Comments on: Excellence without Money! Redux History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Wed, 24 Sep 2014 01:35:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Mamie Sun, 21 Jun 2009 05:18:49 +0000 ADM: Goodness, y’all need a union.

Historiann: I forgot. You have TABOR in Colorado. We defeated a TABOR drive in my ridiculously conservative state a couple years back (to my amazement, given that we have an abundance of greedy-for-a-free-ride voters). We always live on the cheap here, so surprisingly, the news hasn’t been as bad as it could be.

Travel money from the dean is limited to untenured faculty members. (This happens pretty often.) I feel twitchy about our budget for adjuncts, but enrollments are way up (we’re Small Urban State U., so there’s a population of locals who seem to be staying home to go to college). If enrollments are up, we’ll probably get the funding to hire the adjuncts we need. We have a hiring freeze on for TT jobs in our college (which does not seem to apply to the boutique colleges with low enrollments and fancy-a$$ programs).

By: Janice Sat, 20 Jun 2009 12:24:31 +0000 Let me be clear that I wasn’t saying don’t make a fuss about the furloughs and cuts and so forth. We were fortunate during the “Rae Days” that, alongside the much-maligned professor and public service employees, the public healthcare sector in Ontario was also affected.

When hospitals shut their emergency rooms one day a month or doctors closed their offices one day a month, people noticed and sympathized (or at least felt the pain enough, themselves, that they turned against the government pretty decisively).

But by ourselves we got no sympathy. And amongst ourselves? We got no support for our furlough day schedules.

Cassandra? Thanks for the link to IHE atrocity, er, article. His understanding and experience of a university is nothing like mine, thank all the powers that be. And I’d hate to live in a world where M.A. were teaching all the survey courses in formats designed by textbook publishers with occasional comments on the whole system offered by the rare “curricular content” Ph.D. prof. That’s turning universities into an extension of the public schools and not in a good way!

By: truffula Sat, 20 Jun 2009 02:34:04 +0000 We’re in bad shape at my Uni, well, perhaps “worse shape than usual” would be more correct. The budget must be cut 22%. Initially, the state told us to develop a 30% reduction plan but that was not in legal accord with the federal stimulus package. As I understand it, changes imposed by the state to make this up include a 13% increase in undergrad tuition and slightly less for graduate tuition (this seems insane in a recession but what do I know?), a 4.6% salary reduction, 3% from services & supplies, in addition to other cuts like campus closures during holidays and no course releases.

They’ve already been turning off the ventilation during down times, I know because I work in my dank little office during down times. I can’t imagine our restrooms receiving less service than they do already but I suppose they will.

Months ago a special committee was convened to evaluate which academic programs might be eliminated with the hope that those left standing “might become stronger.” I don’t know where that has gone but it scares me.

Neither the state nor the university can mandate salary cuts without declaring exigency so how that 4.6% salary reduction is achieved is apparently bargainable, making me happier than ever to be unionized. Our last contract negotiation was terrible though, it spiraled into a long, unpleasant mediation. Our union is pushing for FTE reductions over furloughs of course. While the President of the Uni says that furloughs don’t work particularly well he has also said that there is no practical difference financially between the two (which just isn’t true).

Our classified employees (SEIU) are in worse shape than faculty, facing both furloughs and layoffs. It’s not clear that even for them, furlough means “less work” (it certainly would not mean that for faculty). There is something of an explanation of furloughs and labor law here.

I don’t know details but it sounds as if departments are reducing TA support to the bare minimum.

Times are grim but at least our administration appears to be treating the budget process in a transparent manner.

By: Sisyphus Fri, 19 Jun 2009 21:36:17 +0000 Susan’s story sounds like the emails about the UC I keep getting — the last ones said they were calling for a 9% pay cut across all faculty and staff, with still holding the option of furloughs on top of that. My campus has slashed course offerings and ballooned class sizes for next year. And the state just hiked fees 9% for undergrads (more for grad students) while continuing that sh!t about no longer honoring the CA Master Plan and turning away some of the people who are qualified for admission.

Thing is, like Historiann says, UC has been mostly privatized for a long time now — I believe we are at 22% of our operating budget is covered by fed and state stuff and another 11 by fees! I would tell the legislature and the UC Regents to f. off and that they get no say in our governance if they put in so little money, but I’m freaked out at extending that logic out further and allowing all the UC decisions to be made by Montsano, Raytheon and Microsoft. Bleah!

