Hiring and Funding ASEs, GSRs, ARs and Postdocs
I am reaching out to provide information regarding our plan to address the funding shortfall for spring quarter 2023 through spring quarter 2024 for our graduate students, academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars, as well as guidance on graduate student admission strategies for fall quarter 2023. These decisions follow extensive conversations with leaders in the Academic Senate and across campus programs.
We want to reassure you that we recognize it is paramount that we preserve the UC Davis research and teaching mission so that both remain vibrant. This is central to our campus identity. It is central to our commitment to improving the lives of individuals and to making substantial contributions to our state and the world beyond. Thus, we are committing to sustaining our educational and research missions through campus funding sources since it is unlikely that funding will be provided by the UC Office of the President to defray increased costs associated with the new UAW contracts.
Our first priority is meeting our commitments to our existing academic student employees, academic researchers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars. Central campus administration will be a partner in covering these increased costs. We will do all we can to help carry UC Davis from spring quarter 2023 through spring quarter 2024, but these costs will be a shared responsibility.
We recognize that shared funding between central campus, colleges, schools, units, and faculty in the coming academic year is only a stopgap measure and not a long-term solution. Therefore, we are forming a Joint Academic Senate-Administration Task Force, which will be charged with exploring new educational, research and service models to sustain UC Davis in the decade to come. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, see below for a summary of how we will address funding issues to sustain the strength of our research and education missions:
Academic Student Employee (ASE) Support
It is critical that we continue to support our current level of Academic Student Employees (teaching assistants, readers, tutors and “associate in __”) through spring quarter 2024. The communication sent to all faculty on January 20 stated that we will provide central campus funding for spring quarter 2023 Academic Student Employee (BX) salary and benefit increases using our standard funding practice. Tuition and fee remission will continue to be funded centrally, consistent with current practice. Standard funding practices also will be followed for summer 2023, with additional central funding only available for critical instructional needs.
To support undergraduate educational needs, we also will maintain current Academic Student Employee FTE, with new salary and benefit funding levels, through spring quarter 2024. This entire cost will be funded by central campus administration following the practices noted above. For spring quarter 2023 through spring quarter 2024, this total additional cost for all ASEs will be approximately $10 million.
We must stress this level of support will not be available beyond spring quarter 2024. We are providing it now to give UC Davis time to plan for the next academic year and thereafter.
Academic Researchers, Graduate Student Researchers and Postdoctoral Scholars Research Support
For external contracts and grants already in progress, we anticipate a total shortage of approximately $12-14 million from spring quarter 2023 through spring quarter of 2024 due to increased costs for salaries and benefits for academic researchers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars.
- The message to all faculty sent January 26 stated that funding for salary and benefit increases will be a shared responsibility. For existing employees covered under UAW contracts, Principal Investigators are expected to re-budget their grants and contracts (including training grants) and/or use discretionary or personal research funds to support their academic researchers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars. It is expected that each Principal Investigator will identify a minimum of $2,500 toward the additional costs for each academic researcher, graduate student researcher and postdoctoral scholar. Graduate Program Fellowship Allocations or “Block Grant” funding may not be used for this purpose.
- Colleges, schools and/or units are expected to augment the above funding by an additional $2,500 toward the additional costs of salary and benefits for each academic researcher, graduate student researcher and postdoctoral scholar addressed above. Graduate Program Fellowship Allocations or “Block Grant” funding may not be used for this purpose.
- For spring quarter 2023 through spring quarter 2024, an estimated $8 million in central campus funds will be used to make up the remaining difference between the $5,000 total in salary and benefits noted above and the final additional costs for each academic researcher, graduate student researcher and postdoctoral scholar. Principal Investigators should request central campus support through the Office of Research; guidelines and a template for such requests will be provided by the Office of Research next week. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration other sources of funding that may or may not be available.
- If a Principal Investigator has academic researchers, graduate student researchers or postdoctoral scholars funded from sources other than contracts and grants, including cost-share grant commitments such as training grants, they will be responsible for fully funding the increased cost of salaries and benefits to support their academic researchers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars.
- For newly hired academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars, central campus funds will not be available. Central campus funds also will not be available for graduate students who matriculated after fall quarter 2022. The Principal Investigator and the college, school and/or unit will be responsible for identifying sufficient funding or making other adjustments.
- Increased salary and benefit costs for Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows and Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellows will be funded through central campus funding.
As a reminder, all Principal Investigators are required to plan for the salary and benefit increases in their contract and grant applications submitted on or after February 1, 2023. Visit the Office of Research for more information and resources.
Graduate Program Fellowship Allocations (GPFA or Block Grants)
The fall quarter 2023 Block Grant will remain stable at the fall quarter 2022 levels with the enrollment metric consistent with 2022-2023 levels. This provides the units predictable and flexible funding to meet a variety of needs related to graduate support.
Graduate Student Recruitment and Offers
Keeping in mind that funding of current graduate students and postdoctoral scholars should be your first priority, we recognize that recruitment of incoming graduate students varies by department and will likely be influenced by new salary and benefit costs, as well as other factors. As you examine how many new graduate students you can admit for fall quarter 2023, and if you have not already made admissions offers, please consider reducing enrollment of new Ph.D. students by as much as 20% so that we can take the 2023-2024 academic year to determine new models for our education and research.
You may also consider waitlisting applicants to achieve your targets or admitting more masters-level students. We strongly encourage you to contact Graduate Studies; they can serve as an outstanding partner as you work through these issues. Graduate Studies offers several resources, including a cost calculator and best practice templates for offer letters. Please refer to the Graduate Studies contract info webpage for further updates specific to the new bargaining agreements.
Thank you for the many ways you have gone above and beyond, and for your trust and confidence as we work through these challenges together. We will share more information as it becomes available.
All the best,
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor