Field of Science

College faculty compensation & rising college costs - analysis of a moron

Do college faculty work hard enough? What an intriguing question? So in a counterpoint, the Phactor asks, who is David Levy and why is he such a moron? The issue Levy wants to discuss is that “college costs have risen faster than inflation for three decades”. Without question this is true, and as educational costs rise, this becomes a real concern. Now here is where Levy jumps onto the crazy, stupid bus, and rides out of town. He tells us the cost increases are the result of “outmoded employment policies that overcompensate faculty for inefficient teaching schedules”. Well, here’s something the Phactor knows a great deal about, and that is faculty compensation over the past three decades. Now it is true the Phactor’s salary has gone up, but so has the cost of living, and as ridiculous as it seems, and when you figure cost of living that into the equation, over compensation becomes sort of a bad joke.
Now here’s why Levy is a complete moron. The Phactor is pure faculty, well-connected without question; he works with deans, VPs, and the President regularly, and he knows why the cost of college education has gone up faster than inflation, but Levy doesn’t and he was a high ranking administrator. So if he doesn’t know what the Phactor knows he’s one really dense admin, which given his conclusion – faculty are overcompensated, seems very realistic.
Let’s use my own public institution as an example. In 1978, Lincolnland subsidized 68% of the cost of higher education. Tuition covered the rest. Now over the past 34 years, the state has gradually withdrawn support, and at present the state pays for about 23% of the cost of a college education. OK, did you get that David? 68% down to 23%, so tuition had to make up the difference, and of course there were real cost of living increases to cover too. That’s part one.  Actually when you factor in the diminished support, the university is operating more efficiently now than 30 years ago, but do we get any thanks here?
Part two is unfunded mandates. In the process of cutting costs, the state decides it doesn’t want to pay for something it wants, and then it simply mandates that the university covers the cost after the state cut its support. So again tuition has to cover the difference.  You would not believe how many millions of dollars this costs.
Now David is this so hard to understand? The brilliance of this is "educational plan" is that no one ever passed a bill saying the state of Lincolnland is going to cut support for public education and pass the costs on to students and their families; they just gradually did it. Clever, but the true brilliance is that the very politicians who did this then jumped on the band wagon of dunning the universities for increasing tuition faster than inflation! Yes, they blame the university too. Is Levy just a political tool?  Some blunt implement?
So Levy is a moron because he presumes to write authoritatively about something he apparently knows nothing about. He also probably doesn’t know that faculty at our institution work about 55 hrs/week in comparison to our official 37.5 hr work week. Yes, we have an outmoded compensation system that pays no overtime.  Mrs. Phactor claims the Phactor has never taken a vacation in his whole career, and there’s Levy saying we take all these vacations, a week here, a week there, a month between semesters, and three months in the summer. This moron has never done research, let alone field research. And those breaks at Christmas and mid-semester, and the other 3 months of the year, are not vacations; it’s when we do our research, and train students to do research.
But here’s the Phactor, blogging away, for free, and there’s Levy publishing his moronic and insulting analysis in the WashPo.  It speaks poorly of the publication too.  And people wonder why we get so annoyed by people by Levy. Oh yes, we had a president who told it like it was, publicly, loudly, and it cost him his job!


Clarissa said...

This is a brilliant post! I'm a faculty member at a public university and I'm appalled at the shamelessness and disgusting lies of this Levy character.

One gets so sick and tired of seeing the work of educators get bashed by such stupid ignoramuses.

The Lorax said...

I've submitted a rebuttal to our local paper that published this BS. I touched on some of the same points and I removed all the F bombs from my first draft....I think.

Pish Posh said...

Well done. This is total bs.

And by the way, I am a professor at a public university and the cost of living has risen but not my salary - despite receiving the highest approval rating in my annual evaluations. I - as I'm sure you do - work 60-70 hours a week and I make the same amount as the local manager for the video store.

Pish Posh said...

I also teach 4-4 and have the research expectations of a 3-3. I make so little money that I have to teach during the summer, and sometimes take a second job, AND conduct my research. Last Christmas break I got 4 days off with my family and worked the rest of the time - on research, committees, advising, and curriculum planning.

I am so g-damned sick of people picking on teachers, when they don't know what the hell they're talking about.