like buying carbon offsets. It’s not a permanent solution, but it’s a way to get
to that goal of 2025. That’s, by the way, a
president’s initiative, it’s something President Napolitano is very convinced that we should
do, she’s committed to it, and I think we have a lot of work to do in that particular area for our campus, because we do burn a lot of
natural gas for our cogen plant, and now that we own and
operate the cogen plant, it is our carbon. Before that, it was someone else’s carbon, we now have a big carbon
problem here to work on, so we’re certainly thinking about that. By 2020, we’re supposed
to reduce our waste stream to only 10% that goes to the landfill. Right now, 50% of our
waste goes to the landfill. We are actually, I think, at
the lowest level in the UC in terms of trash diversion. That sound like a bad story, it’s tempered by the fact that we’ve reduced our
overall waste stream, and it’s one of the factors that really needs to be
more carefully reviewed at the system-wide level. Having said that, we still
have a big challenge. By 2020, to get to 90% diversion is going to take everybody in this room working really hard to make that happen. So what does that mean? You’re gonna start to seem
more recycling containers, I see some in the back of the room, in all your offices throughout
the academic buildings, you’ll start to see more of those big, trash collection devices out on campus, they’re called, what are they called, big belly, thank you, I
always wanna call ’em– They’re called big
bertha in Santa Barbara, so they’re big belly, right. And they do a couple things. One, they sort the trash
stream into multiple streams, which is great, they also compact the trash so that it takes less
staff to keep them emptied, they’re generally cleaner
than a normal trash can, that’s another positive benefit for the aesthetic of the campus, in fact, the newest
ones have a foot pedal, which I encourage you to try because it means you don’t
have to touch anything with your hands, which is
also nice for some of us who don’t like to do that, necessarily. So those sorts of moves are
all going to help with this. Again though, it is a big challenge. The students are very engaged, they’re going to want
you to be very engaged, and faculty as well. So one of the big challenges will be all of us working
hard together to get there. An extra complication at
Berkeley is we’re so porous. So if someone picks up
something for lunch at say, Subway, across the street on Bancroft, and they carry the trash back to campus and I have some pet peeves with the way Subway packages things, they use a lot of material, I think, when they carry that back to campus, that goes into our waste stream. Very hard then to separate that out and say, it’s really not ours. So we need to think carefully about what our zero
waste effort looks like and how we define the edges until the city of Berkeley
is at the same place we are, and I know that they’re trying
to achieve the same goal, but we’re not quite in step, and one of the things going forward will be working hard with the city to make sure that our
efforts are well-aligned. – Thanks. Circle back now to sort of staff issues, an interesting question here. Could the administration start a program that honors and acknowledges
staff volunteered contributions on and off campus, maybe even badges or
community bonus points. And I think this also
reflects on a broader issue about workplace development and just how we engage
people who work here, not just in terms of what
they do between nine to five, or eight to six, or in
some cases seven to seven, but sort of all the things that they do as part of their public
service commitments and as members of the community here. – Short answer, yes, I
think it’s a great idea. I think this is one of the big questions for how we recognize how long staff have been on the campuses. I think in the old model, you don’t get that first pin
until ten years, is that right? There’s really no recognition of how long you’ve been in the UC. And we know there’s some
generational changes for folks who may not want a career that goes for 30 or 40 years, and so I think recognizing staff earlier, more regularly, outside of that formal pin
process makes a lot of sense, and I think particularly for
the millennial generation being very thoughtful about, how do we make sure this is
a really great place to be, and that they feel like we’re recognizing and honoring their efforts, so sure. I don’t think Joe’s in the room today, but that’s something I can
take back to Joe Mackness and talk about. – In that same vein, given the length of time
that you’ve been at the UC, and three different campuses, you don’t like the length
of time thing, do you? How do you characterize– What are the commonalities staff have at the various campuses? I worked in the private
sector and it seems, it’s very different in amazing ways, but I’m wondering what
your own perception is, having sat at the apex of the HR system and administrative
systems on these campuses. – One, a level of dedication. I think almost all staff
really believe in the place, believe in the endeavor, which is great, are committed to it. And I think it’s fun to be
