Posts Tagged ‘academy’

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In the case of the University of Southern Maine, it is an exhibition of courage and steadfastness—and ultimately delight—on the part of both faculty and students who were able to force the administration to rescind the faculty layoffs and to reconsider the other proposed budget cuts that would have destroyed the “people’s university.”


Here’s the summary-level table of the University of Maryland’s finances, which confirms the analysis sffein offered in response to my recent post about the new military-industrial-academic complex.

The university may be broken but, as sffein explained, it’s nowhere near broke.


Good news! The campaign of protests against the unwarranted budget cuts at the University of Southern Maine has been successful:

University of Southern Maine President Theodora Kalikow has reversed the 12 faculty layoffs that prompted weeks of protests, saying she’s open to alternative plans for finding up to $14 million in cuts.

However, at least at this point, it appears the victory is still only partial and incomplete:

When asked if the faculty members might still be laid off if alternate cuts are not found, Kalikow said they would not. However, she did not reverse the decision to eliminate about 30 staff positions. . .

Still scheduled to be closed are three academic programs: the American and New England studies graduate program, geosciences, and the arts and humanities major at Lewiston-Auburn College, which is part of USM. If those programs are eliminated, seven professors will be laid off.


And, while we’re at it, more good news: UPS is going to rehire the 250 Queens drivers [ht: sm] who lost their jobs in late March for participating in a 90-minute walk-out to protest the firing of union activist and longtime employee Jairo Reyes.

“We have sent a clear message to corporate America that firing workers en masse for minor workplace disagreements is unacceptable,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, who had warned UPS that its large state contract and city perks could be jeopardized if it didn’t negotiate with the union. The drivers will, however, have to accept some lost wages: As part of the agreement, they will all serve a two-week suspension, which means giving up about $2,560 each.


As the Washington Post explains,

A problem known as “food insecurity” — a lack of nutritional food — is not typically associated with U.S. college students. But it is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college.

At the same time that higher education is seen as key to financial security, tuition and living expenses are rising astronomically, making it all the more tempting for students to cut corners on food.

“Between paying rent, paying utilities and then trying to buy food, that’s where we see the most insecurity because that’s the most flexible,” said Monica Gray, director of programs at the College Success Foundation-District of Columbia, which helps low-income high school students go to college.

As campuses look for solutions, the number of university food pantries has shot up, from four in 2008 to 121 today, according to the Michigan State University Student Food Bank, which has advised other campuses on starting them. Trinity Washington University in the District opened one in September, and the University of Maryland at College Park is looking into opening one.


Apparently, even star “student-athletes”—such as the University of Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier—are going hungry.

Napier recently called the Northwestern union ruling “kind of great” and said that although he appreciates his basketball scholarship, it doesn’t cover all of his expenses.

“I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” he said.

Asked whether he felt like an employee — a key distinction cited in the labor board’s Northwestern ruling — the Huskies point guard responded, “I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities. … When you see your jersey getting sold — it may not have your last name on it — but when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return.”


President Eisenhower originally included “academic” in the draft of his landmark speech on the military-industrial-complex. He worried that “the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery” would be corrupted by “Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.”

What Eisenhower didn’t seem to have imagined was the role of private corporations—both military and nonmilitary—in designing the curricula of the “free university.”

As the Wall Street Journal explains,

The University of Maryland has had to tighten its belt, cutting seven varsity sports teams and forcing faculty and staff to take furlough days. But in a corner of the campus, construction workers are building a dormitory specifically designed for a new academic program.

Many of the students who live there will be enrolled in a cybersecurity concentration funded in part by Northrop Grumman Corp. The defense contractor is helping to design the curriculum, providing the computers and paying part of the cost of the new dorm.

Such partnerships are springing up from the dust of the recession, as state universities seek new revenue and companies try to close a yawning skills gap in fast-changing industries. . .

After a launch in late 2012 and further development last year, IBM invested millions of dollars in a data-analytics center in Columbus, Ohio, based in part on a partnership with Ohio State. In exchange for direct access to students and curricula, the company sends employees to the school campus, provides software, and hires more than a dozen students for internships.

Jim Spohrer, director of IBM Global University Programs, sees such ties growing. “For the partnerships to grow in sophistication,” he said, “both universities and industry are going to have to change.”


As if on cue, after publishing a post this morning on the outsized increases to university administrator’s salaries, we received a forwarded copy of the message above (with the names blocked out to protect the innocent—and the guilty). The email message was mistakenly sent to a colleague who had sent an inquiry about the university’s unilateral decision to end the retirement savings program with TIAA-Cref and move all funds over to another company.

What was it the AAUP concluded? That “disproportionate salary increases at the top. . .reflect the abandonment of centuries-old models of shared campus governance, which have increasingly been replaced by more corporate managerial approaches that emphasize the ‘bottom line’.”

Apparently, any questioning of the administrators of the new corporate university appears to make someone “tough,” “unreasonable,” “anti-business,” “difficult,” and/or “dangerous”. . .


As March Madness comes to a close,* let’s turn to the same AAUP report to look at spending priorities in today’s university.

As we have documented in recent editions of this report, full-time faculty salaries have generally been stagnant for the last several years. We examined above how changes in faculty pay have compared to salary increases for senior administrators. Here we compare changes in median compensation for full professors to those for head coaches of men’s athletic teams in Division I, in a sampling of both “revenue-generating” and non-revenue-generating sports. The period covered spans 2005–06 to 2011–12, which includes the recession during which many faculty members were told that budgets were tight and raises were unavailable.

