U.S. doesn’t thrive if UC doesn’t thrive

Dec 8, 2013 by

After two months as UC president, Janet Napolitano talks about tuition freezes, executive compensation and future growth in the university system.

Janet Napolitano views her new job as president of the University of California system as being primarily “a huge public advocate for higher ed.”

 

The former Arizona governor and U.S. secretary of Homeland Security was an unusual choice for UC: a politician without prior leadership experience in academia.

Napolitano, 56, the first woman to hold the post, is paid $570,000 a year plus housing to manage the sprawling chain of 10 campuses, five medical centers and numerous research centers.

After taking the position two months ago, she dived into such issues as tuition, labor contracts and how to stay neutral at UCLAUC Berkeley football games.

In an interview with The Times, she discussed the challenges she and the university face.

What’s the difference between working at a university and working for the government?

The real difference is between what I perceive as the culture of Washington and the culture of California. Washington has become a town where everything is political and everything gets put into the partisan bucket. California doesn’t escape having partisan politics but it is a lot more invested in its own evolution, its own growth…. I wanted to come here to champion the value of public research universities in this huge, diverse state. To me, California doesn’t thrive, the western United States and, I think, actually the rest of the United States doesn’t thrive if the university doesn’t thrive.

What’s your main job as UC president? Is it fundraising or political?

via Napolitano: U.S. doesn’t thrive if UC doesn’t thrive – latimes.com.

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