Hide That Staff Cost

Jul 2 2015

Following on the detail of Professor Zitzewitz' exposition of the cost of the faculty as a percentage of the overall spending (a princely 10%), we present an excerpt from a document circulated by the Dartmouth College Fund circa 2010. If the faculty "who love to teach" actually make up only a tenth of the College's budget according to Professor Zitzewitz, it is self-evident that the below chart represents the bad old days of the Dartmouth administration, a time when Wright/Kim/Folt were not restrained by such quaint notions as veracity and exactitude.

Staff Cost.jpg

How is it possible that faculty members can be 10% of the budget and the staff who assist them are 32% of spending -- to reach the 42% figure above? The Economics department, with 32 tenure-line professors and ten visitors/lecturers, has only 1.5 administrative assistants and a computer support staffer in Silsby Hall. One has to play fast and loose with definitions to come up with a total of 42% of spending on teaching. Maybe custodians who sweep the walkways and wash chalkboards are considered to support teaching, but even then, the figures in this chart are laughable.

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Professor Zitzewitz Comments

Jul 1 2015

I wrote to Professor Eric Zitzewitz asking him to comment about erstwhile head of the Committee on the Faculty Todd Heatherton's letter regarding compensation that I recently obtained. Here is his reply:

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Phil should realize that the faculty are both aware that they have fallen off the compensation curve compared to professors at other schools, and that their compensation is but one-tenth of the College's budget. I am all for saving money, but Dartmouth should not do so with the people on whom the school's quality depends.

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Faculty Salary Squeeze

Jun 30 2015

Yesterday we noted that the Kim administration's squeeze on faculty salaries was particularly marked at the level of Assistant Professors -- faculty members new to the College who are bucking for tenure -- as noted in Economics Professor Eric Zitzewitz' presentation to the faculty. That conclusion was based on American Association of University Professors (AAUP) data. However confidential data from the Consortium of Financing Higher Education (COFHE), considered by many observers to be of higher quality, shows that the pinch was actually put more on the College's senior professors. A source has sent in a letter that sheds some light on that event:

Heatherton Letter Comp.jpg

The Committee on the Faculty (COF) is the grouping that speaks for the College's professors. You'll note that in 2012 the COF stated: "We therefore urge aggressive action to remedy the erosion in faculty compensation we have experienced this year." Note also that Professor Zitzewitz' data showed that the Kim and Folt administrations did not respond to this request (though the Hanlon administration has increased the salaries of tenure-track assistant professors).

When Kim faced what he called a budget crisis -- which was nothing of the kind -- he trimmed compensation, or at least the growth of compensation, at all levels of the College, in addition to gouging undergraduate and graduate students' financial aid and tuition. What he didn't do, out of some kind of foolish sense of caring and condescension, was trim the bloated staff, which has grown significantly in each of the past five years.

I know that I go on and on regarding this issue, but the College will make little progress until the absurd waste ends.

Addendum: Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences Todd Heatherton has confirmed the authenticity of this letter.

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