UCSB’s Faculty Legislature met yesterday to discuss the UC budget and a set of proposed recommendations for the UC system.

The meeting began with the bestowal of the 2010 Faculty Research Lecturer Award, the highest honor that the Academic Senate can give to faculty, to history professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa. Hasegawa cofounded and directed the Center for Cold War studies from 1994 to 2007 and has authored many books and papers in English, Russian and Japanese.

“Thank you very much for this great honor,” Hasegawa said upon receiving the award. “I consider it my duty to maintain and enhance international education at UCSB, as well as at the UC as a whole.”

Chancellor Henry T. Yang then took the floor, congratulating Hasegawa before moving into discussion of the UC budget. Yang first touched on “maintaining access to an affordable, high quality, UC education” through the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which will ensure that students with family incomes below $70,000 will pay no systemwide UC fees during the 2010-11 school year.

Yang then spoke about advocacy for higher education, citing his trip to Sacramento on Monday, when he and a group of chancellors, regents and UC President Mark Yudof, visited the state legislature in an effort to appeal for the importance of higher education. In addition, he said he sympathized with the supporters of the March 4 rally, who were protesting budget cuts on campus as the meeting took place.

“As we are speaking, our students are marching outside and demonstrating downtown, and my hearts go out for them,” Yang said.

Additionally, Yang commented on recent acts of intolerance at sister campuses, such as a noose found at UC San Diego and the vandalism of UC Davis’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center.

“I would like to say loud and clear that we denounce all acts of hatred or intolerance toward any members of a community,” Yang said. “We affirm that there is no place here for discrimination of any of our members on the basis of any personal characteristics.”

The meeting then moved to review the first draft of a series of recommendations by the UC Commission on the Future, which included objectives such as creating transparency in the management of recovered funds, prioritizing internal funds to support research where extramural funding is limited and motivating development of large-scale interdisciplinary collaborative research projects to capture new funding streams.

While Yang stressed that the recommendations were only in their initial stages, many faculty members questioned the proposals.

“If we’re going to reprioritize funds, we have to be cognizant of all the potential consequences it can cause; some of the federal funds may go away,” Physics Dept. Chair Mark Srednicki said. “This is saying that the university is going to change how it prioritizes use of internal funds, and I would like to object to that.”

Academic Senate Chair Joel Michaelsen, then took the floor to discuss ways to make more effective use of faculty resources to improve the undergraduate experience, including increased access to online instruction. This topic spurred debate about the advantages of face-to-face learning versus the efficiency of online instruction.

“I worry a lot about online teaching and learning being thought of as something that can replace classroom and one-on-one interaction, which is our great strength,” Srednicki said. “You can be in the same room as a world-class scholar and interact with them… I worry about [online instruction] devaluing our best product, which is face-to-face learning.”