Saturday, February 8, 2014

A post full of short-tailed, medium sized wild cats

I know some of you don’t like links to articles.  I hear ya.  Couldn’t agree more, wasting your precious, valuable time.  You trust me to run this page and I would never violate that trust with something so mundane as links. 

Anyway, new feature:

If You Don’t Like Links Then Send Me Something Good to Post (IYDLLTSMSGTP is a handy abbreviation.  It’s spelled just like it’s, um, spelled.)

I find some links, write something witty then you read them.  With your help, I guarantee that we’ll accomplish at least two out of three.  I hardly read any of these articles.  I just found their headlines interesting.  I'll list them while you write something really good for the blog, 'kay?

Here we go:

University Accused of Plagiarizing Sexual Misconduct Policy
You must be 17 or older to view this Turn It In similarity report.

Key Issues for Business Schools
Ha ha!  Somebody got locked out of their office.

UCLA Revises Travel Rules After Investigation
An investigation conducted this winter in Aruba.

Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says
I can think of 28% of my school’s administration that should go boom.

President Obama Pushes More Economic Diversity In Higher Ed
We’ve got football coaches and adjuncts.  How much economic diversity do you want?


  1. The one on the growth of administration is definitely interesting (as is the comment stream; I didn't read all of it, but I'm seeing a lot of administrative/student services types defending the usefulness of their positions, which makes me think they're feeling a bit embattled, which, I will admit, doesn't entirely make me unhappy, even as I recognize that many of them are doing good work).

    Some bits that stood out for me:

    "You can’t blame faculty salaries for the rise in tuition. Faculty salaries were "essentially flat" from 2000 to 2012, the report says. And "we didn't see the savings that we would have expected from the shift to part-time faculty," said Donna M. Desrochers, an author of the report.

    The rise in tuition was probably driven more by the cost of benefits, the addition of nonfaculty positions, and, of course, declines in state support."


    "Other industries have found ways to outsource services that are not central to what they do, but higher education has invested more and more—as part of a strategy, he contended. Just as a cable company bundles channels together and makes you pay for them all, whether or not you watch them, colleges have bundled counseling, athletics, campus activities, and other services with the instructional side to justify charging more.

    'All of those things they are bundling are adding to the price of attendance,' he said."

    A good many (though by no means all) of my students would be delighted to unbundle, I'm pretty sure, because they're simply too busy to take advantage of much of what they're paying for (for instance, I suspect many off-campus students would happily give up access to gyms, all-you-can-eat dining halls, and some other luxury amenities, though the university might be able to recoup some of the lost revenue by expanding access to conveniently-located reserved parking).

    The bottom line, as I see it, is that administrators have wrung every bit of "savings" they can out of the instructional budget (apparently past the point, as the article points out, where they're actually saving money, perhaps because the high percentage of precarious faculty is producing other, unacknowledged, costs, in terms of time needed to administer and support that work force, and support students trying to learn from overextended faculty). They now have to look somewhere else, and, since students and parents are unwilling to pay any more tuition, and legislatures are unwilling to restore higher ed subsidies to historical levels, they're going to have to look closer to home. This could get interesting, though I fear the cuts will come in all the wrong places (what do you bet they go after the library staff rather than, say, athletics?).