Friday, February 17, 2012

UCSF chancellor blows up the boxes to remake campus, UC system

(SF Business Times subscription required.)

When UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann started her Twitter account last month, she had two goals: do her own micro-blogging and never tweet about eating a tuna fish sandwich for lunch.
The University of California, San Francisco’s ninth chancellor runs little risk of inanity. Some 2-1/2 years into her tenure, Desmond-Hellmann has moved comfortably into her role as UCSF’s face. But more importantly, she is tackling head-on — and with some controversy — the way things are done on her campus and within the UC system.
How those initiatives fare is anyone’s guess. A plan to rework how grant applications are assembled has faced opposition from faculty. Questions also surround an ambitious idea that Desmond-Hellmann pushed at last month’s UC Board of Regents meeting for UCSF to largely split off from the 10-campus UC system.
Regardless, even skeptics applaud Desmond-Hellmann for her bold, pragmatic attempts to deal with an unsteady financial foundation and shake up traditional structures. She is, many say, the right person for the right job at the right time.

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