Archive for Thursday, January 13, 2011

Higher education officials thankful for no more cuts under Brownback’s proposed budget

State Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, comments on budget proposal by Gov. Sam Brownback, including measure that would cut funding to public schools.

January 13, 2011


— After budgets cuts totaling $100 million over the past two years, higher education officials Thursday said they were glad Gov. Sam Brownback didn't propose cutting any more.

"After recent and severe budget cuts, and a continued trend of state disinvestment in higher education, we're pleased the governor is advocating no reductions to the system's base budget," said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer.

But Sherrer noted Brownback's state budget recommendation released Thursday has a lot of moving parts for higher education, and that the regents would continue to analyze the details.

Brownback has proposed funding through the Kansas Department of Commerce an initiative that includes $5 million for cancer research at Kansas University Medical Center, $5 million for animal health research at Kansas State, and $5 million for aviation research at Wichita State.

But these funds would have to be matched by the same amounts by the universities.

The proposal also provides $1 million in economic development funds to the regents to administer the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program. The program is currently administered by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., but Brownback has recommended merging KTEC into the Department of Commerce.

The proposed budget fails to fund $10 million for deferred maintenance at campuses statewide that was part of 2007 legislation.

And it eliminates 367 unfilled positions at state universities. The proposal also cuts state funding to the regents office by $203,000.

Earlier, the regents had recommended a $50 million increase for higher education, but Brownback had indicated that was not possible because of the state's budget problems.


Shardwurm 7 years ago

But what about pay raises?

Dear GOD has no one noticed that the poor, tenured college professors haven't gotten raises lately?

This is absurd!

parrothead8 7 years ago

You DO know that universities employ a lot of people other than tenured profs, right? There's no way a state university could afford to employ enough tenured profs to teach all the required courses.

voevoda 7 years ago

Most professors are hard-working and they aren't paid nearly as well as other degreed professionals. They already work 55+ hours a week, and most have little or no opportunity to supplement their salaries. This will be the third year that they haven't gotten raises. But they haven't cut down on their attention to students; they haven't cut back on their production of research. They haven't gone on strike, or lobbied the state legislature for salary increases. They recognize that the state has financial issues, and that most of their students are struggling, too. In short, professors haven't whined. So why, Shardwurm, do you use this article as an excuse to bash them? In most countries, professors (and teachers in general) are respected. The US is unusual in how it is common to ridicule educators. I see a direct connection between American productivity problems and popular disrespect for educators and education.

jmadison 7 years ago

Do you have empiric evidence for your conclusion?

voevoda 7 years ago

Undergraduate students rarely see professors at work, except in class and at office hours. Professors have a lot of flexibility in their schedules. They can play a round of golf during the day because they get up at 5 to do research and work weekends grading papers and planning lessons. When they meet at a restaurant for a glass of wine at the end of the day, a lot of the time they are confering with colleagues about university business. They work through "vacations"--when students are off relaxing. My point, Healthcare_Moocher, is that professors aren't complaining about salary right now. So why do you imply that they are?

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

While many with degrees were enjoying their lives as professionals, these professors were getting lowly paid Graduate Research Assistants' work doing what most people shun.... sitting in front of computers to do things that many people refuse to do for that pay... yes, in reality, it's less than minimum wage. These professors have to go through worst than minimum wage for 4-8 years, publish things that are so difficult to get published.... you can say they're useless, but they take a lot of effort and sacrifice... lots of weekends... after that 4-8 years, a professor's job ain't easy to get..... of course many of you didn't see professors at work.... they do work at home.... if not, how do they get funding? how do they write papers? A journal paper requires nearly a year of work to get things together..... and none of these undergraduate students know what's behind them..... and all the travels they need to get to the funding agencies.... all the weekends crunching numbers at home..... while families are all asleep... of course, once they get to full professorship... they all get worn out.. and stop working. If you don't know what's behind the scene... maybe... just maybe... you guys should stop commenting.

fan4kufootball 7 years ago

There is a lot of people in different professions in this area that have not gotten pay increases for the past several years- in fact a lot of people received lay offs.

werekoala 7 years ago

Yeah, but we'll be cutting back primary education, so the kids who do get to college will spend their first few years spending $200 a credit hour learning basic math.

I'd actually rather see more emphasis being put on lower education -- that's where our future is really won or lost.

I gotta believe that eliminating remedial education at universities would save a bundle, and allow them to focus on the mission of providing higher education. Remedial education is fine and good but could be handled by school districts and community colleges. College should once again be seen as a place where you go to get a serious education, not have a 4-year "life experience".

akhmatova 7 years ago

Increase admissions standards at KU and K-State, leave them alone at the lower 4 public schools, and then you won't have to worry about remedial education as much. Take it to levels that actually matter -- a 21 on the ACT is nothing and a lot of high school freshmen could easily get that. There's no excuse for a student who is accepted into KU and has to spend a semester/year taking MATH 002 -- what they should have learned when they were 14 or 15 in high school. But still, no one who makes more than $10-15k a year teaches Math 002 classes typically unless there is a strange circumstance.

