Archive for Tuesday, July 5, 2011

KU showing effects of prolonged budget squeeze

July 5, 2011


As Kansas University continues to strain in the face of the realities of state budget cuts, indications of the effects are all over campus.

The school will absorb another 1.193 percent reduction in its state funding for the 2012 fiscal year that begins this month.

Sure, there are the big things. Rodolfo Torres, a KU math professor who will serve as the faculty senate president this year, is quick to mention that faculty and staff have gone three years without salary increases.

“It’s really affecting the morale of the faculty,” he said, and he has heard of some who have left the university for higher-paying jobs.

KU recently approved limited raises as part of a tuition increase.

But KU is seeing all kinds of other signs of scrimping, saving and increased efficiencies all over campus. Here’s a quick look at just some:

• Mark Reiske, associate director of design and construction management, said that the university’s utility budget has been strained at times.

The university designates a set amount of money for utilities each year, he said. Thermostats in classrooms are controlled centrally.

“Those have crept up in cooling seasons and crept down in heating seasons,” he said.

Also, some classrooms that are inefficient to keep cool haven’t been used this summer, he said, including some rooms in the military science building and in Summerfield Hall.

• KU Libraries is one area where budgets have been held stable, said Lorraine Haricombe, the dean of libraries. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t had to make cutbacks. As journal subscription prices have continued to go up, the libraries consulted faculty members to see which journals — both print and electronic — are in the highest demand.

And the libraries just began offering donors an opportunity to sponsor a journal subscription.

“It’s a fairly new idea,” Haricombe said, adding that “a couple” of donors have signed up so far. It’s not a model the libraries can rely on into the future, she said, to ensure that the most relevant journals are produced.

• In KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the overall number of faculty members has shrunk by 20 since the budget cuts began in 2009, said Danny Anderson, the college’s dean.

The college has tried to avoid using adjunct faculty and graduate students to replace the teaching loads, Anderson said. Some faculty have voluntarily taught overloads, but, in many cases, class sizes are growing and courses are being offered less frequently.

• Matt Cook, an information specialist working in the biology department, said he didn’t know how cuts were affecting the IT department on a grand scale.

But he is seeing signs of decreased staffing levels in his area — the two-man team that works on IT issues for the biology department would soon be shrinking to one-and-a-half, he said, as his co-worker would be splitting time between biology and chemistry.

• In KU’s School of Pharmacy, the school is cutting its continuing education for licensed pharmacists as a cost-saving move, said Ken Audus, KU’s dean of pharmacy.

Many members of the industry offer the training for free, which is not something the school could do, Audus said.

Though he said he has heard complaints, he said the decision helped preserve other things the school was doing.

“That’s not something you want to put on the backs of students,” Audus said.

• Even in places at the university that aren’t seeing budget cuts, that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for ways to save.

At Watkins Community Health Center, student fees and fees for service pay the bills, and they’re holding relatively steady, said Joe Gillespie, Watkins associate director of student health services.

But they’re still moving away from most paper forms to cut back on costs. Student forms such as personal and family health histories must be filled out online now, he said, through the student’s personal online portal. Appointments may also be made online, he said.

l In the office of research and graduate studies, some staff members have left for higher-paying jobs, said Kevin Boatright, communications director for the office.

Some of those have even taken other jobs at KU to obtain a salary raise, he said.

As the move to replace those staff members has been slower, more and more of the administrative work associated with research grants is being passed on to faculty members, he said.

The office is managing well overall, in spite of those challenges, he said.


Alceste 4 years ago

$134,602.90 is what Rodolfo Torres was paid in 2010 per

He was paid $143,274.89 in 2009; $132,138.80 in 2008

and a paltry $102,431.52 in 2007

I dunno.....seems like a lot of money to me for what is essentially a part time job....Professor at a "university".....shrug

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

So you're saying he took a 6.2% pay cut last year?

Kind of difficult to attract the best and the brightest that way, at least that's what I'm told about CEO salaries.

Alceste 4 years ago


I'm not "saying" anything....simply "reporting" if you will. I do note you failed to notice the rather large increase between 2007 and present. I suspect the 2009 money had to do with a very important extra project that simply could not survive without his involvement and thus the icing on the cake, if you will. Who knows?

MyName 4 years ago

I don't get it, are you trying to be sarcastic because it's failing miserably.

I'm sure you're right that they could just get rid of the Math Professor and hire 3-4 good janitors and it would be an awesome value for taxpayers, and a really crappy value for people who actually want to learn Math.

The KU competes on salary for Math PhDs with other Universities internationally and also with many private firms (including ones on Wall Street). But clearly we should be offering half that if we want a stream of talented people beating down our doors to teach and do research here. In fact, it's a public service and they should be proud to work for the people of Kansas for free!

(That was actual, effective sarcasm, BTW. Since you seem to be having trouble telling the difference, I thought I'd help.)

sourpuss 4 years ago

Being a professor is not a part-time job. Teaching, committee meetings, conferences, writing, publishing, mentoring students... You obviously know -nothing- about it. First, the average PhD takes 6-8 years to receive, on top of 1-2 years for a MA before that. Add a 4-5 year BA and you're talking about spending your twenties in school - a decade where people who did not seek higher education worked, earned raises (hah!), saved for retirement (double hah!) and started families. The reality is, many people do not get tenure-track jobs until their mid-thirties. Meanwhile, you pay tuition, pay for research travel, work as a TA to get by. You just don't like professor salaries because some people out there work very hard to -earn- that pay. How is training in your field for a decade and getting paid well any different than a professional athlete doing the same thing? And to disparage KU by questioning its standing as a university? Get over yourself and stop carrying around those sour grapes already.

