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Report 93-21: Who Will Take Responsibility for the Future of California Higher Education? A Statement by Clark Kerr to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, October 25, 1993

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

October 1993

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In these comments to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Clark Kerr explains why California higher education now faces the most severe financial crisis in its history, and he outlines four options before the State's colleges and universities:

  1. Continued budget cutbacks, with California's public institutions of higher education battling other State agencies and each other for the "unprotected" 15 percent of the State budget that the Legislature and Governor control;
  2. Ad hoc and stop-gap palliatives by postponing faculty appointments, library acquisitions, plant maintenance, and other expenditures -- despite their long-term costs;
  3. Leaving sole leadership on the future of higher education to the Legislature -- and then complaining about the Legislature's decisions; or
  4. Assuming leadership in proposing solutions that should be brought to the attention of the State's policy makers, including the Legislature.
"I believe that these few years of the middle '90s will be a defining moment in the history of higher education in the State of California," he says; "and that someone or some group in higher education now needs to step forward and take the responsibility and the burdens for its leadership." He proposes that during 1994 the major elements of California higher education undertake this task by developing a "Resource Master Plan for Higher Education." Appended to his statement is his suggestion for the development of that plan and an outline of some of the topics it might cover.

Clark Kerr served as chancellor of the Berkeley campus of the University of California from 1952 to 1958 and president of the University from 1958 to 1967 before chairing the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education and the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education. In 1959, he initiated what became the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California. The State University of New York Press has just published his two most recent books, which he prepared in association with Marian L. Gade and Maureen Kawaoka, Troubled Times for American Higher Education: The 1990s and Beyond, and Higher Education Cannot Escape History: Issues for the Twenty-First Century.

Related Topics: Enrollment Demand and Capacity Analysis

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