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ERIC Number: EJ990499
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-8
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Cost Savings Appear Elusive in Push for Faculty Productivity
Basken, Paul
Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 2012
If cash-strapped universities want an easy way to save money, Lawrence B. Martin, a professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has an idea. By tallying faculty output in areas such as publication rates in scientific journals, Mr. Martin has concluded that there could be as much as $1-billion to $2-billion in extra salaries sloshing around U.S. higher education, needlessly lavished by institutions on faculty whose low teaching loads are not justified by their research output. Assaults on the teaching productivity of faculty are a longstanding feature of academe. But with universities facing prolonged budget pressures, while armed with new tools to quantify output, the demands are likely to grow. The current governors of Texas and Florida, for example, have pushed their universities in recent years to improve their measurements of faculty workloads, convinced that stricter expectations for time spent teaching will help balance education budgets. And California, which is bracing for the possibility that its public universities will soon need to start turning away tens of thousands of qualified students, is being pressed to consider similar steps. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, in a report this summer, offered California universities a series of suggestions for coping with tighter budgets, including tracking "the number of courses taught and student credit-hours generated by each tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track professor." But in terms of using modern computational rigor to carry out such ideas, and then demonstrate real savings, it is still in its early days. Many universities have begun collecting better data on faculty performance. So far, however, universities appear to only be starting to figure out how to make extensive use of the new information. And the initial signs suggest that, while there may be many benefits to universities of better understanding the work being done by faculty members, large-scale cost savings are not likely to be one of them.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Florida; Iowa; Texas