Carol Bowen 4 years ago

There are very few PhD's in math. And, yes, KU needs PhD's. Math profs are not public school teachers. They bring a wealth of background into the classroom. These are the people who write the books and do research in areas that we can barely comprehend - climate change, pandemics, demographics, etc. They don't just read math books.

Alceste 4 years ago

Now this poor Mark Reiske, associate director of design and construction management only got paid $85,523.88 in 2010. Of course that meager sum of money does not include the sweetheart of retirement benefit he gets. Nonetheless, I expect an individual with such a meager wage has made application for food assistance.....via the internet of course since that Brownback guy is shutting down the Lawrence SRS office.

It's terrible to have to work for such a low paying outfit like the "university" of Kansas, eh? shrug

(wage data provided by )

Alceste 4 years ago

Nope. Simply following your cue: " "Keep the dumb, dumb and the poor, poor." Your Republican votes in action." Which you stated here: on May 19, 2011 at 11:02 a.m . shrug

Sean Livingstone 4 years ago

If you're complaining about the salaries of professors... why didn't you go get a ph.d and then apply for one yourself?

notanota 4 years ago

No kidding. I have my issues with KU now and then, but the professors that pull in the big bucks generally do so because they pull in the big bucks in the form of research and other grants.

If these people are being paid competitively compared to other quality universities, I have no issue with it. When I look at the AAUP Faculty Salary Survey data, the average pay seems in line with other quality institutions.

Rather than erode yet another path for working and middle class children to find upward mobility, we should be looking at ways to make sure university education - and the path to professorhood - is something available to any student from Kansas who is bright and willing to stay in school and work hard.

If you've got issues with their pay rate, raise income taxes on the wealthy. There. Problem solved.

Sean Livingstone 4 years ago

notanota, I don't think I can tolerate people who don't know what a profession is doing, but often complain that they are overpaid and having too much time on their hand. Though I don't like what this professor has to complain about, I also don't like people who say that professors are such an easy job (which isn't true). I am a professor myself, I went through 5 years of meagre salary ($1500 per month), worked 50-60 hours a week, constantly worried about funding... to becoming an Assistant Professor, constantly worried about research funding and number of graduate students.... to now... still worrying about funding and research, and teaching is only part of my job. I know there are a few professors who don't do nothing.... it's just like work outside of academia... there are people who don't do anything but still get promotion. If you have never been a professor... you don't really know what a professor really does. Some professors are paid really well... in the $300-400k.. because they bring in millions of dollars in research or are very well-known that reputable universities can easily head-hunt them. So you need to pay more for these professors. I easily clock up 50 hours a week in the summer, including travel to conferences and writing books. I don't teach in the summer, cos I'm doing research... I'm paid at market rate... probably at about the same as most professors at big 12...

Alceste 4 years ago

Oh....and poor Mr. Boatright only got $108,771.00 in 2010. It must be terrible to have to work and not get any money to put in your bank account. I mean terribly terrible. Again, wage data is per

Now what is downright criminal and is probably explotation in the truest sense of the word is the mere $228,649.97 Danny Anderson took home in 2010. Good does ANYONE survive on such a disgustingly low wage???? I am compelled to wonder who got so mad at Danny Anderson that they determined he was only worth that dinky little amount of ....can we even call

Hopefully, if anyone is reading these posts, people get the idea that getting PAID at the "university" of Kansas is a very, very, very difficult thing.....shrug

ResQd 4 years ago

I totally agree on this one. Boo-hoo to those making over 40k up at KU and haven't had a raise in 3 years. Well, guess what, most of us haven't either! Be glad you have a decent job in these economic times. With all the state cuts going on in Brownback Land, I'm shocked to see all of the openings still up at KU. They should have a hiring freeze until it all settles down!

MyName 4 years ago

They already had one, and then a bunch of people left.

Again, don't pee down my neck and tell me it's raining. And I should be thankful for the water.

notanota 4 years ago

Over 40k is now rich and undeserving of raises?

rockchalk77 4 years ago

Much of the research and work in Biology is now done with Bioinformatics and computer modeling. If you don't think they need computers, or people to keep them running, then should we take away their calculators as well and make them us slide rules? I mean, that was good enough in the 50's and 60's so it should be good enough now too right?

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

It would appear Alceste's link includes benefits. Note to Alceste - the cost of health insurance keeps going up.

"This is the full database for state government employee pay and benefits (except university coaches who are paid with privately raised funds, as privately raised funds are not subject Kansas Open Records requests)."

But if the solution is to pay more like McDonald's and less like Koch Industries, then I suspect Alceste won't be pleased with the results. Some folks just like to complain, I reckon.

Alceste 4 years ago

The $ amounts I have listed are wages only. Only. You can obtain benefit data via another section of the website. It's not my website. I have nothing to do with it. I understand it's purpose is for Right Wing non-sense, but it IS useful to utilize in order to understand the gross disparity in Kansas between the guy who works and the guy who is employed by a "university" where a LOT of backslapping and glad handing goes on.....pretty much all day long from what I can tell. I could be wrong, but I rather doubt it.

I'm not stating "....the solution is to pay more like McDonald's and less like Koch Industries....". I AM stating that I don't see nobody from KU standing up and advocating those people who DO work for McDonald's and Wal-Mart need a wee bit more money for the work they do. Same for the sanitation guys who work for the City. It's funny how the monied tend to only worry about themselves. Funny indeed. And anybody who wants to argue that a guy being PAID over $200g a year is NOT wealthy can go and sit on a tack for all I care.....

notanota 4 years ago

Some folks are falling for the Koch's strategy of making the middle class eat themselves, so they can't stand together against the truly rich. They even use the Koch-funded website to make the claims. Hook. Line. Sinker.

