24 January 2011

Budget crisis

The state of North Carolina is in deep financial trouble. One way to balance the budget is to not spend money so the University system is facing some very stiff budget cuts. These are the kinds of deep cuts that will seriously effect the system's ability to actually teach students something worthwhile. In fact, one possible solution our administrators here at Appstate have come up with, right after "firing a whole bunch of instructors" is to reduce the number of courses required for a major.

You have to think about that for a minute. NOWHERE have they suggested we cut the number or pay of administrators, NOWHERE have they suggested we get rid of administrative structures that don't strictly support the function of teaching students and research.

Why would that matter? Here is a little tidbit from the local political reporter Scott Mooneyham in discussing the budget:

All involved might want to take a hard look at how a decade’s worth of similar budget flexibility has affected the 16-campus University of North Carolina system.

Just in case Gov. Perdue, Tillis and Berger have forgotten, during a five-year period of that budget flexibility, the number of university administrators grew twice as fast as the number of students.

Why wouldn’t they? The motives and incentives of the decision-makers -- the university administrators -- became too heavily weighted toward rewarding those like themselves.

Meanwhile, the state’s budget writers had literally and figuratively passed the buck. In the process, they lessened public accountability.

Save administrators! Cut back on classes! Fire instructors!

want to drive on a bridge designed by an engineer from a school that reduced the number of classes for an engineering degree?

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At 03 February, 2011 12:28, Anonymous Jack Perry said...

want to drive on a bridge designed by an engineer from a school that reduced the number of classes for an engineering degree?

Depends. If he had fewer history classes, I wouldn't think twice. If he had fewer engineering or math classes, probably not. ;-)

Don't get me wrong; I find the proposal pretty appalling myself. When our university proposed eliminating programs and departments, I asked a couple of my colleagues why we don't start with the Office of Sustainability. Surely that isn't directly related to the mission of the university.

I'm reminded of Reagan's quip, "There is no such thing as a temporary government program." Likewise, there is no such thing as a temporary administrative position.

At 06 February, 2011 21:03, Blogger Clemens said...

Actually, I'd like to see more bridge builders with some history courses.

But the advice to cut course requirements were across the board.

Well, get what you pay for I suppose. Or,

Caveat emptor.

(not sure that's appropriate, but I just like using Latin).

At 07 February, 2011 09:03, Anonymous Jack Perry said...

Caveat constructor. ;-)


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