Alamo Colleges Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Diane Snyder and Chancellor Bruce Leslie are already sounding the alarm and priming our emotional pumps for more budget cuts within the Alamo Colleges. Hiring chills, self-funded employee-related economic priorities, elimination of inefficiencies, and the further monetizing of the twin potential cash cows Continuing Education and distance learning. Everything old is new again.
But is all this really about a decrease in money from the state, or is it because so much of our state funding pays for administration?
Case in point from the New York Times on “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much:”
Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.
By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
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 big question here is:
What critical college function do administrators serve with the District?
- teach in the classroom?
- advise students?
- tutor students in math?
- assist students with research and writing skills?
- help register students for classes?
And the list goes on for all the critical college functions staff and faculty work on every single day not to mention all the extra work that has been created by District vanity initiatives such as Covey 4DX. Staff and faculty are working their hearts out until they are almost burned out. What can we do for them? Is there any relief in sight?
In his latest “PVC Summary of Actions” memo from April 2, Chancellor Bruce Leslie states that “some economics for our employees is a priority, but must be self-funded.” We couldn’t agree more! Let’s move forward on:
- hiring more full-time faculty and staff to assist in the critical college functions listed above and
- paying our staff and adjunct faculty a living wage by cutting District administration positions and salaries.
To steal another quote from Chancellor Leslie, we should “accelerate them both, clear the path, and work collectively to eliminate resistant barriers.”