As figure 5 illustrates, by far the largest increases in compensation during this time period went to coaches—and not only in “major” sports. The median D1-A men’s basketball coach saw his pay increase by more than 100 percent, after inflation. D1-A football coaches scored slightly less, with a median compensation increase of 93 percent. But even coaches in so-called “minor sports” such as cross country, track, golf, soccer, and tennis racked up increases in their compensation packages that far exceeded those earned by full professors across all four institutional types. The lowest-scoring coaches, in cross country and track at D1-AA universities, saw their real compensation increase by 9 percent over these six years, which is more than double the 4 percent increase earned by the median full professors at doctoral universities. In contrast to the coaches, full professors at associate’s degree colleges actually experienced a loss in their compensation of 5 percent between 2005–06 and 2011–12.

Remember, also, that very few schools have athletic programs generate enough revenues to finance themselves as well as other sports.

The NCAA collects annual data on revenues and expenses of athletics programs from its member institutions.In the reports for 2012, of the more than one thousand college and university members of the NCAA, only twenty-three institutions reported that their athletic programs ran a surplus, with revenues greater than expenses. Those twenty-three institutions were all in D1-A. The NCAA includes the following revenue sources in its reporting: payments for the rights to broadcast games through television, radio, or the Internet; contributions from individual and corporate donors; program and novelty sales; parking; sponsorships; ticket sales; sports-camp revenues; endowment and investment income; NCAA conference distributions; and direct institutional support. Even when all these sources of revenue are included, the NCAA reports that the median institutional subsidy in 2012 accounted for 27.5 percent of the athletics program budget in D1-A, 73.0 percent in D1-AA, and 81.7 percent in D1-AAA.


*A period that has been a real problem for someone like me, who teaches at, was raised in the same state as, or has good friends who work at the four schools in the women’s and men’s Finals. That’s a lot of hoops to watch!


According to the American Association of University Professors, in Losing Focus, its latest annual report on the economic status of the profession,

Figure 2 compares thirty-five years of data on administrative salaries from the CUPA-HR Administrators in Higher Education Salary Survey cited above with faculty salary data collected by the AAUP. It would have been preferable to disaggregate the analysis into more specific institutional categories, but that level of data on administrative salaries was not available. In the data from public institutions, the increases in median salary paid to four senior administrative positions were at least 39 percent after controlling for inflation, with the increase in presidential (“chief executive officer” in the parlance of the report) salary much greater at 75 percent. By contrast, and probably not surprising to regular readers of this report, the cumulative increases in mean salary for full-time faculty members were mostly less than half as great. The same pattern held in the private-independent sector, although the rates of increase for all positions there were larger. Median presidential salary jumped 171 percent above the rate of inflation, and the other three administrative salaries increased at least 97 percent, while the uptick in mean salaries for full-time faculty members reached only 50 percent or less. . .

As the longer-term analysis in figure 2 also shows, salaries for presidents in recent years have generally increased more rapidly than those of other administrators, reflecting greater concentration of authority in a single “CEO.”. . .But across all institutional categories, the average increases in administrative salaries are greater—in most cases, much greater—than those for full-time faculty members. The contrast is especially sharp at the private master’s degree universities, with senior administrators receiving double-digit increases while average faculty salaries stagnate or decline. . .

Some commentators have argued that the outsized and rapidly rising salaries paid to many presidents, especially, have only a trivial impact on institutional budgets that may amount to hundreds of millions (or even billions) of dollars annually. While that may be true from an accounting standpoint, the salaries paid to senior administrators are highly symbolic. As we have argued previously, they serve as a concrete indication of the priorities accorded to the various components of the institution by its governing board and campus leadership. Disproportionate salary increases at the top also reflect the abandonment of centuries-old models of shared campus governance, which have increasingly been replaced by more corporate managerial approaches that emphasize the “bottom line.”



No, I’m not referring to the ignominious fall of the once-mighty Red Devils.*

Instead, it’s the news that the University of Manchester [ht: adm] has decided to cancel the year-old Bubbles, Panics and Crashes module, which had been developed to answer student protests at the dominance of orthodox free-market teaching.

Students said the U-turn undermined the credibility of senior staff who promised reforms and meant the department was actively obstructing debate over the causes of the financial crash and why economists failed to see it coming. . .

The row broke out last year when students claimed that mainstream economic teaching failed to address the underlying causes of the banking crash, and was in part responsible for politicians and financial watchdogs relying on free-market theories and light-touch regulation.

Undergraduates in Manchester formed the Post-Crash Economics Society and joined groups at the London School of Economics, Cambridge University and University College London to rebel against what they saw as the dominance of discredited theories that rely on mathematical formulas and not real-world examples.

In response, several university departments agreed to implement a new curriculum that would incorporate a wider range of viewpoints, including Keynesian economic thinking. Sponsored by the Institute for New Economic thinking, based in New York, the Curriculum in Open-source Resources in Economics project was set up to develop “a new approach to economics teaching for undergraduates”.

Manchester University’s economics department, which faced the brunt of student criticism, went further when it agreed to run the Bubbles, Panics and Crashes course. The decision to close it down after only one year has dismayed students.


*Manchester United Football Club are now seventh in the table, 17 points off the top, less than one year after winning the Premiership by 11 points.


Special mention

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