Alceste 4 years ago

Trouble is, there's NO reciprocity that comes from all them unerpaid "university" types when it comes time to support pay raises for Kansas Civil Servants or even classified staff within their own operations. They only worry about themselves.

Too, even "university" classified were permitted to seperate from Kansas Civil Service and most, if not all of the classifed service get paid more money than their coutnerparts in flat out Kansas Civil Service simply because they're employed by a "Regents" institution.

Reciprocity and solidarity are important things.....but come on.....guys making over $100large got money problems? In Kansas? How can that be?

I like what ole oneeye_wilburwrote above: " Or better yet, ask the recipient of the $108,771 how he would live on $12,000 a year? Now that is the question to be asked on the street." It's very difficult to argue with logic.

When "university" "underpaid" guys start supporting, loudly and consistently the people they see and interact with every day on a daily basis....the people who support what these "university types" "do" (whatever it is), get back to me on this "middle class" eating itself. What "middle class"? Reagan and Bush pretty much got rid of that notion a while back. shrug

notanota 4 years ago

Really? Now it's about one form of public employee eating the other form? You're jealous because KU has more autonomy over how they hire and pay workers?

I have a lot of dealings with KU faculty - some of whom are highly paid research professors, and that's not the sense I got at all. They were concerned about the political climate and the funding to vital services both within and outside of KU. The SRS funding is particularly concerning.

You're putting words into his mouth when you say that someone making 100k is complaining that they have a personal money problem. He's complaining that he's lost colleagues because they've left for higher paying jobs, not complaining that he can't make the down payment on the Bently.

Frankly, a PhD with 20 years experience isn't asking the world to get 100k, and yes, 100k is still part of the middle class.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

Alceste is correct that the payroll data on KansasOpenGov does not include benefits, but the confusion in my fault. We (Kansas Policy Institute) intended to include benefits but the state refused to provide the data and frankly, we couldn't afford the legal fees to make them surrender the data that Kansas Open Records laws clearly say can be released. Maybe the new administration will see things differently...I'll check. Thanks to Bob Keeshan for pointing out that I had one old reference to benefits on the's now fixed.

MyName 4 years ago

Right, that sentence doesn't even make since. Tuition has been raised and State funding (which is only 1/4 of the budget at KU) has declined. This isn't a case of people "crying wolf" it's an examination of cause and effect: your salary has declined relative to inflation for several consecutive years, effect: you realize your efforts aren't being appreciated in any meaningful way and that it's time to look for work elsewhere.

You act like working in the public sector is some magical forcefield that prevents people from acting in their best interest. If you pay bottom tier wages, you get bottom tier workers.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

FYI, KU spending between 2005 and 2010 is posted at I don't believe a comprehensive spending history is available elsewhere, as we had to piece it together from each years' state budget report. You can also look at spending in a few categories like Travel, Dues and Cell Phones, which was extracted from the KU check register.

We just received FY 2011 and FY 2012 general fund and all funds amounts from Kansas Legislative Research and will try to get those posted by the end of the day.

Interestingly, Legislative Research says general fund spending on KU is going up in FY 2012, not down. And FY 2011 was higher than in FY 2010.

General fund spending (in millions):

FY 2010 - $136.007 FY 2011 - $138.082 FY 2012 - $138.125

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

Nice job including legislative earmarks in that group, Trabert. Are you encouraging the Regents to use earmark dollars for general purposes and ignore the will of the legislature?

How radical.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

I should have mentioned in the last post that General Fund spending is not total spending for KU...that just accounts for what is often referred to as 'taxpayer support'. Spending that is driven by revenues from tuition, student fees, federal funding (i.e., sources other than General Fund support) is contained in the All Funds budget, which also includes General Fund spending. Also, spending for the KU Medical Center is reported seperately.

Kansas Legislative Research reports that FY 2011 Approved Spending in the All Funds budget for KU was $668.9 million and another $301.4 million for the Medical Center. Over the last ten years, those totals increased by 50.6% and 55.5%, respectively. Inflation increased 23.6% between 2000 and 2010 (BLS, Consumer Price Index, Midwest Urban Cities).

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Thanks for the salary website info, alceste.

It is true that many at KU are overpaid. Administrators especially are paid far more than they are actually contributing to the university.

Also, much of it is historical. Once productive faculty members when times were flush were given big raises, but have since declined in productivity.

Because of tenure and the lack of strong leadership, these individuals are allowed to coast while they collect their large salaries.

KU needs a top to bottom review. Every faculty member and administrator must justify, in real terms, their contributions to the university: monetary, reputation, administrative effectiveness and ideas, initiatives, etc. Compensation should be reconsidered accordingly.

Until this happens, these sorts of gross pay disparities will continue to plague the university, undermining morale of the productive but low-paid faculty as well as undermining the university in the eyes of the state.

newmedia 4 years ago

Just raise tuition again. It has never stopped KU in the past!

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Yeah, unlike every other good or service, the cost of education goes up (rolls eyes in wonder at the vacuousness of statement).

George Lippencott 4 years ago

And the taxpayers are not showing the effects of the prolonged budget ne salary squeeze.

Th people paying all the bills are hurting and the people living off them are still in the past where demanding more got you more. The times they are a changing!!

How about more articles about inpacts on the taxpayers and fewer articles about impacts on the tax spenders.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Good idea, but remember that only 25% of KU's expenditures come from tax dollars. The remainder come from tuition, research grants, and donations.

My guess is that oil companies receive more tax payer support in the form of subsidies and tax breaks than does KU.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Not the point, but why aren't you after the oil companies?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

For what?

