Kirk Weighs In
Perry Kirk weighs in on cuts, faculty’s role in decision-making and the ADP system.
I believe that most faculty on this campus feel a strong sense of responsibility for the economic woes in which we find ourselves.
Despite the general impression perceived by the state legislature, and even though we are faced with difficult choices, I am confident that most faculty are willing to sacrifice. And even if we forget about the current crisis, faculty are accustomed to making UWG an efficient organization.
The Department of Art, according to statistics compiled by our accrediting organization, is in the fifth percentile of faculty-to-staff ratio for university art programs in this country.
In other words, 95% of art schools in this country have a lower faculty/student ratio than we do. And yet, the number of majors in my department has grown from 175 when I arrived in 1998 to approximately 450 today. That is a 250% increase.
In that same period, we have received two new tenure track faculty lines, taking us from 11 to 13. That's an 18% increase. If that's not efficiency, I don't know what is. And I will bet there are stories like that all over campus.
Therefore, it is my strong conviction that the best place to start such drastic budget cutting measures is in departmental faculty meetings. Each department chair on this campus knows best how money is spent and how it can be spent more efficiently. Even if our suggestions are not immediately within our purview, we know all too well when and where money is wasted on this campus.
Opinions are never universally popular and some people's feelings will be hurt. But when I see layoffs on the horizon, I think bruised egos are a far better injury to sustain than colleagues out of a job.
My three picks are 1) the budgetary inequities between Arts and Sciences and those of the RCOB and the COE simply must be rectified; 2) the Honors College is a non-degree conferring program. While it is a nice feather in our cap, the reality is that most of the burden of teaching these courses is placed on the COAS. 3) the ADP system transfers labor from staff to faculty (from lower paid to higher paid), and the inefficiency of that system cannot be beneficial.
I will write a written retraction if someone shows me proof that that system saves us money.
The cuts that we face are distressing for numerous reasons.
The horror of layoffs aside, I see years of painfully slow gains swept away in an instant. And they won't magically reappear in FY 2012. They will be hard-fought gains once again. These losses are disheartening.
So, perhaps one of the best things our administration can do is give these hard choices to the faculty. Again, we know where the problems lie, and we would also gain a sense of involvement and empowerment.
This is a perfect opportunity for the university to come together in a time of adversity. It is also an opportunity to alienate and anger a group of hard working people by withholding information and keeping them out of the process of determining their own fate.
Do you have a comment or opinion about this story's topic? Send your thoughts to West Georgia Voices.
- Chronicle Home
- In Focus
- Campus Talk
- I Am West Georgia
- West Georgia Voices
- Other News