Dire Economic Straits in PA

The economic crisis that threatens higher education funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education made news in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I was amazed to learn that the system office had been making plans and even hiring consultants, such as the the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability to help solve the problems. I was dismayed to see a quote from them:

  • “What’s happened in the last decade has been budget trimming around the edges, with the expectation that things will get better,” says Jane V. Wellman, executive director of the Washington-based project. Now that deeper cuts are required, colleges have to consider not just how to teach students less expensively, with fewer faculty members or larger classes, but also how to make sure that more students graduate on time even as institutions reduce their budgets.”

I have to ask why is the economic accountability always on the faculty and never on the administrative side? Why are the cuts always in faculty numbers, never in the number of administrators? The Chronicle ran an article earlier this year (“Pay of Senior Administrators Still Beats Inflation, Even in Sluggish Economy” which reported that :

  • “Despite the souring economy, increases in salaries for senior administrators have outpaced inflation in the 2008-9 fiscal year, according to a report issued this week by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.”


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