That said, there isn't any other remedial education at KU. There are no remedial English classes, as there probably are in other universities. Just the 101/102 freshman year requirement, then intro to fiction/poetry/drama (209/210/211) for CLAS majors.

voevoda 7 years ago

werekoala, You're right that better preparation at the K-12 level will reduce the cost of university education (although not by "a bundle"). But it's not because the Regents universities offer so many remedial courses. It's because unprepared students end up dropping out of ordinary college courses, and then they need to retake them. In-state tuition covers only a fraction of the cost of educating that student in that course, and the state and KU (Endowment, Research, etc.) have to make up the difference. When students don't complete a course they begin, they have wasted not only their own money, but the public's money, too.
But K-12 and higher education shouldn't be pitted against each other in a scramble for resources. The state needs to invest in both.

Smokie408 7 years ago

When the Brownback is ready to get rid of arts, public tv and radio. throughing up smoke screens that he says he will increase funding for K-12 but in fact does not. It makes me feel that maybe it is time to look at the golden cow in our education to cut cost and use these funds to go into educating our children. Now don't get me wrong I enjoy as much as the next guy KU basketball, but come on is it really necesessary to run our children all around the state for "Games" when it would be better spent on educating them instead. If we just cut out one game from every sport then the saving would help out the short fall a lot. We run our children to this thing and to that thing every week for what to play a "game". To much of our society energy is placed on sports and not on our education.

Richard Payton 7 years ago

Ophichus screwed me up so I'm told.

voevoda 7 years ago

You're the one who has a huge income, TomShewmon. Most professors never top six figures in their salaries, even after 40 years, a great teaching record, and high research productivity. Tenure doesn't protect professors who don't do their jobs. Few get fired because most professors are self-motivated, and do a good job. Of course, that's true of most professionals; they work hard out of sense of responsibility, not because they are afraid of being fired. Tenure protects professors whose empirical research leads to unwelcome conclusions. Such as global warming. Or the benefits of health care reform. Or the lack of connection between levels of gun ownership and violence. Or the what the "original intent" of the writers of the Constitution actually was. If you think that you have the stuff to be a professor, TomShewmon, go ahead and apply to a PhD program. Complete all the work (that's 5+ years, depending upon the field of study). Live on $12,000 per year while you're doing it. Work all your waking hours. Compete successfully for a faculty position. Maybe it will be in Lawrence, but most likely it will be in, say, Ada Oklahoma. In Communications Studies (your BS field, as I recall), your starting salary will be, maybe, $45,000 (less in Ada). Then you have 5 years to earn tenure. Design valuable courses and earn good teaching evaluations. Advise students so that they can get a good education. Serve on curriculum committees. Compete successfully for external grants. Publish in peer-reviewed journals and with peer-reviewed presses. Work 55+ hours per week. Then you can earn tenure. You'll get a raise, so your salary will now be about $52,000. Your job responsibilities don't change. You still do the same things, 55+ hours per week.
Do you still envy professors, TomShewmon?

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

TomShewmon, just my one word.... if you think professor's job is useless... and earn a lot of monies doing nothing... why didn't you try to earn a Ph.D., and try to apply for one yourself? The realities of the path towards a professorship:

  1. You need to spent 4-8 years earning minimum salaries ($1,500 or less per month) as a Graduate Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant etc. that ain't consistent at all.... many may not even get extension of their contracts.... of course, some lucky ones may get beautiful scholarships... but they all come with very hard works, normally burning weekends, when people like yourself are enjoying with families.

  2. The jobs for professorships are extremely limited and few. Even among Ph.D.s, they may not get those jobs... what get your those jobs? Tonnes of publications and a research directions that universities want. That will land you in the first job..... some require Post-doc (another low paying jobs and require weekends burning). Some require working experience, that often pay higher than professors....

  3. After 5-10 years in low paying jobs and work without nice breaks like my other friends who work in the industry and enjoy all their perks and bonuses.... I finally get a job as Assistant Professor... and during my 6 years, I must work like a dog to get funding, publish papers, and then.. of course teach... and face complaints from ignorant people like yourself and students that we never work... right.... I don't teach for a living... if I don't have resaerch going on, I'll be fired or denied tenure. So my days without breaks, even during summer (when students thought we're having nice breaks)..... we work like dogs....

  4. Great, after 6 years, I get my tenure (sometime ago)... so I become Associate Professor... and still my pay is still lower than my friends who are working in the industry. But now, I have something they don't have.... I won't get fired that easily... they do...

The MORAL of the story? I worked hard for more than 12 years to get to this position while sacrificing my weekends and family time. While the rest of the others? They had weekends, they had family times.... they refuse to do what I did.... It's the same thing as Bill Gates.... Bill is getting billions every year.... now, he doesn't work at all.... well... he deserves it 100%. When he was working.......

So Tom, I thought you believe in conservative values?


Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

For those who think professors are overpaid, and doing too little work... let me propose this "Professor Challenge" here... why don't you try to get a doctoral degree yourself and then apply for a professorship yourself and see for yourself?

For those who think that some politicians are overpaid and doing too little, why don't you run for office yourself?

For those who think that civil servants are overpaid and doing too little... why don't you apply for those jobs yourself, so that you can enjoy those "perks"?

The moral of the story.... don't assume you know what's gong on behind the scene. If you so complaint, you must be jealous of what they have, instead of being jealous... why don't you try to get those jobs?

FYI, there are a huge shortage of engineering professors in this country. Why don't you try to get there yourself?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.