A Conversation with Interim Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer

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City on a Hill Press spoke with Kletzer about her plans for the CP/EVC position. Photo by Josephine Joliff.

The role of campus provost/executive vice chancellor (CP/EVC) usually includes long-term planning, though Lori Kletzer’s status as interim CP/EVC might keep her from doing so. 

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal appointed Lori Kletzer as interim CP/EVC on April 23. She will replace Marlene Tromp at the end of this academic year, who is set to become the president of Boise State University on July 1. 

Kletzer doesn’t expect to hold the position for more than a year or two.

After being promoted from an assistant professor to a full economics professor in 2002, Kletzer served as the economics department chair, as well as the chair of the Academic Senate at UCSC. After a seven-year stint at Colby College, she returned to UCSC this year as vice provost and dean of graduate  studies. 

One of the main challenges Kletzer will face is the implementation of the Strategic Academic Plan (SAP), an initiative established by Tromp. Students and faculty alike have repeatedly criticized the SAP over fears the administration is moving forward too quickly and without adequate input from the UCSC community. 

CHP: How have your past experiences shaped your goals at UC Santa Cruz?

LK: “I’m an economist by training so I think like an economist, which some people say is good background for being a campus provost. […] I became provost and dean of faculty at Colby College from 2010-2017. […] At a very different scale, I have been the chief academic officer at a college. So the scale is way different […] but the questions that I addressed and my responsibilities were very similar. One set of skills that I have as a faculty member and now full-time administrator is I have a lot of full-time administrative skills. And I’ve seen a lot of what comes at a provost and executive vice chancellor.”

Do you have any concerns with the Strategic Academic Plan?

LK: “The plan, in my mind, has three components: the academic priority areas, the design principles and the barrier reduction efforts. The academic priority areas really are the heart and soul of the Strategic Academic Plan. The design principles […] are activities that we already do but we should pay more attention to. […] I think the campus needs to remain open to those academic priority areas possibly changing and morphing […] As we keep talking about it, it could well change. Those areas, because they are teaching and research areas, are also the places where we would invest resources to hire faculty. That’s where this program succeeds or fails […] The central administration can’t get ahead of the faculty.”

What do you say to the concerns that the SAP could take away funding from the humanities and social sciences?

LK: “Justice in a changing world,  one of the three academic priority areas, has the humanities and social sciences written all over it. I say that as a labor economist and someone who has studied income and wealth inequality and permanent and structural unemployment. There are big openings for the humanities and social sciences […] I think that these three academic priority areas don’t have to leave anybody behind.”

Do you have any concerns about the private funding that the SAP is trying to attract?

LK: “I don’t have any concerns. Not in general. […] There are funders from whom we might want to think twice before we take any money. But I would not want to just rule out private funding. There are lots of nonprofits and foundations out there from whom everybody would be comfortable taking their money. […] When you take private money, you take [it] for the reasons that the institutions want, not because the donor wants you to go in a certain direction. […] We are a resource-strapped public university and we shouldn’t turn away from private money.”


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