The fact that they make a profit?? The fact that our elected officials have given them tax breaks? The fact that they are gouging us and our elected officials have done nothing.

volunteer 4 years ago

KU still has a Provost for Diversity, right? Does anyone in the decision-making loop dare suggest eliminating that position...or would such a suggestion be career-suicide on the Hill?

I can't blame professors for being reluctant "in a pinch" to teach more hours voluntarily or take on more responsibilities. In many places where I have worked, the employer would forget the "in a pinch" part and expect the added workload every year.

The custodian and the lawn mowing fella I know working at KU say that they are expected to clean more rooms and mow a bigger area than a few years ago. This is similar to what I heard at the recent family picnic. The Target warehouse woman is expected to unload more items per shift than before this Recession, the bricklayer now must also do drywall and painting to keep up his mortgage payment, etc.

Alceste 4 years ago

Identifies our grossly underpaid Provost for Diversity as one Alfred Rodriguez . Gosh......this poor fellow was only given $140,000.12 in 2010; $142,753.25 in 2009; $129,617.98 in 2008; and a mere $119,094.39 in 2007.

Alceste certainly hopes he's brought to above the poverty level with this Provost for Diversity slot. This situation here in Kansas is just getting worser and worser. shaking head: only $140,000.12 in 2010. How does this person pay the darn water bill let alone buy a hamburger?

MyName 4 years ago

Again, I don't get it. If you're so smart why don't you start your own McDiploma Education program where everyone makes minimum wage and you can get a 4-year degree in 3-years, with fries. Then see who wants to go to school there.

notanota 4 years ago

As a professor. He's earning slightly above the university average and now has an administrative position. Why don't you go get your Ed.D. and get back to me on how easy that is and how overpaid you are in your job.

Alceste 4 years ago

Don't leave out the ethanol/corn scam in the form of subsidies and price supports to Kansas "farmers" (choke Business People is a more appropriate term, actually):

Let us take a look....oh....just for a moment.... at just the corn subsidies: :

Corn Subsidies** in Kansas totaled $2.8 billion from 1995-2010.

And here we have the top 19 recipients in Kansas:

Dang welfare recipients.

But let's get back to figuring out just how on Earth we're gonna be able to help these underpaid, overworked, and poverty stricken "university" ....well....slaves....for lack of a better term.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

Does anyone know if there are minimum hours of classroom instruction required of KU professors? The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article last month about a study showing the University of Texas could cut tuition in half by simply requiring the bulk of the faculty to devote 200 hours per year to the classroom (or about 10% of a 40-hour workweek).

Full story is at

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

Really? What would make up for all the lost research dollars? Pixie dust?

Because the study also mocks research as "obscure articles published in even more obscure journals on topics of trivial importance". Maybe, but it is also revenue generating and important for university rankings.

Governor Brownback says he wants our Regents schools to be top research institutions and to move up in the national rankings. Interesting the Koch Policy Institute disagrees.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

There you go again, making unfounded claims. I simply asked if anyone knew how many hours professors are required to spend in the classroom. Of course you don't want to lose important research dollars, but you can still examine how employees spend their time to see if there are opportunities for improvement.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

So then you do support Gov Brownback? More flip flopping.

notanota 4 years ago

That depends on whether or not you want to offer graduate degrees and attract out of state students and research grants.

Teri Chambers 4 years ago

I don't know if there is an actual hour requirement, but I know that tenured/tenure track faculty are supposed to teach 2 classes a semester. There are exceptions. Chairs, program directors and the like only need to teach two classes in an academic year. Faculty can "buy out" a semester of teaching, but I'm not sure what all that entails. Visiting faculty or lecturers can teach 2-3 classes a semester.

two classes are 9 hrs a week, add 3 + for office hours, then time for class prep, grading is around 20 hrs a week.

wastewatcher 4 years ago

The examples listed do not seem like a significant sacrifice to me. Look at each one of them carefully and it is simply common sense and the kind of adjustments families make every day. So to me, KU and all the Regents Institutions should simply get to work and quit whining.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Agreed. Indeed, I think most at KU realize the situation, are not whining, and are working harder and doing more for the same or less compensation.

However, when asked about the effects of a budget reduction, this is what they say. I don't see it as whining, but then you are predisposed to think KU employees whine, so that is what you hear.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

yourworstnightmare (anonymous) says… Good idea, but remember that only 25% of KU's expenditures come from tax dollars. The remainder come from tuition, research grants, and donations."

By the by - and I have written about the following - Raising tuition puts the burden on the same taxpayers to pay that tuition or on the student to borrow excessive amounts of money to pay that tuition.

I sure would like to see which departments get what in the way of grants and corporate money. The sums are nice but I suspect it may not be uniform.

I think it is time to demand more time in the classroom for the professors, fewer helpers for the professors, slower salary growth for the professors, fewer professors, more focus on basics and less duplication among and between universities in our state system.

I think a commission composed of taxpayers and executive with few if any academics should be created to define what we need in the way of graduates. Statistics show excessively many graduates working outside their fields as there is no and never was demand for that specialty.

In summary, our higher education institutions have become self-licking ice cream cones that define what is required to graduate and then graduate a whole lot of people with no skills wanted by the economy.

Moreover, do not bother to tell me that we should tax people to hire those skills in government jobs as opposed to not graduating such skills using the citizens’ money.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

"By the by - and I have written about the following - Raising tuition puts the burden on the same taxpayers to pay that tuition or on the student to borrow excessive amounts of money to pay that tuition. "

Of course. There is no free ride George. You gotta pay for it one way or the other.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Well, as I suggested we could pay less

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

And what evidence have you based this on? Do you think that education is immune from economic forces, forces that have with rare exception driven up the cost of every other good and service in the country and world?