in higher education, frankly, you feel like you’ve done something good, I think, at the end of the day. I was in the private
sector long enough to know, there was certain rewards
there that we don’t have here. On the other hand, I just can’t imagine a 23 year career some place else, frankly. This is just a great place to
spend a big chunk of your life and staff are really important in that, across the UC. I haven’t seen a place yet in the UC where the staff haven’t been
really dedicated to the place. – Interesting. This plays into another question that just came up from the audience here, and it is that, as more
reductions in staff are requested or contemplated, how do you ensure the
time-sensitive issues, especially in HR that
might not be addressed as quickly as mandated by law won’t cause increased legal costs, as staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to sort of work on those issues? And I think I would actually ask that you expand that into
other departments too, that as we become leaner, that doesn’t change the
things we need to do that are mandated by
regulation law and UC policies. How do you address that? How do you think about that? – So you definitely wanna
protect the core mission, and so making sure we have
the right resources in place to help serve the academic
and research endeavor teaching experience is critical. Having said that, we’re going through– We’re in a tough year, I think Paul said this in his comments, that this is a particularly tough year in the restructuring the
finances for this campus, so we’re trying, right now, to make sure that as we go into the
tail end of this year, that we’re really structuring the way that we’re ready to handle some changing, frankly, on the campus. And the cabinet is keenly aware of what we need to do process-wise, and trying to make sure that we don’t overburden areas of staff, and that the process can be handled in a smart, civil way, and so we’re very, very conscious of what the demands are on staff. Taking that to a different position, making sure that staff, if it is a leaner environment, that the staff are not
being asked to do things the old bureaucratic way, that we’re really trying
to reduce the effort so that the staff can manage
what they’ve been tasked to do in a way that is not
producing unnecessary stress. So it really is combining both things, and making sure the processes
are properly structured, and that we have the right staff, and the right numbers,
and the right places. – So I wanna push back a little, or just sort of focus in a little more on the bureaucracy issue. It’s come up in a number of areas. I’ve been here for 14 years,
and it’s like the weather, everybody talks about it, but there doesn’t seem to be much that we can do about it. What do you think the keys are
to actually making progress on de-bureaucratizing,
if there is such a word, an institution that’s as far-flung, decentralized, and complex as this one? – Well I think it takes broad buy-in. So I think, for example in
the shared service model, as we look at the regions, having the deans and the associate
deans co-own this with us will help us streamline processes. When it’s somebody else’s effort, you can say, oh, just let them do it, oh, they’re not doing a very good job, and I don’t understand why. Well, you don’t understand that they may be really understaffed. And I think that this regionalization will allow us to be better integrated into the academic departments, and then really seeing where the resources in the departments and
in CSS, for example, that might be complementary, and how those resources
can be best utilized to get everything done
that needs to be done, but also doesn’t stress
any one part of it. It’s no longer them and us, it’s us, and I think that’s really critical. I think the only way to really take away a level of bureaucracy is changing the mindset to,
we’re all together at this. But I think we’re headed
there, frankly, which is great. A lot of good effort. – Something else that I’ve heard, I think we’ve all heard the
chancellor talk a lot about, rightly so, is one of the key
values for the university, and that’s diversity. How do you think about diversity? When you hear that word, some people just think
of it in terms of racial, or ethnic, or gender, or– How do you think about diversity? Why is that something that’s
important for this campus, for the UC as a whole, and what’s happening in
your realm in that regard? – We’re much richer when
we’re in a richer environment. When there’s more diversity, it will lead to a much more sophisticated, richer place to be. And that is in all sort of ways, whether it be gender, or
race, or physical abilities, all those factors need to be understood, and we need to make sure
that the entire community is really included in making
this a great place to be. So, diversity’s a very important
piece for us right now, I think, and I think Berkeley
has a lot of diversity. It’s a question of, is it
diverse enough in all ways, in all layers? And I think that’s where I
think we have some work to do, to make sure that we really
do have a diverse population that has all the right tools
to do what I did, for example. How do you move up in the system? If there are impediments,
