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Earth Sciences Department                                                         (831) 459-4089 (main office)
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Earth & Marine Sciences Building, Room A232
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

                                                                                  April 12, 2010

To: Search Committee, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies

         I would like to apply for the position of Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate
Studies (VPDGS). I have a long-standing interest and expertise in Graduate Studies at
UCSC, as well as a history of leadership at both the local and system-wide levels in the
arena of graduate education. The rationales for my interest in graduate education are
straightforward: it is both the dominant ingredient that makes UCSC a Research
Institution and helps fulfill critical societal needs (and, indeed, our stated institutional
mission at the University of California). And, while I absolutely enjoy teaching and doing
research with undergraduates, I definitely wouldn’t be here at UCSC if I did not have
access to a vibrant graduate program (or two)—and there is no question that this is also
true of many of my most valued colleagues across the campus. Hence, our viability as a
high-caliber UC –with excellent faculty, excellent service to the state, and an outstanding
research enterprise--hinges on the success of our graduate enterprise.

        Indeed, I am applying for this position because I firmly believe that an area that
was tabbed as one of our top three campus priorities in both our last WASC review
(completed in 2005), in Chancellor Blumenthal’s (as outlined in his letter of December,
2008 list of campus 2-year priorities) requires creative, intensely consultative, and
assertive leadership--particularly at a time of severe budget contractions. As an example
from the very recent past, I believe that my track record as head of the UCSC faculty,
during which the first revisions of the campus’ General Education requirements in a
quarter-century were enacted and the Senate evolved a principled and consistent stance
on the development of different Professional Schools, illustrates my ability to generate
consensus on controversial changes among a range of campus constituencies. But, a
broad suite of other experiences informs my candidacy for the Graduate Deanship.

        Briefly, my major service of direct relevance to the VPDGS position includes: (1)
five years as the Graduate Representative/Graduate Program Director in Earth and
Planetary Sciences (1997-2001 and 2004-2005); (2) Chair of the Campus Graduate
Council from 2001-2003; (3) Chair and Vice-Chair of the system-wide equivalent of the
Graduate Council, the Coordinating Committee of Graduate Affairs, spanning from 2003-
2005; and (4) Chair and Vice-Chair of the UCSC Academic Senate, with oversight over

all campus academic issues, from 2005-2009. By virtue of this sequence of positions, I
have also engaged in Graduate issues in a number of other roles, including: (A) being one
of three members of UCSC’s 2003 negotiating team with the UAW over the Academic
Student Employees Contract; (B) serving on the initial GARP executive committee; (C)
being a member of the University-Provost convened Task Force for Planning for
Doctoral and Professional Education (including Chairing its Subcommittee on the
Professional Doctorate); and (D) serving on the Senate’s Committee on Planning and
Budget from 2005-2009. Other roles as a member of the system’s Council on Research
(2003-2005), Academic Planning Council (2004-05, 07-08) and Multi-campus Research
Unit Working Group (2006-07) provided important perspectives that helped shape my
view of the system-wide graduate enterprise, but none of these produced a palpable
Graduate-related product towards which I can point.

         I will illuminate this laundry list of major positions with a brief description of
what I view as my principal skills acquired and major accomplishments in each of these
activities. My intent here is to provide some substantive, results-based insights into what
I would bring to, and how I would approach, the VPDGS position. As Graduate Program
Director in EPS, I was charged with oversight of a program of 50-70 graduate students.
At the local level, beyond the expected tasks of administering admissions and ensuring
that procedures/prerequisites were followed, psychological counseling of students took a
very large percentage of the time spent on this position—and, as I expect is the case with
the Graduate Deanship, a very few students occupied a truly remarkable amount of time.
The key lessons were, for a voluble person like myself, simply to do a lot of listening,
authoritatively know every relevant rule (and know when they can, or should be, bent),
give common-sense advice and, when needed, to forward people to professionals more
expert at counseling than myself. From a policy perspective, I spent a bit of well-spent
time in 2000-2001 doing a multi-variable regression on the results of the then-algorithm
for the allocation of Graduate Block Funding to departments (this was harder than it
sounds, since the data I was initially given made the problem underdetermined). Quite
frankly, I embarked on this exercise simply because I could not get a quantitative
description of the algorithm from either the Graduate Division or the Graduate Council,
and that deeply troubled me. I will not describe the peculiar and complex algorithm that
was utilized, but once I understood it, I had an excellent argument that it disadvantaged
my Department, among others—and my role as Graduate Program Director was
manifestly to promote my Department’s graduate enterprise. The signal lessons that I
derived from this saga (beyond finally understanding how money had been allocated)
were the importance of: (1) timely and accurate responses by support organizations to
queries, and (2) transparency in all fiscal matters.