Sometimes your insulated naivete is charming, but apparently comes from a man who has never left the confines of safe little old Kansas.

MyName 4 years ago

You don't seem to get exactly what your proposing would accomplish: people who already take less pay than they could get in the private sector (e.g. Scientific, Technical, Medical fields) in order to be able to study what interests them at a research university would have less time for research and less assistance.

This means more of them would either go into the private sector, or (more likely) decide to go work at a different institution. This also means KU gets less talented professors and fewer grants (which make up a sizable portion of the budget, nearly as much as what the state brings in).

And the Universities don't decide what to major in, the students do. If their skills aren't lining up with the economy, then maybe they need to take a different course load. Or maybe the problem is that businesses want to hire employees with X abilities, and universities want to graduate students with Y abilities and so businesses need to find some other metric than a college degree to figure out how to measure their employee's abilities.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

George, I do appreciate your call for more accountability for professors and administrators. They are highly paid professionals and should be expected to perform to high standards.

However, you fail to grasp the mission of KU and other research universities. You wrongly think that their sole mission is classroom teaching.

There is a difference between a liberal arts college and a research university. KU is a research university, which expects 40% effort toward teaching (classroom time and prep time, which can be quite a lot). Throw in graduate education as well.

KU faculty are expected to spend 40% of their time on research and scholarship, the difference between a research university and a liberal arts college. The remaining 20% is service to the university and academic community.

So, before you start proclaiming what KU should and shouldn't do, maybe you should learn more about the purpose and mission of the institution you target.

lily 4 years ago

There are some gross differences in the pay across KU. Gross in more ways than one.
Housekeeping doesn't get paid squat and other support staff who make below 40k .A lot of these people have to fork over their own money for like parking and other things to make their work environment a little better. Can't even get a decent pen or pencil to use. There is management/professional staff that seem to grow in numbers. Can't figure that one out. Cut a lower position or student hours but create an upper level one. Hmmmm. Some faculty are worth more than their paid. Others, well, just talk to some students. And yes, KU is a research university which is very apparent to new students and their family. Why do we even have undergraduates?

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

I agree that what KU has done to support staff is very sad. However, when faced with a budget shortfall, KU chose to adhere to its mission as an institution of learning and research and to cut back on support staff.

This is what happens in budget shortfalls. Institutions make priorities about where money should be spent.

If you are angry about the support staff, blame the state legislature for underfunding KU for years and forcing KU to make prioritizations, which happen in the private sector constantly.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

"And yes, KU is a research university which is very apparent to new students and their family. Why do we even have undergraduates? "

Certainly no one is forcing anyone to go to KU. There are plenty of liberal arts colleges around, such as Baker, Pitt State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Washburn. Also, lots of community colleges.

I would ceertainly advise any student who is unhappy about the teaching at KU to transfer to one of these schools.

An education at a research university is not for everyone.

FlintlockRifle 4 years ago

Welcome to retirement , no raise here Mr. & Mrs. Professors

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Actually, I think KU employees will get a 2% raise this year because of the tuition increase.

rockchalk77 4 years ago

Nationally respected professors bring in research and grant money that helps the university as a whole. If they leave for jobs elsewhere whatever you are saving on their salary is going to be completely wiped out by the grant and research money and IP they take with them.

Are some people paid too much for their jobs? Sure. Find me a place where that isn't the case. However aggravating that might be, those people are usually the exception, and not reflective of the whole.

SnakeFist 4 years ago

One major problem is a lack of leadership to focus on the primary mission of the university. Get rid of the two rec centers (its not a country club), the health center (there's a hospital in town), and the flowers for starters. I understand that these are supported by student fees or dedicated budgets, but if you lower fees then you can increase tuition by an equal amount without taking more money from the students. And why are we still budgetting for landscaping when that money could be shifted in the initial budget request?

Another major problem is employee accountability. The teaching loads at KU are very low, and relatively few professors are engaged in research that brings in significant amounts of grant or other funding. I've seen professors jogging at 10:00am or leaving to pick up children at 3:00pm every day, and some departments only schedule classes between 10:00am and 2:00pm so everyone can come in late and go home early. Many faculty at JCCC, WU, and KU have part- or even full-time jobs on the side (several psychology professors, for example, are running private practices during regular working hours).

melott 4 years ago

How often have you seen professors working in their homes on Saturday? Oops, you can't see that.

SnakeFist 4 years ago

Given that undergraduate graders and GTAs are doing all the grading, holding the office hours, and giving the review sessions, and given that GRAs are doing a great deal of the research dirty-work, there isn't anything for a professor to do on a Saturday.

Seriously melott, as someone who has taught or is teaching at KU, WU, and JCCC, I can tell you that most professors are not working anything close to a 40 hour week.

notaubermime 4 years ago

I was a GTA in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at KU and can tell you for a fact that you are wrong. Professors grade, hold office hours, give review sessions, conduct research, manage grants, oversee graduate and undergraduate research assistants, are active in departmental boards, participate in scientific societies, and other tasks besides. I'm sorry if your experience involved professors that did not work hard, but to generalize that to an entire university is highly inaccurate.

notanota 4 years ago

If you're only hanging out with the other adjuncts, I can see why you'd think that.

queenshims 4 years ago

well, adjuncts like you don't need to work on Saturdays and they sure don't do much grading do they? I am a recent PhD from KU and have worked as a GTA for many years and I can tell you that Professors teach, grade, hold office hours and supervise students on top of doing their own research and other services everyday. That is why, Professors like Dr. Melott are full Professors in a R1 Institution and well known in the academic and scientific community and people like you are stuck at JCCC. If you had done even half the work that he does at this age, you would have been a full Professor at a better institution and would not have to go from KU to WU to JCCC. Jealousy never helped anyone, so stop being so goddamn jealous and bitter.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Ah, the research university thing raises its ugly head. Doing research in fields of interest where there is no commercial application should be strictly controlled. If the research returns little or nothing then that research thread should be reduced or ended. Yes, a society needs to do research. That said we cannot allow the researchers to determine by themselves what research is appropriate. Being human, they will pursue things of little values to the society but of great interest to them. Research in science and engineering returns. Research in other areas not so much.

notanota 4 years ago

You're not familiar with how this whole "grant" thing works, are you?