what can we do to change that? I’ll give you an example from
the Santa Barbara campus. We had a lot of Spanish
speaking employees, especially in the services, and it came to my attention
through the union reps that this was kind of a glass ceiling, so we brought in the city college group to produce language skills, to teach classes in english
as a second language. It was hugely beneficial. So you start to see, the
glass ceiling begins to erode because the language barrier is eroding, and it made a lot of
difference for the employees, and the engagement staff
level, engagement there, was I think a lot better because of this. And I’m not saying that’s
something we need to do here, although I have heard some suggestion that we might think about that as well. We did that on our time. The employees were paid to
take the classes, essentially. They got college credit for
it, which worked really well. For a lot of them, they
hadn’t gone to college, college credits and a
little graduation ceremony meant a lot to them, personally. So it was one of those things that we did that I think helped erase
some of the barriers to upward mobility. And I always say, if
you’re happy in your job, fine, that’s great. I think that there are a
lot of very noble things that everyone does. If you’re good there, that’s great. It’s if you want to move up,
and can’t, that’s a problem. And so, to the extent that
we can foster upward mobility for those who want it, then we need to work on that, and I think that’s probably true across the whole UC system, frankly. – I wanna circle back to
something you said earlier, that this is gonna be a
difficult, challenging year. In your experience, how do
you think about adversity? What are the keys to
institutional resilience? And how do we make sure that we’re both addressing and understanding
concerns and anxieties that staff can hold
during a period like this? – That’s a great question, and something I’d like to touch on. So if you look at the administrative
endeavor on the campus, sort of the nonacademic side, our cut this year is
about 20 million dollars, but that’s not really the full number, it’s really 36 million
when you add into that merit and benefits increases. I’m going to be honest with you, that’s going to have an impact. However, as we look at the numbers, it’s not quite the impact
that I thought it could be, it’s not as bad a story. It’s not a perfect story, by any means, I’m not gonna lie to you. However, there’s some clever
things that have been done that I think are really
should be recognized. And one of them, Dan and I
were talking earlier about, bringing back the cogeneration plan, and why was that a good
idea for the campus, and why was that a good
idea in the context of all the other things we were doing. Why would you do that? And I think the question I’ve imposed was, we buy energy fairly
inexpensively from PG&E. We actually don’t, we pay a
premium for energy from PG&E, and I think it’s about
20 cents a kilowatt hour. We produce energy down to around eight
cents a kilowatt hour. By taking the plant back, we’re actually saving energy cost. So saving energy cost means that we now have a place to offset what
might’ve been a staff reduction. That’s a very positive thing. So I think it’s really critical
that we all think together about how we can do things
like save energy on the campus, because saving energy, I’ll be
really blunt, can save jobs, and that’s just a smart
way to do business. I’ll personalize that. When you leave your office,
turn off the lights. When you think of any place
you can help reduce energy, think about this in terms of, hm, my colleagues, if I wanna
keep my colleagues here, I’m gonna reduce my energy use somehow, and that energy footprint
is really critical. So I think there’ve been
some very smart things done. I think in some of our
areas in particular, there were positions
that just weren’t filled, so let’s free the resource back up. And or, there’re things we were doing that we don’t need to do, going forward, which frees up resources. So I think it’s a combination
of every clever thing we can possibly do to maintain the staff that we can going forward, but with the recognition
that 36 million dollars is a big number, still. So, it’s important. – So we’ve come to the end of
the questions in the session, and I really wanna thank you
for what were forthcoming, and candid, and comprehensive remarks, and just thanks for coming today. – Thank you. (audience applause) Thank all of you. – And just to remind everybody, I think the final one
for this academic year, the final Campus Conversation
is on April 24th, at noon, in the same place, with none other than
Chancellor Carol Christ, and look forward to seeing you all then. Thank you. – Thank you.

2 comments on ““Campus Conversations”: UC Berkeley VC for Administration Marc Fisher

  1. hi im a proud white alpha may of seen me at the "battle" of berkley,i am the reason you pansies need safe are a generation of retarded soy bois and triggered sjw feminists…no one will ever hire you so you fight for a socialist or communist country so you wont be stuck with your tuition bills from useless degrees..see ya soon#whiteisright

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