Monday, October 20, 2008

By the Numbers

Some numbers rolled across my desk today, and though I'm not deeply in touch with my inner bean counter, I found them interesting.

In ten years of fairly deep and serious budget cutting, NWU has reduced it's TT faculty by 16%. (Through retirement and not replacing those lines, primarily.)

In those same ten years of budget cuts, NWU has increased it's non-teaching administrative staff by 17%.

We've increased adjuncts by 18% in one category, and 34% in another. (The total growth in adjuncts just about equals, in numbers, the decrease in TT faculty.)

Our enrollment has remained pretty stable over that time.

I know, logically, that in a market where we're competing for students, especially for well-prepared students, we have to offer a lot of services--new dorms, alcohol training, an office for parents, and so forth. But a 17% growth in ten years is pretty noteworthy; I wish my investment portfolio were doing as well.

Yet even though I know that, I get a sense that we've lost focus on the educational mission, most of which does happen in classes and through contact with faculty members. Despite all the language to the contrary, students don't pay tuition so they can get alcohol training and whatnot; they pay tuition so they can go to classes.

Despair. Or, to bring this back to where I started

... all is confounded, all!
Reproach and everlasting shame
Sits mocking in our plumes.
Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but shame!

(Bonus points for identifying the source!)

ps. The numbers from which I've run percentages are a matter of public record, and publicly available in my state.


  1. The quote, methinks, is from Henry V. Do I get extra credit?

  2. That whole alcohol training and parent office thing is giving me an anger stroke. Since when are either of those things the domain of universities? Are we turning our universities into the public schools, where nothing is taught but all kinds of social problems are supposed to be handled (badly)?

  3. Something that might be a side note: I get told, over and over, that administration is where the money is, in the academic world. Do these jobs pay more than the academic positions? That is, does the alcohol training position and the parent office pay more than the beginning TT line in Spanish? (I know it pays more than the adjunct position.)

  4. Well done, Dr. Rural! You earn a huge lump of extra credit!

    MSILF, It's nothing new, the idea of universities and colleges acting parentally. It's just especially irritating now.

    Delagar, Of course; a person with a BA who gets into alcohol training quickly out-earns a phud in the humanities. (Sucks to be me!) And then they can go on to graduate work in academic management... growth field, these days!