The Great Reset, higher education edition

by on April 25, 2014 at 10:28 am in Economics, Education, History | Permalink

From my university president, @CabreraAngel:

35 years ago there were 44% more tenured faculty than adjuncts. Today there are 76% more adjuncts than tenured faculty

1 Just Another MR Commentor April 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

We’re headed in the right direction, ablit slowly. Hopefully tenure outside of Economics departments (we still need to protect economists from leftwing retribution so they can freely issue intelligent policy proposals) is eliminated soon.

2 Michael April 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

I believe the best way to optimize the efficiency of our universities is to pursue automated teaching of classes and to increase immigration. Also, if we could get economists (only the right kind, of course) to teach all other courses, that’d be super. I can’t wait to comb through Libertarian readings of Hamlet–or should we replace the English literary canon with Atlas Shrugged?

3 Art Deco April 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Game. Set. Match.

4 mulp April 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Yeah, soon students will be required to pay royalties on the use of knowledge they learned because the knowledge capital is valuable property that needs to be owned and rented to workers. No more of the leftist knowledge is a free common to be shared with all.

5 prior_approval April 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

‘For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.

And there wasn’t much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime.

Of course, Lissa did not necessarily intend to read his books. She might want the computer only to write her midterm. But Dan knew she came from a middle-class family and could hardly afford the tuition, let alone her reading fees. Reading his books might be the only way she could graduate. He understood this situation; he himself had had to borrow to pay for all the research papers he read. (Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers; since Dan aimed for an academic career, he could hope that his own research papers, if frequently referenced, would bring in enough to repay this loan.)’ http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

6 David Wright April 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Now it all makes sense. Richard Stallman is a writer of bad dystopian fiction.

7 Axa April 25, 2014 at 10:52 am

Funny issue, some bachelor courses end up being taught by PhD students when the tenured and adjunct faculty are too busy developing their careers.

8 Andrew' April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

That is called being granted the privilege and opportunity of gaining teaching experience.

9 anon April 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

Wasn’t it Herbert Stein who said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” ?

10 mulp April 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

So, this is the reason State college and university costs have fallen from a few hundred a term to near free….

11 awp April 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm

No, that happened because of the increased efficiency caused by the increase in administrative resources.

12 Art Deco April 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

We could issue hunting licenses and cull professors like we do deer. Additional permits to waste the administrators would be bucco nice.

13 Rahul April 27, 2014 at 8:48 am

Administrators come first. 🙂

14 Peter Sperry April 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

What are the ratios for:

Research (> 75% of time) to teaching (>75% of time) faculty

Teaching + research faculty to administrators

Also, how many of the adjuncts and non tenured faculty have opportunities to interact and learn from senior research faculty?

15 LonelyLibertarian April 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

So who will start and do the study on inequality in Academia…

Tenured full professors – and senior administrators – making well over six figures…

Lowly adjuncts struggling to cobble together $30-40K a year…

And tuition increases keep transferring wealth from the makers to the liberal elites

16 Dale April 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Are you suggesting that r > g in academia?

17 Maciste April 26, 2014 at 8:21 am

I think average may be over, I should write a book about it. Wait, Tyler already did!

18 Todd Kreider April 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

And another prediction that was easy to see as we go Up the Curve:

1996 — the internet will end tenure by 2016

bye-bye tenure!

19 liberalarts April 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

For the most part, tenure is not the cost driver for colleges and universities that it is portrayed in the media. Tenure, like any non-salary benefit, is a level of job security that allows people to accept a job -and a career- for less than they would be willing to in the absence of it. Sure in the short run, ending tenure could allow colleges to dump older faculty and hire in cheaper, young faculty members and/or increased adjuncts. But over time, (1) will future bright students be willing to go to grad school for 6 years to get a Ph.D. if they can expect a $60k starting pay and then get shown the door 10 years later to make way for a new such person? And (2) how much lower can the percentage of full-time faculty fall at many colleges and universities? Again, we can avoid further growth of adjunct faculty by moving to more automated mechanisms, but I am not sure whether more online, large scale options means that we will need fewer full time faculty to manage departments, etc.

20 brad April 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm

What the ratio of professors to deanlets and deanlings?

21 James April 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

I came to my 4/4 institution over twenty years ago. When I started, it was not uncommon to teach four courses and have around 160 student per semester. Twenty years later I average three courses a semester and 90-100 students per semester, and get paid three times as much as I did twenty years ago. My guess is that my experience is not that atypical.

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