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

George, I am really trying hard to not call you ignorant, but if the shoe fits....

Yes, we already know most things there are to know and we can precisely predict which new knowledge will spur the next economic/medical/political/technological boom.

You should start the University of Known Things with programs in rote repetition, memorizing facts and processes, and mindless implementation. Oh yeah, it was called the dark ages.

Really, George. I expected more out of even you, because you seem to at least pay lip service to economic growth and stimulation.

You are very, very ignorant of research and the discovery process, George.

I actually agree with you that science and engineering have demonstrated in the past their effectiveness over social sciences and humanities.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Nice of you to damn me without damming me. Several of you come from the perspective of the knowledge community. I come from the perspective of a taxpayer. Our priorities are very different.

Now, I fully support using our professors to work on grants. As long as there are grants that pay their full costs then that effort should not impact taxes or tuition. It is only when we spend a lot of time and resources chasing grants that materialize as a small percentage of that effort that I question what we are doing. My comments were about cost not about grants.

Research supported by the tax payers and tuition are another matter. How about we talk about that for a bit? What is our ROI on this level of research?

Hate to tell you this but another part of my past had me in the grant generating business working with DARPA. Such investments are important. I do not question them. I do question setting arbitrary goals (40%) and seemingly establishing all research as of equal value. In essence I demand a positive ROI on the "grant world".

Sometimes you have to slow the train down or it jumps the tracks. When the taxpayers are hurting then it is that time. When "good times" return we can increase our emphasis on knowledge based endeavors.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

The jealousy at professors on the site is oozing.

Want to get paid like a professor? Work your arse off for little or no pay through your twenties, live hand to mouth during this time, delay having a "life", and finally land a job when you are in your late twenties to mid thirties.

No, instead you jealous complainers slacked off in school, didn't take advantage of your education, got a menial job out of high school or maybe some college, and settled down with a $30k a year job, a little house, a little wife, and a coupe of kids in your early to mid twenties.

A nice, comfortable, easy, path of least resistance life.

And now you are jealous of hard-working professionals who pursued their education and achieved their goals.


Ayn Rand called people like you "mediocrities". It fits.

notanota 4 years ago

Indeed. There's no point in demonizing the professional class. Aim higher.

Alceste 4 years ago

Or we made fortunes actually working in the real world; invested very slowy and conservativley; lost nothing in either of the "bubble issues"; learned how to control our "wants" and "needs"; and were educated by professors who weren't quite so interested in going to the bank to make deposits ever 20mins. What was that one guys name ....Leland Pritchard who taught a course called "Personal Finance".....well...anyway.....I think that was his name

I dunno.....kind of reads like you're the bitter one, eh, yourworstnigtmare?

And I see no purpose whatsoever to perpetuate a sadly mutated system which clearly isn't working and don't want MY money wasted on it. Do what you will with yours....but don't tell me I have to participate in funding the folly of the "university" of Kansas.

For that matter, why on earth does this hillbilly, red neck laden, politically correct, what's academic freedome anyway.....I just want to get paid underpopulated backwater state require so many dang colleges? 2...maybe 3....public institutions of "higher learning" are enough.

That's right, yourworstnightmare, we DO walk amongst you and we're probably yourworstnightmare...

notaubermime 4 years ago

Yup, that KU is sure a folly.

The Kansas Geological Survey at KU? Why would Kansas need to know the state of large geological resources like aquifers, gas and oil reserves? Why should we want to explore new energy sources or better ways of utilizing tapped resources or monitoring geologic activity?

The Kansas Biological Survey? Naw, we don't need to know the state of our reservoirs or how quickly sediment is building. We certainly don't need to manage wildlife areas or even know what is in them.

Why should I care that researchers at the KU Natural History Museum are developing ways of modeling and predicting the spread of invasive pests. Who really needs to be prepared anyway?

The cancer research center? Pretty sure I can pray that disease away.

For that matter, who needs a medical center or school of pharmacy?

Law school? Yeah, like we don't have enough lawyers as it is.

Engineering? Come on, do we really need our interstate bridges to be that safe?

School of Business? Just hire people from Florida.

Shall I go on?

Alceste 4 years ago

Hmmmmm....notaubermime.....I discover via your own posts that you've left Larryville "...after 25 years....." for New York? Finally figured out they're no jobs here? Or, finally figure out there's no "culture" here....well...unless you count Free State Brewery as THE place to be seen.....; Or, maybe, just maybe, you decided to get a fancy Easty Coasty degree....or ....well...really.....who cares and what does it matter? To paraphrase Dorothy "YOU'RE not in Kansas anymore".

KU is a caricature of what it once was. There's no turning back, either. It is what it is.

notaubermime 4 years ago

That would be a "no" to all of your questions, though I did use my fancy KU-y degree to get a decent job with great benefits on the East Coast.

I may not be in Kansas anymore, but KU still has those programs. Ignore them all you want, the benefit they provide to Kansas exists regardless of your bias.

