With five University of Wisconsin System campuses now offering voluntary early retirement buyouts to faculty and staff to address looming budget cuts, it was only a matter of time before the big question demanded center stage.I'm sure the legislators are being informed, even now, that all such losses can be overcome by some combination of cheap and contingent labor with online courses. There are probably deanlets and vice-provosts who share that sentiment.
Will some class sizes get larger when eligible faculty leave if no one is hired to replace them, UW-Milwaukee psychology professor John "Jay" Moore asked Monday during a monthly budget forum at the campus, the latest in the system to announce buyouts.
"That's a fair implication," UWM Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen responded. "Planning to cover vacancies would have to be part of the consideration process."
Moore said he doubted UWM would turn away students just because there were fewer faculty to teach them. Larger class sizes could affect the quality of education. Reducing the number of class sections offered also potentially could extend the time it takes some students to complete their degree, university officials acknowledge.
SQUANDERING THE INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY.
But all that matters when budgets are tight is that costs be contained, even if that means hiving off productive staffers.