Category Archives: Future

NYTimes: Tuition Hikes Linked to Administrative Costs

An op-ed in the New York Times links tuition hikes to rising costs of administrative bloat.  The article begins by questioning the “official history” of tuition rate increases:

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. (Nytimes)

Campos then cites the Cal Poly Pomona study that debunks a popular myth about faculty salaries.  The study found little growth in professor’s real salaries since 1970, but tremendous increases in the numbers in administration (221%):

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous. (Nytimes)

It should be noted that Whittier is no exception to the trend in explosive growth in non-instructional costs. Between 2007 and 2013, IPEDS data show an increase from 206 to 273 full-time, non-instructional employees (a 32% increase in only 6 years).

Providing a quality liberal education requires teamwork and mission-driven decision-making that crosses instructional and non-instructional boundaries.  WCAAUP is therefore not condemning non-academic staff, but it is important to note that creating new faculty positions, even visiting ones, is often a 2-3 year process requiring extensive data and argument in favor of the position.  It is unclear whether new positions in non-academic sectors have undergone a similarly rigorous processes.

National Labor Relations Board Clarifies Faculty’s Labor Status in Private Colleges

The end of 2014 was an interesting and important moment for faculty at private colleges.  Since the Yeshiva supreme court ruling in 1980, faculty at private colleges have been considered “management.”  New rules by the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) bring significantly more clarity to what this means, and when it may apply.  Importantly, the new NLRB communication begins to clarify the difference between institutions that have effective shared governance (i.e., faculty are “managers”) and institutions that do not.  AAUP states the following:

The board explained that under the new standard, “where a party asserts that university faculty are managerial employees, we will examine the faculty’s participation in the following areas of decision making: academic programs, enrollment management, finances, academic policy, and personnel policies and decisions.” The board will give greater weight to the first three areas, as these are “areas of policy making that affect the university as whole.” The board “will then determine, in the context of the university’s decision making structure and the nature of the faculty’s employment relationship with the university, whether the faculty actually control or make effective recommendation over those areas. If they do, we will find that they are managerial employees and, therefore, excluded from the Act’s protections.”

The board emphasized that to be found managers, faculty must in fact have actual control or make effective recommendations over policy areas. This requires that “the party asserting managerial status must prove actual—rather than mere paper—authority. . . . A faculty handbook may state that the faculty has authority over or responsibility for a particular decision-making area, but it must be demonstrated that the faculty exercises such authority in fact.” Proof requires “specific evidence or testimony regarding the nature and number of faculty decisions or recommendations in a particular decision making area, and the subsequent review of those decisions or recommendations, if any, by the university administration prior to implementation, rather than mere conclusory assertions that decisions or recommendations are generally followed.” Further, the board used strong language in defining “effective” as meaning that “recommendations must almost always be followed by the administration” or “routinely become operative without independent review by the administration.” (Source: AAUP)

For more details, click here to read AAUP’s press release on this matter.

WCAAUP Publishes “Bill of Right to Know”

WCAAUP is happy to announce the “Bill of Right to Know.”  This document reflects the long-term goals of AAUP members at Whittier College and their desire to build a solid foundation of functional shared governance so that Whittier can strategically and effectively harness its full potential as an institution of higher learning.

2014 Member Survey

2014 Member Survey of Service and Contribution

member survey 2014

In April 2014, the Whittier College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors  (WCAAUP) conducted its first survey about its members and their engagement on campus and in the Whittier community.  The results show that WCAAUP’s membership is active, engaged, and has a positive outlook about Whittier College’s future.

WCAAUP members come from all levels of the professoriate.  Tenured, tenure-track and adjunct professors make up its ranks.  33% of the respondents have been at Whittier 0-7 years, 46% 8-15 years, and 21% more than 15.  About 1/3 of Whittier College faculty are members of AAUP.

WCAAUP Take an Active Role in Leadership
Service at Whittier is naturally a part of our job, but taking on the extra responsibility of chairing committees and bringing about change is largely voluntary.  The survey demonstrates the degree to which WCAAUP members contribute their time and energy, showing that our members far exceed the baseline expectations for service.  In fact, WCAAUP members are among the most generous and most active members of the campus community.  71% of WCAAUP members have chaired a committee, 67% have chaired a department, and 63% have brought policy changes to the faculty for approval.  In short, WCAAUP members not only believe in the college, they believe in making a difference.

WCAAUP Members Contribute
In addition to contributing their time and effort in exceptional ways, WCAAUP members have cumulatively donated more than 30 thousand dollars to Whittier College, and this number does not include estate planning or other planned giving in the future.   For those members that give regularly, the average yearly gift is 640 dollars.  In all, 50% of our members have given money, and 33% contribute annually.  It should also be noted that 65% of WCAAUP members report being active in the larger Whittier community.

Grants and Gifts
On top of personal donations, WCAAUP members have raised (or played significant roles in raising) money for external grants and gifts to the college.  25% of WCAAUP members report getting external funds over the last 7 years, raising a total of 1.97 million dollars in gifts and grants.  These monies go to funding salaries and the overall bottom line of the college.

WCAAUP Members Have a Positive Outlook
When asked how they feel about the future potential of the college, WCAAUP membership is overwhelmingly positive.  Though members had a somewhat critical stance about present circumstances, only 16% report a negative outlook going into the future. In fact, an overwhelming 84% of WCAAUP members believed that Whittier College is going to be as good or better in the future.  This positive outlook is probably highly correlated with WCAAUP members proven record in contributing time, effort and money to the college, and a belief in the potential to bring change.

Summary
Our first annual survey reaffirms both the description and mission of WCAAUP as an organization “dedicated to advancing the academic mission of Whittier College by supporting a sustainable model of education and shared governance.”

About the Whittier Chapter of AAUP
Re-established in September 2013, WCAAUP is a subsidiary chapter of the AAUP (the American Association of University Professors),  a professional organization established in 1915 for the purpose of protecting academic freedom, pursuing effective shared governance of colleges and universities, and advocating that colleges and universities provide adequate compensation to faculty to make the profession attractive.  These ideas and goals are spelled out in the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” which can be found in the Whittier College Faculty Handbook, Appendix 1.  Whittier College had an active AAUP chapter in the 1970s, and AAUP guidelines were instrumental in the establishment of key aspects of our faculty governance system.

Membership in the Whittier College chapter of AAUP is open Whittier College Academic Staff, Adjuncts, Librarians, Visiting Professors and Faculty.