Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Fun with the Budget Director

BD: In the past, any savings from retirements stayed in academic affairs, forming the contingency for unanticipated expenses. Now, those savings will revert to the general fund.

DD (hopefully): So we should just replace people, then.

BD: No, that's a false savings. Switching to adjuncts is cheaper for the college as a whole, even if it doesn't show up in your budget.

DD: But the adjuncts do show up in my budget.

BD: That's correct.

DD: So when someone retires and doesn't get replaced, the college saves money, but my budget takes the hit for the new adjunct courses?

BD: Well, no. Your budget should get reimbursed the cost of adjuncts from the general fund.

DD: I haven't seen that.

BD: Me, neither.


DD: You know, since I've been here, 12 faculty have left, and we've hired six.

BD: That sounds right.

DD: It is. And the college is still looking for money to offset its deficits.

BD: Correct.

DD: What will the college do when it runs out of people to replace?

(sound of crickets)

DD: I mean, if shrinking the faculty is the only strategy we have to balance the books, we'll hit the limits of that awfully fast, don't you think?

(tumbleweed blows gently in the breeze)

DD: Is there some sort of long-term plan to turn this around?

(thousand-yard stare)

DD: Oh.

I have a bad feeling about this...

Feckin' hell, that sounds bad. My institution isn't even going to hire adjuncts anymore, they plan on letting grad students do all of that teaching; 200 adjunct positions are due to be cut next year. So, not replacing retired profs, increasing revenue-generating grad student who teach cheaper than that's a long term plan for you!

No telling what will happen to academic standards, or if any research will get done, but we are saving money dudes, so who cares?!
You are so good at telling a sad story in a funny way. Hesitate and then laugh, laugh and then hesitate. Is it incompetence or corruption? Because all the money is somewhere, but where?
I suppose it varies by institution but hiring grad students instead of adjunct doesn't sound like a cost saving move to me - but that's because where I'm at doctoral students get paid more per class for a couple reasons: One, most FA's have an M.A. only where the doctoral students after the first year have an M.A. and some doctoral coursework and Two, the university places a higher priority on recruiting grads than feeding adjuncts.

Although I suppose if the grad instructors don't have tuition waivers then the university probably does save money. But if they do then increasing the number of grads teaching is even more expensive.
DD, are you sure you aren't really one of the deans here at Dream School? :-)

I have a bad feeling about this...

Stay on target. Stay on target.
anon - here in Canada almost no one gets tuition waivers, so we pay around $5000 a year. Plus the University gets several thousand a year per grad student for 1 year at the MA/MFA/MSc level and 4 years at the PhD level. Grad students make about $300 less per month than an adjunct, so that further sweetens the deal for the Uni.

Some of us wise up, withdraw and teach as adjuncts; but as grad students we are cash cows! Mooo, moooo.
That's not good.
Wait til it's time to revise curriculum stuff, or come up for accreditation. All that fun work doesn't get done by adjuncts, right?

Gotta fight the fight as best you can.
grumpyABDadjunct: Unless you're in Quebec, where tuition+fees is $2400 or something for Quebec residents and PhD students.
Sounds like someone needs a basic critical reasoning course...
plam - true, or at UBC where PhDs don't pay tuition.
Well, here I am representing the black helicopter cohort, but I'm afraid that college and universities are intent upon shrinking their brick and mortar campuses while expanding their distance learning presences until they reach the point of closing the physical campuses. Colleges and universities will be all-distance, all the time, taught by faculty who can live anywhere in the world. The student body will be scattered all over the globe, and Amazon will be the campus bookstore.

I'm giving it twenty years, at the outside.
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