Time for a productivity audit of colleges and universities; and the eVersity | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 29, 2014

Time for a productivity audit of colleges and universities; and the eVersity

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

click to enlarge eversity.jpg
A reader draws my attention to this opinion column in the Wall Street Journal for its relevance to the University of Arkansas System's eVersity plan, along with other pushes for on-line education at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Arkansas Tech, UALR and just about everywhere else.

Since the 1970s, the article notes, tuition has risen more than 1,000 percent,  four times more than the consumer price index. The cost is personnel. And the rising cost in pay and benefits has been accompanied by a decline in faculty productivity, the authors, Frank Mussano and Robert Iosue, argue.

Yet the average professor spends much less time in the classroom today than two decades ago. In 2010 44% of full-time faculty reported that they spent nine or more hours a week in the classroom, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. In 1989 more than 60% said they did. The traditional 12-15 hours a week teaching load is changing into a six-to-nine-hour workweek, a significant decrease in productivity.

And then there's the explosive growth in administrators — a number increasing 50 percent faster than the number of instructors since 2001, the article says. Administrators don't come cheap by the way. Six-figure administrators are commonplace at UAF and other campuses (if not so richly rewarded as, say, a defensive line coach.)

Then there's construction. It's expensive. You need a lot of new buildings at Fayetteville, for example, for that influx of Texans.

Student debt has outstripped even the cost increases. So the costs keep rising and the resulting burdens do, too.

What to do? The authors propose a higher education audit.

A required review could focus on basic teaching workloads, space utilization and personnel costs as they relate to program revenues. Since the federal government already collects data annually on higher education, it could start asking for more information related to productivity. Colleges would be forced to reconcile sloppy and obscure bookkeeping methodologies to report statistics in a format consistent with government-defined metrics.

The point my reader makes, I think, is that on-line education — built on existing faculty (underworked some argue) — in ways that don't require new construction and which can be sold at student-friendly rates makes a lot of sense.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Central High at 60: Seize the day mayor. Stand up for LR schools.

    The conversion of a national debate on race is an apt commentary for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis and the city's effort to sell it as an occasion to laud progress. Progress would be someone talking about the elephant in the room — the white establishment's takeover of the majority black Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Mike Beebe weighs in on preserving his private option plan

    Former Gov. Mike Beebe urges Arkansans to call senators to defeat the Graham-Calssidy health bill, which he says would be devastating to the Arkansas economy and the hundreds of thousands of people helped by the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Obamacare wrecking crew has new legislative wrinkles

    Backers of the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal Obamacare are madly trying to amend the bill to win over enough Republican senators for passage. It makes it even worse, if by worse you mean reduces health coverage for Americans.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation