Notes on Value and Money

How’s Your Salary?

♦ Of course, we’re not in it for the money. The Wolf of Wall Street options have always been there. But we do want to be treated fairly. So here are the average salaries for doctoral institutions by rank: Professor, $134,747; Associate Professor, $88,306; Assistant Professor, $76,822. In Maryland, the figures are $122,962, $85,893, and $74.973. But of course most of us are in a discipline (or perhaps we should say department or program), and these units have a great range. To be paid well, consider going into business or engineering, and if money is not relevant, feel satisfied in bottom fields theology and visual/performing arts. Of course, institutions matter; for pay above $200k, go to a private university as Columbia, Stanford, or Chicago. For the publics, get a job at UCLA, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Berkeley, or Rutgers.

♦ Does your salary take into consideration your public engagement? (Should it?) One component of public engagement is contributing to media coverage of current events, plans, and more. That is what the Faculty Media Impact Project is trying to measure. And then, of course, someone might measure volunteering to share professional knowledge. The list might be long, but public engagement, it might be argued, is as important in some fields as patents are in other fields. Alas, there is no agreement on how to measure engagement or many other aspects of a faculty member’s responsibilities.

How’s Your Library Spending?

If you’re Harvard, it’s pretty good: $120,907,000 in 2011-2012. Wow! Fellow Big Ten Twelve Michigan spent only $63,735,669 and Illinois penny-pinched at $46,125,998. Our flagship UMCP reportedly found $29,352,698. Maybe it’s understandable: UMCP did not make the top 50 in private donations.

Bloated Administration?

A recent report by the Delta Cost Project reveals that the ratio of faculty and staff members to administrators has soared over the past 22 years. Back in 1990 at public research universities, there were 3.5 faculty and staff members per administrator, and now that ratio has been reduced to 2.2 to 1! At public master’s institutions, the change has been from 4.5 to 1 in 1990 and now 2.5 to 1. Why so many administrators? Student services have increased, and perhaps the hustle for money requires more money-hunters. Still, the shift would seem to be away from what was once thought to be the core of higher education: teaching and research.

From a New York Times editorial (17 February 2014): “Colleges may well require more administrators in the 21st century than they did in the 20th. The American Institutes for Research report suggests, among other factors, a growing need for employees wholly dedicated to fund-raising as state legislators reduce support for higher education. Nevertheless, the new college campus, rife with adjuncts and administrators, does not seem geared to fulfill what is, after all, the major mission of universities: educating students.”

Endowed Chairs, Tax Zones

Maryland’s E-novation Initiative! Maryland’s Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE)! Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch have introduced a legislative agenda designed to expand economic development. There are two foci: One is the co-funding – with matching public and private funds – of endowed university chairs to recruit top science and technology people who would be expected to enhance innovation and economic opportunity. The second is the creation of reduced tax zones around campuses to enhance private investments and neighborhood revitalization. UMCP President Wallace Loh’s comments on the initiatives were published in the Baltimore Sun.

USM is AA+

At least financially. The three principal bonds ratings agencies—Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch—have informed USM that it will continue to be rated the strong AA+ with a “stable outlook.” So we won’t go broke, perhaps in small part due to the added tuition we’ll receive (see below).

Research Spending

We all know that Johns Hopkins is the regional leader – and the national leader too, with $2.1 billion in research spending. Of course, it helps to have a little semi-autonomous Applied Physics Laboratory. Regionally, UMCP comes in second (37th nationally) at $502 million, UMB is fourth (47th nationally) at $433 million, and UMBC is twelfth regionally (167th nationally) at $75 million. Ah the hunt for money. Getting money can enable lots of good, but there are some negatives too.

Kiplinger’s Best Value Public: Higher Ed in Maryland

The national rankings of best-value public campuses by Kiplinger are: 7 UMCP; 48 St. Mary’s College of MD; 63 Salisbury U.; 86 Towson U; 88 UMBC. Note: UNC was number 1. If the reader thinks that these rankings are highly valid for those who want to choose among them, then the reader should be referred to one of the fine counseling services at Maryland’s publics. Of course, the US Department of Education will have its own rating system soon. And its validity will also be suspect. One commentator: “It will create potentially perverse incentives for the schools themselves.” For instance, if graduates’ earnings are factors, we won’t admit students or offer programs leading to lower-paying jobs. And if graduation rates count, then we’ll ban grades of D and F. In the region among public colleges, Kiplinger ranks our UMCP first for “college values”; St. Mary’s College of Maryland comes in 9th.

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