Alceste 4 years ago

Thanks for your reply. However, I don't buy that you left Kansas simply on a whim....there was a driving element that had to do with just how jacked up this place is and has been for a long, long time.

To confront just a handful of your "loves": Kansas ain't gonna find no cancer cure to nothing. God forbid if you have some medical malady in this cowbow state: Go to the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic or John's Hopkins: See all this "duplication" to be "world class" is a WASTE of MY money if it's publically funded; The "Law" school? Useless.....Washburn trains better lawyers if you're going to "practice" "law" in Kansas.....and law is all about deal making's not about doing the right tears being shed here...; Um....which "wildlife area" is being served in this state? We're slash and burn baby....slash and burn.....get out the gun and the DDT. Waste of time.....; Only people from KU know how to build a bridge that will work in Kansas? That guy in Bridge over The River Kwai wasn't an engineer and his worked dang good!

I gotta make a special entry/paragraph for the "school" of business. You're pulling my leg, right? Seriously.....the school of business at KU is significant? It's significant only in that it pays incredibly stupid people oscene amounts of money to talk, talk, talk. Would you like some specific names and examples of people employed by the "school" of business and the sham of an operation it equates to? Take a look, as an example, at the Multicultural Business Scholars Program as but one example. What the hey does that outfit do? why the hey am I paying to support that?

All in's not necessary. I'm glad for you that you found the way out of Kansas. I'm certain you'll never regret your decision. See ya!

notaubermime 4 years ago

I never said I did it on a whim, I just said that what you suggested wasn't the case. I left Kansas because I had lived there for 25 years. Sometimes you need to experience something new and that holds no matter what part of the country you live in.

I thought about taking the time to show what is wrong with your criticisms, but most of them seem to be saying 'Kansas won't ever amount to anything so there is no point in trying.' Well, I'm sorry that you hate Kansas that much and I hope that you will someday have an opportunity to move to a state you love and respect.

Alceste 4 years ago

Johnny come lately poser, methinks: I'm a 5th generation Lawrence homey who has lived all over the world and thus HAVE done exactly what you're doing, finally, after TWENTY FIVE YEARS! Once a person LEAVES Lawrence and does so with open eyes and ears, one will discover just how jacked up Kansas is. Lawrence likes to think it's "special" when compared to the rest of Kansas. It's not. It's as hillbilly, backwater, and inane as the rest of the state if not moreso because the opportunity to be actually different WAS here. However, with the death of academic freedom; the proliferation of political correctness; and the rest of the silly aspects of "university" life, I am convinced it is just a vast wasteland and burden on the taxpayer. Dismantle it. Take it down. All at once, or one piece at a time. Oh, but let's make certain one more production of "Cats" takes place by our world class theatre department before anything else.

notanota 4 years ago

Why do we require so many colleges? Perhaps you should ask the record-breaking number of students who are now enrolled in them.

Alceste 4 years ago

I don't care what those children have to say, notanota. I've half-way convinced that the majority of them are "in school" to avoid real life; are encouraged to obtain loans to feed the industry; are further encouraged to obtain more loans by the "school" itself so that the "school" can, well, pay these horridly low salarie....and are, yet again, further encouraged to take all the time they need to graduate. 5-6 years for an undergraduate degree????? As the NORM???? 12 credit hours is considered full time?????? Good grief. These kids are avoiding much and at a high price. Talk to some of'll hear pearls of wisdom like "This loan isn't important. They can't make me pay it if I don't have any money"; "There won't be social security when I'm 65 so I don't need to work to earn Social Security quarters"; blah, blah, blah.

The entire concept of "advanced education" needs a top to bottom redfinition. Most of the kids are better off going to trade schools. If they want to get a degree in Shakespear and Lesbianism, fine....but no post degree employment prospects for you.

Too, how many of those that enter, actually finish? I believe there were some damning statistics on that: "According to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, of the 2005 incoming freshmen class only 32 percent graduated in 2009, and that’s after the 20 percent that leave after their first year." "The KU average is above the 28 percent four-year graduation rate for public universities but below the national average of 36 percent for all four-year institutions, according to the Higher Educational Institute."

It's really all one big joke.

notanota 4 years ago

So how exactly does one major in Shakespear[sic] or lesbianism? I don't see them listed as degree offerings.

If you want to argue that universities should have higher admission standards, affordable tuition, and route many of the students through community colleges or technical schools, I won't disagree. If you want to argue that today's students face an unemployment dystopia that will make repaying student loans difficult, I won't disagree with you there, either.

However, I'm not seeing a cohesive and compelling argument for any sort of change from your posts. I'm just seeing froth at educated professionals and future educated professionals, especially those in the public sector. You're not going to improve the prospects for today's students by dismantling their only means for upward mobility.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago


You must consider the source of this rampant anger and jealousy.

It comes from a person who took the easy path and is now jealous that others are being rewarded for hard work and success.

A mediocrity, in other words. alceste et al. are clearly not concerned with making things better or more functional. Rather, they want to destroy that which is the object of their jealousy.

notanota 4 years ago

I wouldn't call the life of an unskilled worker "easy," but it is certainly the path of least resistance.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

"That's right, yourworstnightmare, we DO walk amongst you and we're probably yourworstnightmare... "

Nope, just a bunch of jealous mediocrities who have taken the easy path in life.

And now you re jealous of driven, motivated, successful (and well-compensated) professionals.

Alceste 4 years ago

You know, you're a rather small source of amsument.

Mediocrity underscores what KU is all about: An institution, once hallowed, but not filled to the brim with cowering dogs who do not champion academic freedom; who embrace political correctness; and are just in it for the money. "....driven, motivated, successful (and well-compensated) professionals...."? Buddy, you ARE describing Alceste.

