17.9.03

OPPORTUNITY COSTS ONLY. There has not as yet been any response to the Northern Star proposal to raise admission standards in the school paper, although the SCSU Scholars have weighed in. It sounds as if their reality is somewhat different. Our trustees also approved a tuition increase, but the Demand Curve has been shifting to the right in such a way as to swamp the ceteris paribus effect of a higher price. Result: closed classes, larger classes, frustrated students.

So, what would it cost to have some administrators teach real classes? (I am ruling out the learn-about-college-for-college-credit courses here, and, yes, some Deans do teach a class, but it's the converted professors or Ph.D.s with few publications who serve as assistant-tos that I'm thinking about here. Presumably they could teach sections of basic courses in their fields.)

First, we lose some administrative meetings and some scheming up of new requests for information to send to the faculty. Second, we might get some sense from the 8.00 to 4.30 crowd about what our reality on the faculty has been, i.e. we can find time in our schedule to teach more courses, we can find time in our schedule to teach more students per course, we can find time in our schedule to fill in assessment reports, we can find time in our schedule to develop new forms of assessment, we can find time in our schedule to fill in the same human resources form for each external speaker. Third, we'd be less subject to criticism for relying on part-timers and inexperienced graduate students to teach courses. On that last point, Invisible Adjunct located the University of Phoenix job descriptions. I suppose if you want to talk shop for three hours a week and call it college (Adam Smith: "People of the same trade seldom gather together ...) you can, but there's got to be a selling point in offering a serious education in the foibles of the world as opposed to some tips to get through your next promotion review. And it does no good for the University to be expanding its administrative tail and filling it with people who have no experience in the classroom.

(A PS to King: what is "trading fours?")

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