Eric Risberg, Associated Press
California Gov. Jerry Brown, right, gestures while speaking out against tuition increases as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, listens during a meeting of the University of California Board of Regents Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Gov. Jerry Brown often criticizes California's public colleges and universities for what he sees as a failure to adapt to the 21st century. Now the outspoken Democrat is putting the state's money where his mouth is.

SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Jerry Brown often criticizes California's public colleges and universities for what he sees as a failure to adapt to the 21st century. Now the outspoken Democrat is putting the state's money where his mouth is.

Brown has pledged $50 million to reward campuses with creative and cost-effective approaches to getting more students to earn degrees in less time. A seven-member committee chaired by Brown's finance director is scheduled to name the winners of the California Awards for Innovation in Higher Education later this month.

Fifty-two schools are competing for the recognition. Representatives from most of the campuses will be presenting their ideas to an audience of business leaders, elected officials and members of the judging committee at a forum on Monday in Sacramento.