Alison Galloway pursued a career in academia because she never wanted to stop learning. After 25 years working at UC Santa Cruz, including five years as the Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor (CP/EVC), she says there’s still always something new to learn. On Oct. 7, Chancellor George Blumenthal announced Galloway will return to the classroom, resigning from her position as CP/EVC in December 2016.
“I enjoyed the job, I still enjoy the job and I still feel like I’m new to the job,” Galloway said. “But I know I don’t have the energy to do it for much longer.”
Galloway will take a year off after her resignation before returning to UCSC to teach forensic anthropology classes. In 1990, she moved from teaching at the University of Tennessee to accept a position as an assistant professor at UCSC. Galloway immediately loved the freedom she was given to teach what she felt was important, not what was expected of traditional anthropology courses.
She looks forward to making the move back to teaching, especially in a field uncommon in the UC system. Currently one of the nation’s leading forensic scientists, Galloway earned her B.A. in anthropology from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona.
She hasn’t been able to teach a class for several years because of her impacted schedule. Galloway aims to arrange her class to have students work hands-on with bones and forensic analysis, rather than focus on lecturing. However, she said she would miss working with a range of students from different organizations and personal or academic backgrounds.
Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center (CAD) director Don Williams, who joined UCSC staff in 1987, called Galloway a “true pioneer” in encouraging staff to come to Rainbow Theater and African American Theater Arts Troupe shows. He said she has a “divine respect for the work we do.”
“Alison is definitely a person who really, really promoted and uplifted folks of all walks and talks of life,” Williams said. “She really demonstrated great qualities of serving the greater community.”
In his university-wide email, Blumenthal said Galloway’s dedication to student success is demonstrated in her campus initiatives and dedication to increase retention rates. Galloway announced her “5 for 2015” plan in May 2011, which included “increasing retention rates for undergraduate students, enhancing academic pathways to allow students to graduate in four years or less, preparing the campus to achieve Hispanic Serving Institution status, financial stability and increasing non-resident student enrollment.”
She said all the initiatives have made progress, besides achieving financial stability, which she noted was stable for a while. When Galloway accepted the appointment to CP/EVC in 2010, she said the university thought it was going into a stable period. A 32 percent UC tuition increase was passed in 2009, but within six weeks as CP/EVC, “the bottom fell out of everything and we had a massive budget cut.”
“Since then, it’s been either a budget cut year or trying to hold sort of steady,” she said. “I think we’ve done very well with the resources we have despite the cuts. We make really good use of whatever we can find.”
Galloway, who’s responsible for managing UCSC’s daily operations, said the question of university funding comes back to the balance between state dollars and students’ tuition. Last year a tuition increase of up to 5 percent in each of the next five years was narrowly avoided, but the discussion will be back on the table for the UC regents next year.
“We get very mixed messages because we’re being told that we should be taking more students since our education is valued by people, and UCSC has been particularly attractive to students,” Galloway said. “At the same time, they want us do that on less and less, but you can’t give the quality of education and the research opportunities that we have both for faculty and our students without funding.”
Student Union Assembly Vice President of Academic Affairs Seamus Howard compared Galloway to being stuck between a rock and a hard place. As the primary administrator responsible for shaping UCSC’s annual budget, Galloway is often a target for criticism and frustration surrounding financial constraints and limited resources.
“There are a lot of demands on the university right now especially with budget,” Howard said. “There will be a tuition increase, there’s no doubt about that and students don’t want that, so Alison is sort of maneuvering through that space but also through the governmental space.”
Galloway said one of the most difficult parts of her job is constantly making difficult decisions.
“It really is 24/7, 365,” Galloway said. “You wake up thinking about the job and you go to sleep thinking about the job — and you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the job. That’s hard to do for a long period of time.”