ERIC Number: ED327079
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar-2
Reference Count: 0
The Dynamics of Academic Productivity. A Seminar (Denver, Colorado, March 2, 1990).
Massy, William F.; Zemsky, Robert
This report is an edited version of the transcript of a seminar held to explore the problem of increasing costs and defining productivity in higher education. The main paper, by William Massey, presents a conceptual model explaining the forces driving up costs in academic departments of institutions of higher education. Under the model there have been increases in curriculum specialization and unsponsored research activity and declines in curriculum structure and the quality of undergraduate teaching. The paper recommends changes in structure, curriculum, and financial incentives. Indicators, discussed and illustrated with graphs, show that costs per student are going up; tuition and fees are rising faster than inflation; and state appropriations have not kept up with costs. Five reasons for cost increases some familiar and some not, are: regulation and micro-management; "cost disease"; "growth force"; "organizational slack"; and "output creep." Output creep is analyzed in terms of process dynamics, winners and losers, the ratchet relationship between teaching load and departmental research, destructuring the curriculum, and curriculum structure and cost. Four necessary conditions for change are identified: strategic thinking; incentives, recognition, rewards; individual and group empowerment; and firm constraints on available resources. State higher education executive officers are encouraged to stress growth by substitution; link incentives to substitution; empower institutions and avoid micro-management; and be as clear as possible about future resource availability. A reaction by Robert Zemsky and a discussion are included. (DB)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, College Administration, Cost Effectiveness, Curriculum Development, Higher Education, Inflation (Economics), Models, Productivity, Program Costs, Retrenchment, State Aid, Student Costs, Trend Analysis
State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, 707-17th St., Suite 2700, Denver, CO 80202-3427 ($10.00).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Collected Works - Proceedings
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.