         My analysis of the Block Allocation became reasonably well known among some
Graduate Advisors and Department Chairs (which included members of the Senate’s
Committee on Committees) and I believe in large part led to me being asked the
following year to chair the Graduate Council. I had not previously been a member, but
felt it would be appropriate to take on the challenge of chairing a major Senate committee
in an area of intense interest to me. Particular highlights of my tenure as Graduate
Council Chair included: (1) constructing a transparent and straightforward Block

Allocation algorithm which, as I read the Graduate Council’s Annual Reports, remains
intact today (with minor modifications for new degree titles like the Ed.D. and D.M.A.);
(2) suspending graduate admissions to the Department of Mathematics, a decision widely
credited with setting Math on a track to becoming a far more responsible and functional
department; (3) highlighting the highly inequitable distribution of registration fees for
Graduate Student purposes, which directly resulted in the hiring of a Graduate-centered
Career Counselor, and ultimately set the stage for more significant mental health support;
(4) constructing de novo the campus’ academic integrity policy for graduate students (a
ridiculously overdue document, which also served to introduce me to the UC General
Counsel’s office); and (5) finding, proactively encouraging, and seating the Postdoctoral
Scholars Association on the Graduate Council—the Post-docs are, of course, the oft-
forgotten constituency that is the responsibility of both the Graduate Dean and Graduate
Council. As with any evolving enterprise, there were informative false starts as well:
these included our endorsement of the concept of a Graduate College, which (if nothing
else) emphasized the need for an improved community structure within the Graduate
Enterprise. This was a fairly fruitful two years for the Graduate Council, particularly as
some of the issues that were grappled with were hot-button issues—for example, getting
the Block Allocation algorithm approved involved a difficult task of consensus-building
and compromise with faculty from across the campus with different priorities, resource
bases, and programmatic agendas.

        During this period (2003), I was also tasked by the administration with being one-
third of the campus team negotiating for a new Academic Student Employee Contract
with United Auto Worker representatives (one professional negotiator, the late Prof. Gary
Lease, and myself). These involved about twelve all-day negotiating sessions (except
when one party walked out, which happened a couple times). From these sessions and the
preparation leading up to them, I garnered a considerable familiarity (which could be
quickly renewed for the latest version) with the ASE contract, and I learned the
substantial differences between the Union’s agenda and that of most graduate students.
The downside was that these meetings were among the most unpleasant experiences I
have had as part of my academic existence—a seemingly endless alternation between
tedium and acrimony. And, of course, the contract was ultimately settled at the system-
wide level, but negotiations had to occur locally to demonstrate good faith.

        Based on being both a vocal advocate for a higher priority and profile for graduate
education at the system-wide level and a good (and timely) reviewer of new graduate
program proposals, I was asked to Chair the system-wide Senate’s Coordinating
Committee on Graduate Affairs. A very large portion of the work of this committee
involves review and iteration with the campuses on proposals for new graduate programs.
And, it was during my period as Chair and Vice-Chair that the system-wide initiative in
joint Ed.D.’s came to fruition, and I learned (since I reviewed in great detail every one of
the six Ed.D. degree proposals that emerged from the system) a considerable amount
about one type of professional degree. The principal area of advocacy that I chose to
pursue during my tenure as Chair dealt with UC’s evolving non-competitiveness with
respect to recruitment of foreign students (due to their expense, with out-of-state tuition,
approaching that of a post-doc). Obviously, CCGA had no financial leverage on the

system; and the Academic Council, multiple CCGA chairs (including myself), and the
Council of Graduate Deans had politely (and serially) brought up this issue with the
President’s office. I felt that we might make some headway by quite frankly making a
sufficiently forceful case that UCOP (and, to a degree, the Regents) would be a bit more
motivated to act. The document that I wrote “The Decline of UC as a Great International
University” can be found at ; it was
endorsed by the Academic Council in its first meeting after I stepped down as Chair of
CCGA. I firmly believe that this fairly mortifying document did play a role in the
system’s decision to somewhat mitigate its non-resident tuition policies for graduate
students. The bottom line in terms of my advocacy as CCGA Chair: I did everything I
could on the single issue that galvanized my committee using the means at my disposal.

        When I became Chair of the Academic Senate at UCSC in 2007, I felt that I could
and should make progress on three prospective issues: General Education reform, faculty
salaries at UCSC relative to the rest of the system, and possible Professional Schools (a
topic initiated by my predecessor, Faye Crosby). Obviously, the last of these issues is
directly germane to the Graduate Dean’s duties, as the “advocate (of) all issues of
graduate education in campus planning” (from the Call for Applications), and the sole
administrative member of the Graduate Council, whose job is to approve (or reject)
proposals for new Graduate Programs. Clearly, a close interaction exists within the
approval process with the VP Academic Affairs for any new Professional School, whose
duty is to work through the approval process. I would simply observe that as one of the
primary architects of the Senate’s stance on Professional Schools through my
membership on CPB (the copious documentation can be accessed at: ) and having studied every Professional
School proposal in UC in the last decade (as either a member of CCGA or the Academic
Council), I believe that there are few who could more effectively help advise the
proposers through the VPAA, and help to guide and shepherd a Professional School
proposal through the approval process. Indeed, the implementation process of such
programs (which is squarely under the purview of the Graduate Dean) hinges on an
excellent, well thought-out proposal. I frankly believe that there are prospects on the
campus, even in this period of ongoing budgetary crisis, for possible successful
Professional School proposals—and I believe that I would be a considerable asset to the
campus in not only the ultimate implementation, but in collaborating and consulting on
the development of the successful proposal itself.

