Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Raiding UW

Well, things have been kind of bleak — as noted occasionally, UW is bleeding faculty like you can't believe. Now, it's national news, on CNN. What kills me is that the report is really understating most aspects of things. Want to guess what morale is like around Madison?

"Raiding" in these articles sounds like hitting the fridge for a snack. It's starting to sound to me more like seeing Viking longboats landing on the beach.

Well, I'll get back to linguistics tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Well, the horse is pretty much out of the barn on this. It's worth noting that the "average" salary of $103,000 includes professors in the School of Medicine, for example, who make in excess of $700,000 per year.

In important disciplines such as English, History and Political Science.... not to mention even worse paid disciplines like the Languages, the norm for a full professor is more like $70,000-$80,000, and these people are typically very productive and well-known nationally and internationally.

This is fatal arterial bleeding, but even the "solution", a $10 million dollar fund for the UW-System, is a bandaid, at best.

What is needed is more like $100 million, which would support horribly inadequate graduate student funding--- easily as important to faculty retention as faculty salaries--- but that would be a huge investment: $18 for every man, woman and child in Wisconsin each year. Oh wait! We spend that much each month to fund the war in Iraq............ no wonder we can't afford something as trivial as higher education!

Anonymous said...

I have long been irritated, as was larry shapiro in his june 4 cap times editorial, that uw builds in hidden costs for faculty. In smaller, poorer depts, heaven forbid your computer breaks down mid year, you need to go to a conference on the very topic you're researching or need money for books or hire student help. It is expected to come out of your own pocket, further reducing one's salary.

Mr. Verb said...

Three points on these excellent comments:

--The $10 million is intended, I gather from political people here in Madisoin, to allow competitive counteroffers to people who get big outside offers. That's not just a bandaid, it's a bandaid designed to be applied after an injury that could have been prevented.

--Yeah, there are lots of senior faculty earning 70-80K who are clearly leading figures in their fields internationally. Most of those people could double their salaries by leaving higher education. Indeed, lots of those people bring in more than their salaries annually in outside funding; the university pretty literally profits from their/our presence.

-- Most important, though, is the need to refocus away from faculty salaries to the overall funding situation. I know of a couple of departments where people have tried to eliminate phones in faculty offices to save money.

Ask leading faculty what they need most and I don't know any who'll say a big pay raise (some random deadwood asshole might say that, but not *leading* faculty). They'll name things like grad funding, staff support, (more/better) space, equipment, in basically that order.

Anonymous said...

Just saw two items of note about UW. First, no domestic partner benefits in this budget. Second, UM is ready to pull the plug on reciprocity (not sure what that means other than bad press for someone or other).

Mr. Verb said...

Domestic partner benefits didn't make it into the Assembly budget, on a vote of 8-8. (All Dems voted for it, I heard.) The governor has apparently made this a high priority and I know that some folks in the legislature are committed to getting this changed, come hell or high water. I heard from a politico yesterday that the Senate will have this in the budget, so that it should then be the subject of negotiation when the two bills are reconciled. Don't lose hope yet!

We've long had tuition reciprocity with Minnesota and there's been increasing talk about things getting out of line. (For folks not from around here: Kids from one state can go to the university in the other and get tuition rates they would at home.) Basically, Wisconsin has done a better job than most places at keeping tuition relatively low (note: that's 'better than most' and 'relatively' -- things are horrible on this front nationally and locally). Now, Minnesota is losing money on the deal and Wisconsin students are paying less than the 'Sotans are in their own state, if I recall the story. I imagine this will get worked out.

So, I'm pretty gloomy on some fronts, but both of these could go the right way. (Years too late on the first problem, but ... .)