The financial crisis now hitting the University of California is the worst I have seen, and I have been teaching at UC Santa Barbara since 1980. Certainly there have been other down times during this period but nothing like this.
I am particularly concerned about the effects of the proposed budget cuts upon the quality of undergraduate education. That—high quality undergraduate education—is supposed to be one of the mandates of the UC system, but I fear that it is (and has for a long time) going to get the short end of the stick as financial adjustments are made for the current crisis.
Classes are being cut; instructors, especially lecturers, are being laid off. Class sizes are sure to increase, and if teaching assistants are also cut back, large lectures will no longer have sections.
Students will still be expected and feel the pressure, for financial reasons, to graduate in four years, but with these changed conditions that will be increasingly impossible.
If you are currently a student in the UC system or have been (especially if you are at UCSB) I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the crisis and any reflections you might have on the quality of instruction you received or are receiving.
For a little background on the crisis, you might check out: "I am for option 4."