        I have also been engaged in developing policy relevant to Professional Graduate
Degrees from a system-wide perspective. As chair of the Subcommittee on the
Professional Doctorate of the UCOP-convened Task Force for Planning for Doctoral and
Professional Education, my committee dealt with the increasingly timely questions of:
what graduate degrees should UC fight to defend as their sole prerogative?; what
graduate degrees would UC be willing to forego to (say) CSU?; and on what basis should
these decisions be made? The Report of this subcommittee can be found at:
port_Review.pdf (I believe it is also mentioned in the Committee on the Future’s initial

Report). My key point here is that I am assuredly conversant with system-wide policy
and Master Plan-associated issues with UC’s role in graduate education within the state
of California.

         I would also comment on one observation that is relevant to my candidacy for the
Graduate Deanship. My research program has greatly benefited from diversity-related
initiatives: I run a highly interactive (and active) research group that typically has 1-4
graduate students plus or minus a post-doc, with 7 completed Ph.D.’s, the same number
of Master’s students, and 3 post-docs to date. Two of my Ph.D. students have benefited
from Dissertation Year Fellowships (Phillip Cervantes, Ph.D., 1997: presently the Chair
of the Department of Physics at Colorado College, and Javier Santillan, Ph.D., 2004:
presently a Research Scientist at GE), and one post-doc (Christine Houser) was a UC
Presidential Post-doctoral Fellow. In each instance, these graduate-oriented, diversity-
related initiatives have had a first-order impact on both the recipient and my research
program—one that has helped springboard them into highly successful careers. Of
course, I cannot claim to be the architect of these programs (though I wish I was), but I
profoundly recognize and appreciate their importance.

        What is my overarching vision for this job? Obviously, this is a question that,
were I chosen for this position, I would grapple with over my first few months in the
job—and it might well be that the situation within the Graduate Division (whether
budget-driven, or driven by staff-expertise) might shift my viewpoints. In this context, I
do note that the budgetary challenges appear severe. EVC Kliger’s recent (4/1/10) budget
letter notes that the Graduate Division has taken a 19.9% budget cut over the last three
years—an amount exceeded among campus units only by the Arboretum (100%) and
Lick Observatory. The precise rationale for the Graduate Division taking the largest cut
of any Institutional or Academic Support unit (other than the Arboretum) is not entirely
clear to me, but I am concerned about both the fiscal status of the enterprise moving
forward, as well as the morale of the staff.

         Beyond these budgetary concerns, I view the job as having several critical
components. There are duties that I would loosely describe as routine day-to-day
Graduate Affairs--processing student materials, ensuring the application process works
smoothly, resolving student issues and problems that rise to the level of the Graduate
Division/Dean, etc., ensuring that queries from Departments are answered in a timely and
accurate manner—all areas that MUST be done well. And, there are vital issues which
can become emergencies in short order, which include key aspects of graduate student
welfare, such as GSHIP, housing and child care issues—and these are areas that also
must be dealt with quickly and thoughtfully. There are longer-term issues that require
ongoing care and attention, such as ensuring that diversity efforts are not only
maintained, but successfully expanded. Beyond the day-to-day operations, the key
emergencies/recurring problems, and long-term issues whose presence and necessity are
well-documented, there are several long-term aspects that I believe would benefit from
greater attention: (1) improving the overall community environment for graduate
students; (2) engaging our University Development office in a task which they have
traditionally viewed as difficult—raising money for graduate education; and (3)

augmenting the interplay of the graduate enterprise with the research mission of the
campus. I recognize that efforts have been made in each of these areas, but my goal
would be to ensure that sustained and tangible progress is made over the multi-year
timeframe—I have ideas in these areas that I would probe the feasibility of over my first
several months in the position, should I become the Graduate Dean.

        In net, my interest in the job is driven to a considerable extent by the prospect of
shifting the status quo for a part of the campus that is an intimate driver of our status and
future as an institution—the types of changes, and the manner in which they will be
enacted will depend on my assessment of the landscape of the Graduate Division, the
administration and the campus during both the interview process (should you choose to
interview me) and the early portions of my tenure in this role (should I be successful in
my application). I believe I have a demonstrated track record of making difficult
decisions through consensus, have extensive knowledge at the local and system-wide
level in the arena of Graduate education, and will aggressively work to shift the
perception and status of the Graduate Enterprise on and off the UCSC campus.

       Thank you for your consideration of my application.


                                               Quentin Williams
                                               Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences