By Huma Munir
President William Powers Jr. came out against what he called “flawed” productivity analyses of the University that have been cropping up since the system released data on faculty performance last month.
Powers addressed the issue in a column which the Austin American-Statesman and The Dallas Morning News published and which he distributed to students by email Wednesday.
The task force on enhancing productivity and excellence, created in February by the Board of Regents, requested the data. The data is considered premature by the UT system administrators and was released with cautionary statements saying no analysis would yield accurate results. Read More
By: Michael Rizzo Ph.D
“In this week’s episode of how to become unacceptable in polite company, Richard Vedder makes the absolutely correct argument that we professors should be teaching more (and better)” Read More
My new study suggests a simple way to cut college tuition in half.
By RICHARD VEDDER
No sooner do parents proudly watch their children graduate high school than they must begin paying for college. As they write checks for upwards of $40,000 a year, they’ll no doubt find themselves complaining loudly about rising college costs—even asking: “Is it worth it?”
It’s a legitimate question. As college costs have risen wildly, the benefits of the degree seem less and less clear. Larger numbers of college graduates are taking relatively low-paying and low-skilled jobs.
The good news? There are ways to greatly ease the burden and make college more affordable, according to new data from the University of Texas at Austin. Read More
Dallas Morning News
With more than 52,000 students and many nationally ranked academic programs, the University of Texas at Austin is one of the most productive universities in the United States. But you wouldn’t know it by reading the Center for College Affordability and Productivity’s recently published report, which suggests that if the 80 percent of our faculty with the lowest teaching load taught half as much as the top 20 percent, tuition could be reduced by half.
The most obvious flaw in this analysis is that the measure of faculty productivity is limited solely to semester credit hours. There is no attempt to measure the quality, and therefore the true productivity, of the learning experience.
At UT, we could easily increase the appearance of efficiency by doing all our teaching in classes of 300 students. According to the CCAP metric, our university would be far more productive. But what is the goal of a university? At UT, our goal is to provide the most effective learning experience for our undergraduates and graduate students. In addition, we expect our faculty to conduct research to expand knowledge and benefit society. Read More
Recently released preliminary data from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin strongly suggest that the state of Texas could move toward making college more affordable by moderately increasing faculty emphasis on teaching. Looking only at the UT Austin campus, if the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach just half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, and if the savings were dedicated to tuition reduction, tuition could be cut by more than half, says the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
Other highlights of the study: Read More
A push to root out ‘waste’ at public universities in Texas using quantitative metrics – including research grants – to assess faculty performance is making its way across the state. But academics are warning that this could make recruiting staff at these universities much more difficult.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) has begun investigating faculty efficiency at the Univerity of Texas (UT), which is a network of nine academic universities and six health institutions. CCAP – which purports to target the ‘rising costs and stagnant efficiency’ in higher education – released a report on 24 May that found 20 per cent of UT-Austin staff receive nearly all of its research grants. The report also claims that the worst performing 20 per cent of staff teach just 2 per cent of all lecture hours. CCAP also concluded that just 2 per cent of the faculty conducts 57 percent of its funded research. Its analysis was derived from a preliminary UT report released in May.
Back in September, faculty members at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) system – a network of 11 universities and seven state agencies – were disturbed after university leadership released an internal report detailing how much money each faculty member brought in during the previous academic year.
It was understood that TAMU planned to subtract each professor’s salary from teaching and research grants, and many believed that the effort was part of the broader agenda of a group called the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which has links with CCAP. That organisation, with its stated aims of promoting ‘free markets and limited government,’ has publicly questioned whether academic research is a good investment for Texas. Read More
By Reeve Hamilton
Before the University of Texas System released an 821-page draft document showing faculty members’ salaries, research expenditures and total numbers of students taught, among other pieces of data, Dean Neikirk, the chair of the University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council, sent a note to his colleagues.
“It is likely that within a very short time various web pages will offer an ‘analysis’ of individual faculty ‘productivity,’” he warned. “Most, if not all, of this information was already available, but the ‘convenience’ of the release will no doubt invite a variety of interpretations.” Read More
A new study was released Monday by the D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity The bottom line is this: by incorporating even modest changes in the teaching work loads of the least productive professors would bring about substantial cost reductions in tuition and state taxpayer money while not tampering with tenure or the world class research being done at the university. UT-Austin, for example, would remain a solid Tier One research university.
Pew Research polls indicate that the value of a college degree is questioned by a growing percentage of Americans. A majority believe that higher education is no longer affordable and that it doesn’t deliver a good value. Read More
An interesting new study highlights the vast disparities in teaching and research at UT:
Looking only at the UT Austin campus, if the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach just half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, and if the savings were dedicated to tuition reduction, tuition could be cut by more than half (or, alternatively, state appropriations could be reduced even more—by as much as 75 percent). Moreover, other data suggest a strategy of reemphasizing the importance of the undergraduate teaching function can be done without importantly reducing outside research funding or productivity. Read More
By Sibyl West | by Richard Vedder, Christopher Matgouranis, Jonathan Robe
If bottom 80 percent were half as productive as top 20 percent, tuition could be cut in half
AUSTIN – At a time of alarming tuition costs and economic uncertainties, an analysis of the preliminary data released earlier this month by the University of Texas System shows one of the state’s flagship universities could make tuition vastly more affordable by moderately increasing faculty emphasis on teaching.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity conducted the study titled “Faculty Productivity and Costs at The University of Texas at Austin.” The study assesses faculty productivity at UT-Austin in terms of both research and teaching by delving into the data on faculty compensation, teaching loads and external research grant awards released by the University of Texas system.
“Our analysis shows that there is clearly room for improvement in terms of faculty productivity at UT Austin,” said Dr. Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and a co-author of the study. “Simply by having faculty teach more students or courses, students and taxpayers will benefit significantly by reduced university costs.” Read More
By: Matt S Dowling
There has been a lot of debate on how to rein in tuition cost and a new study released by the Center for Affordability and Productivity shows some very interesting data. It analyzes the University of Texas and the workload of professors in conjunction with research funding. This study might redefine on how we look at university funding, so let’s jump right in:
- 20 percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours. They also generate 18 percent of the campus’s research funding. This suggests that these faculty are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility.
- Conversely, the least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do other faculty segments.
- Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty; only 2 percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research.
So what does all of this mean? Read More
By David Guenthner
Modest improvements in faculty productivity could allow for substantial tuition reductions without threatening tenure or affecting externally funded research
AUSTIN – Modest increases in teaching loads at the University of Texas at Austin would produce hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to taxpayers and students, according to a preliminary analysis of faculty data released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP).
“These findings bring to light very real opportunities to provide a better education to students at vastly lower costs while preserving UT-Austin’s ability to conduct world-class research,” said David Guenthner, the Foundation’s senior communications director. “The data conclusively demonstrates that there is room for a greater emphasis on classroom instruction, while preserving UT-Austin’s prized Tier One status.”
Key findings of the CCAP analysis: Read More