Pressures on Faculty
In recent years, administrators have sent mixed
messages to faculty regarding the importance of teaching.
Administrative pressure on teachers for research, professional
accomplishment, and national or international recognition
as criteria for merit pay, retention, promotion or tenure
clearly relegate teaching to a lesser status. It has reduced
teachers participation in the classroom or studio and
decreased the time spent with students outside of class. In
view of the traditional university mission, administrative
criteria might well represent a misplaced emphasis. Qualitative
criteria for the effectiveness of educational programs should
be of greater importance than quantitative criteria for individual
teachers. This is not the first time that publish or perish
has been overstated in education. It was not particularly
successful during the 1930s, and currently it is doing more
harm than good in terms of educational benefits for students.
of the more respected educational institutions are recognizing
this and are shifting emphasis back to teaching, or at least
they are striking a better balance between teaching and research
criteria. President Donald Kennedy of Stanford University
was recently quoted as saying that it was time to reaffirm
that education, that is, teaching in all its forms is the
primary task of colleges and universities.
development of faculty and research should be encouraged,
supported and required by the institution. However, the educational
mission should have first priority.
has been moving away from merit based on individual performance
as it has been found to be divisive and often counterproductive.
The new emphasis is on team merit which has proved to be more
effective at achieving desired results. Merit pay based on
department or program evaluations would be more equitable
and have the added advantage of bringing peer pressure to
bear on working together, developing common goals, and overall
productivity. This should not affect the diversity of teaching
or viewpoint within programs. If criteria are defined to include
educational concerns such as student performance, accomplishment,
and curriculum enrichment, it could do much to improve the
quality of instruction.
of teaching effectiveness should not be based solely on student
evaluations. Administrative reliance on student evaluations
is yet another example of administrators relying on statistical
evidence in determining value. Students are prone to communicate
their likes and dislikes; they often do not have the overall
perspective to properly evaluate the quality of instruction.
It might be several years after graduation before students
can properly judge the value of instruction they received
from a particular teacher.
on student evaluation of teachers is corruptive to instructors
who may be susceptible to pressure. By connecting student
evaluation scores with merit pay, retention, promotion and
tenure, institutions exert pressure on faculty which can adversely
affect grading, performance and discipline as teachers concentrate
on obtaining higher student evaluation scores. Student evaluation
of teachers is useful and should not be eliminated. However,
the weight put on student scores by administrators is too
heavy. A more accurate means for assessing teaching effectiveness
is a combination of, administrative, peer and student evaluations,
examining the level of work done in class as a whole, and
tracking the success of graduates.
it should be pointed out that restoring teaching to a first
priority is insufficient in itself to significantly raise
the level of educational effectiveness. There are numerous
other factors which must be addressed such as educational
standards, admissions, resources, faculty qualifications,
institutional focus and administrative policies, practices
and Instructional Budgets
A previously mentioned report by The American Association
of University Professors at the University of Arizona notes
that the annual budget allocation for instructional purposes
dropped from 29 to 25 percent. During the same period, administrative
budgets increased from 4 to 6 percent. It is likely that these
percentages also reflect what is happening at other state
universities. In hiring administrators there are often financial
considerations above those bearing upon hiring of faculty.
Administrative pay-scales are much higher. A recent Associated
Press article in a regional paper, reported the findings of
a Michigan legislative committee. Lawmakers say they were
taken aback by how much Michigans public colleges (universities)
are paying their administrators, and they hope the schools
learn more about fiscal responsibility...We were somewhat
appalled at the results of the inquiry, said Rep. Morris
Hood, Detroit, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee
on Higher Education. He noted that salaries for the leading
20 non-faculty officials at Michigan's "big three"
universities, The University of Michigan, Michigan State University
and Wayne State University, added up to $9.1 million, an average
of $166,000 for each of the sixty people. Proportionately
higher pay-scales for administrators than faculty hold true
at middle and lower levels as well. These are mostly university
operational positions and do not include academic support
important subdivision of administration is academic support
services which include libraries, advising, financial aid,
registrar, student records and similar support functions related
to students and educational programs. My perception is that
educational services are frequently understaffed with relatively
low salaried employees. Administrative excesses are believed
to be centered in university operations which include a large
number of auxiliary organizations.
appointments usually involve added costs for support staff,
operating budgets and space; they create another level of
responsibility and decision-making. In all fairness, many
administrative offices have resulted from new state and federal
regulatory requirements. Yet, most state universities are
still top-heavy with operational managers earning high salaries.
today suggest that administrative costs are eating into instructional
budgets, rather than coming from new resources or other university
operational budgets. The 60 percent increase in middle management
between 1975 and 1985 mentioned in the Pew report is staggering.
How these percentages were established and what institutions
were studied is not known, but it probably points to trends
at most state supported universities.
though budgets generally have increased each year, it is evident
by the growth of administration and increase in auxiliary
programs and activities, that most universities since the
1970s have proportionately reduced the percentage of funds
allocated for instructional purposes. In addition to teacher
salaries, there are educational factors such as equipment,
curricula enrichment, and program operating budgets. The principal
exceptions to reduction of instructional resources are programs
with potential for generating substantial research grant income.
of department or program operating budgets most directly impacts
on students' education. These monies are used for faculty
development and educational projects, materials, equipment,
speakers or other studio or classroom requirements. When there
is a decrease in university funding or budgets are frozen,
it is program budgets that proportionately suffer the greatest
curtailment. Program operating budgets deserve more attention,
and should receive a higher priority.
need to know about college and department budgets and have
more input into how funds are allocated within their areas.
Far too often, Deans and Department Heads allocate minimal
operating budgets to programs, and retain large discretionary
funds. In the worst situations, they use the discretionary
money to support pet projects, reward cronies or buy loyalty
to their position through allocating funds to key faculty
examination of the balance between university operation and
educational goals is in order. Shifting of funds back into
instructional budgets is mandatory if educational quality
is to improve. Of particular concern are operating budgets
at the program level which most directly benefit students.
is little question but what university management its size,
policies and practices have an indirect, but enormous, impact
on educational quality. One of the principal difficulties
with bureaucratic administration is the tendency to impose
broad standards and policies equally on all educational programs
which are so completely diverse in their needs, objectives
and operation. As an example, an institutional goal to have
one teacher for every twenty-two students. Some programs because
of the content and objectives may need more, some can do with
The problem of management and leadership in state universities
quality of both is dubious in far too many instances, and
there needs to be more separation of the two roles. The quality
of management and leadership is probably more important to
educational quality and faculty well-being than additional