Category Archives: Liberal Arts

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.

Sign the AAUP Centennial Declaration

http://www.aaupdeclaration.org/sign-it/

Read it. Sign it. Share your experience. We’ll use your signature and your comments to show trustees, administrations, and lawmakers nationwide that we demand better colleges and universities.

http://www.aaupdeclaration.org/sign-it/

 

The Declaration:

Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.

-1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

  1. The university is a public good, not a private profit-making institution, and corporations or business interests should not dictate teaching or research agendas.
  2. The life of a university should reflect all dimensions of human endeavor and be built on the full and open participation of diverse faculty and students.
  3. The main aims of teaching are the dissemination of knowledge and the fostering of creativity; learning is not just about developing “job skills.”
  4. The main aim of research is to create new knowledge, and academic freedom is essential for the free search for truth and its free expression. Research is not just about enhancing the profit margins of corporations.
  5. After teaching and research, the third mission of universities is about engaging communities and addressing social disadvantage, and not just about “enterprise engagement” or “economic development.”
  6. All who work at universities are entitled to a dignified and collegial workplace free of surveillance and authoritarian dictates and to resist the degradation of their working conditions.
  7. Students are the next generation of enlightened and humane citizens, not just revenue streams or the bearers of collateral for unsustainable debt loads.
  8. Information and communications technologies are welcome tools for teaching and research but should not be used to impoverish the quality of education or reduce faculty-student contact time.
  9. University management should resist public education cutbacks and reverse the multiplying of senior management posts, many of which are unnecessary.
  10. Faculty shared governance is the cornerstone of any university that values teaching and research. The authority of faculty in hiring decisions, promotions, and curricular matters should not be compromised by donors, trustees, or administrators. Similarly, the faculty voice in budgeting, institutional planning, and other internal operations should not be marginalized.

Chronicle: Colleges Could Narrow the Income Gap

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a new op-ed out on lowering income inequality while providing a framework for pay equity on campuses:

At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a public honors college, a group of faculty and staff members, students, and alumni have put together a proposal that would permanently cap the growing ratio between the top and bottom earners on the campus. The St. Mary’s Wages plan would establish a benchmark minimum salary for the lowest-paid full-time employees that would rise with inflation. Tenure-track faculty members would make at least twice that benchmark. Different groups of workers (for example, associate professors, professional-staff members) would be guaranteed wages above specified fixed multiples of the lowest salary.

On the other end of the salary scale, no professor would be allowed to make more than four times the benchmark. Vice presidents would be capped at a factor of seven times, and the president’s total compensation package would never exceed 10 times the lowest worker’s pay.

Click on the link above to read the whole article.

Howard Bunsis in the News

For those of you following the impact of Howard Bunsis’ visit to Whittier’s Campus last May, here is a link to a Chronicle article about the varied responses to his work on other campuses:

 

Chronicle of Higher Education: “In a Fight for More Funds, Professors Quantify…” (behind firewall)

Money Matters at Whittier

Money Matters at Whittier College
Understanding Whittier College’s Finances

May 15th, 2014
Club 88
9 – 10:30 am

Presented by Dr. Howard Bunsis
Chair, AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress

Sponsored by WCAAUP \& AAUP

Howard Bunsis received his Ph.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, his J.D. from Fordham, and his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bunsis is also an acclaimed teacher and accomplished scholar.   Using 990s, IPEDS, bond rating agencies, and other available documents,Professor Bunsis will provide a detailed analysis of Whittier College’s financial resources and operations in order to help. Whittier Employees (faculty, staff, and administration) and Trustees understand the college’s budget in the context of higher education.

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.

AAC&U Documents Liberal Arts Success

A new AAC&U report by Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly provides ample evidence of the role and value of a liberal arts education.  Here is a quote from the forward:

In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths, Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly address the concerns about whether college is still worth it and whether “liberal arts” majors provide a solid foundation for long-term employment and career success. Responding directly to the recent assaults on the humanities and social sciences, this report compares earnings trajectories and career pathways for liberal arts majors with the earnings trajectories and career pathways for those majoring in science and mathematics, engineering, and professional or preprofessional fields such as business or education. Readers who value the liberal arts will, we believe, find the results reassuring.

There is a much larger case—beyond the purely vocational or economic case—to be made for study in the humanities and social sciences, of course. These fields build the capacity to understand our collective histories, ideals, aspirations, and social systems. They are indispensable to the vitality of our democracy and to the future of global understanding, engagement, and community.

A number of interesting key findings point to the short-term and long-term economic viability of the liberal arts degree:

Liberal Arts Majors Close Earnings Gaps—Earn More than Professional Majors at Peak Earnings Ages

  • At peak earnings ages (56-60 years) workers who majored as undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences earn annually on average about $2000 more than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional fields. These data include all college graduates working full-time, including those with only a baccalaureate degree and those with both a baccalaureate and graduate or professional degree.

Unemployment Rates are Low for Liberal Arts Graduates—and Decline over Time

  • The unemployment rate for recent liberal arts graduates is 5.2 percent. The unemployment rate for mature workers with liberal arts degrees (41-50) is 3.5 percent—just .04 percent higher than the rates for those with a professional or preprofessional degree.