By: Cassandra Fri, 19 Jun 2009 21:00:49 +0000 Has everyone read this nonsense over at InsideHigherEd?

“Less Research, More Economies of Scale”

By: Eduardo Fri, 19 Jun 2009 20:53:10 +0000 One upside of living on a low-tax/anti-tax state is that they don’t spend as much even in the fat times. So that when the crashes come, like right now, we generally don’t have to cut as much. How’s that for glass-half-full?

Here at our directional state uni, the whole system went on a pay freeze (does that research and publishing I completed and didn’t get a raise for count next year???) and we’ve been told to cut 2% across the board, about $50k for every college.

By: Susan Fri, 19 Jun 2009 19:39:04 +0000 Well, I’m in a system contemplating 8% cuts in salary costs, either through straight pay cuts or furloughs, or some combination. The state is in a mess, so no one thinks people are crying wolf. I mean, it’s worse than Colorado, Historiann! I’ve been through this before at my previous employer, who did pay cuts that varied by salary – 10%, 8%, 6%, 4% depending on your salary. We never got our benefits back.

My own instinct is to try to protect the students as much as possible, because they have a 9% fee increase while we get an 8% pay cut. The state will be cutting it’s support for the university by 20% over 2 years… not gradual at all. And we’ll have 500 additional students without many new faculty.

This whole issue of “you get what you pay for” is true. But I can’t take it out on our students, who don’t know to take us for granted.

I always thought the difference between adjunct pay and full time pay was service, not research; but since my previous job was explicitly an 11 month year, I’m used to not taking time off. I’m now paid 9 months over twelve, and it just strikes me as weird. The one thing it does is make it possible to teach summer school for additional pay.

By: Flavia Fri, 19 Jun 2009 19:13:47 +0000 Here’s the report from the SUNY system (which I just happen to know something about, though I can neither confirm nor deny that I work within it):

Faculty are unionized, and annual raises, health coverage, etc., are contractual. When the economy tanked, Gov. Patterson insisted he needed to break those contracts, and was also going to institute a one- or two-week “pay deferral” over the summer (employees would lose those weeks’ pay in the short term, but would have them paid out whenever they left the state employment system). Word on the street is that NYS governors have succeeded in doing this before, even though it’s illegal — but the legislature balked, and the stimulus package sent enough $$ into the system that Patterson dropped the issue.

So as far as I know, scheduled raises are happening. Last year’s searches went ahead as scheduled and travel funding has remained the same, at least at the campuses I know the most about. My impression is that things are okay for faculty across the SUNY system, at least for the next year or so, and I haven’t heard of any staff firings (though many open staff positions are being cut or at least frozen). The overall health of the system is definitely not good, but it’s not nearly as dire as it is in other places.

The most outrageous thing Gov. Patterson has succeeded in doing to “address” this issue is increase tuition. . . but he’s routing 80% of that increase into New York’s general fund, NOT into the SUNY system. So, stick it to the students (and their parents), but not in a way that improves their education. Awesome.

By: kw Fri, 19 Jun 2009 18:39:36 +0000

Did anyone else read this piece in the NYT earlier this week?
I did, and thought “but we do this all the time in academia.”
Our contracts bear little relationship to when, how, and how much
work we actually do. And it’s always more than anyone outside
the tower knows or wants to acknowledge. I’m not sure this
is different from other kinds of work or industry in type, but
it may be in scale. I agree with quix., but I think the people
working in the jobs the Times profiles feel at least a little
the same.

Here at my lil’ southern college, Historiann, we banded together
with Much Bigger and Richer Southern University and a few others
around the state and tried to secede (it’s a tradition). Our state
contribution was hovering around 10%, in exchange for limiting
tuition, and regulating our fund-raising and in/ out of state student
ratio. What a bargain. The agreement now is we get less, and
the state meddles (a little) less.

By: Z Fri, 19 Jun 2009 18:17:37 +0000 I’m with tom and quixote and others who make similar points.

Me, I’ve got a dr crazy like situation, so much was cut before that we’re not in as bad shape as we could be / it is less of a shock now.