I admire the plumbers and the electricians and the cable pullers out there, but I like my blue jeans and pima cotton shirts after 35+ years of suits and ties and sticking it to the corporately connected with the knowledge I obtained AFTER completing 3 degrees at good 'ole KU. (That getting down on your hands and knees stuff; working in inclement weather; etc. catches up with you after 40....NO THANKS). However, didn't take me almost 2 decades to do it; got out not owing a dime to anyone.....have 1 Piled High and Deep (what a joke....looking at that freaking cmte. and doing everything I could to not burst out laughing....) 1 Masters; and 1 JD. But Alceste didn't even think to seek a "job" on the dole of a "university". Nope, Alceste got him his....all legal....all protected.....and more than I care to discuss.

The jealous are those such as yourself who don't understand the process because you only know how to read. You don't know how to implement.

I'm not interested in "making things work" at the "university". I'm interested in dismantling it. Totally. Good Bye. Good Riddance. And, while a Don Quioxte like gives me something to do in between clipping those coupons, counting, and well....being Alceste.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Excuse me. My career followed the path you outlined. Earned two masters on my own time while serving the people. Income was very limited. In time I became the equivalent of a professor in my profession. From the data I have gleaned from the Regents web site I would have been very happy to earn what they earn.

Some of the people questioning your truth are not bible toting, gun carrying xenophobes.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Thought so.

How were you "serving the people"?

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Military and federal government service. What exactly have you done for the people of Kansas? Invent anything?

Alceste 4 years ago


That poster will never reveal what he's/she's done because there's nothing to reveal. The folly of youth and all that.....a perpetual student is my bet or an angry wannabe "professor" type or a "university" unclassified staffer who fears.....fears for their own personal financial future.

The poster in question has no clue what it is like to "serve" as you have done or as I have done (An Loc, April 1972; overrun hellhole). Let alone "serving" inside the "belly of the beast" of government which is it's own unique hellhole if you don't play the game.

Yessir....what we have here Moderate is a card carrying, headbobbing, "YES person" who is embittered after the fact that when they took the deal.....they neglected to include the KY jelly in the fine print.......shrug.......

Alceste 4 years ago

what utter arrogance and wanton contempt you show for the working man. I expect you're quite a joy to be around at one of those wine and cheese affairs as you discuss banal, inconsequential, small talk based nothingness because you signed up for having your pro-creation device removed? Seemingly, you enjoy to run down those who do NOT make the kind of money either you do make or aspire to make. That's worse than mediocre. That's outright snobbery!! Only validating my viewpoint even more so of the "university" and "Snob Hill". I guess there was and IS a reason that's what it's been called for many, many decades.....

Your disdain for common people is duly noted. Too, your anger at your own lack of progress within what we'll call your "dream" is entertaining.....because it's pretty clear you're not where you want to be.....still have some "youth" in you and yet participate in a silly message board! My excuse is that I do NOT have any "youth" left in me; don't want any "youth" left in me; and just like to write checks to outfits that will impact on the landscape, so to speak. Sometimes I swing Right....other times I'm way out there to the left......the deal is I have the time, energy, and, most importantly, the MONEY to do it. Shhhh.....don't be telling nobody......sometimes I like to play like I'm poor.........shhhh....mums the word.....honor amonst thieves and all that.

As for the OpenGov website....who cares if it's set up by those guys? It's a functional tool. Annoys the Hades out of the people who get called on their pay too!!! hahahahahahahahahahaha

naturalist 4 years ago

Just for the record so you all understand where the information you're being spoon fed these days comes from, Dave Trabert works for Kansas Policy Institute, which is a Koch Brothers funded agency: Kansas Policy Institute (founded by Cato Institute supporters in 1996 to "mirror... the work CATO had accomplished on the national level")

notanota 4 years ago


The long-term goal is to privatize the university even more than it already is with the idea that the "market" will decide the value of the education. The flaw in the plan is that it further drives the wedge between the haves and have nots, making education even less attainable by the working and middle class.

notanota 4 years ago

For starters, they'd do away with in-state tuition. The only reason it exists at all is because they're a public institution.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

That's interesting. Sounds sought of stupid!! What other hair-brained ideas do they have?

notanota 4 years ago

That's what every private institution does. They'd also avoid having to go through the Regents to approve funding requests or show you where the money goes. Your best bet for low tuition is to keep KU as a well-funded public institution.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

Will they not have comntrol of the Regents before the governor runs again?

He did traget some money for engineering to KU outside of the Regents didn't he?

I do agree that they want the individual to pay more of the cost of their education but I am not sure how they would implement that. The individual already pays most of it

notanota 4 years ago

Privatization is purely hypothetical. I doubt any of this would actually come to pass, because I think the pendulum will eventually swing in the other direction, and we'll realize that the free market can't solve every problem.

As far as it goes, I think the governor personally would rather keep the university under tighter state control. All the better to hand pick administrators and department chairs for political purposes.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

How would he do the latter. I thought the rules of the university limilted the potential for messing below thge top level???

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

Just so everyone has the facts, notanota is making all of this up. Kansas Policy Institute is a small independent organization that takes no direction from outside sources. And we have not even looked at things like in-state tuition or approving funding through the Regents, let alone take a position. Sadly, some people like to fabricate stories to demonize those with opinions that differ from their own.

Speaking of facts, all of the information on KansasOpenGov comes directly from government.

notanota 4 years ago

Indeed. Only government sources of information. You do like to point that out. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

No direction from outside sources, because you're already a Koch-funded libertarian group with common ties to Cato. Your goal is to shrink the government and lower taxes. That much we can get from the front page of your website ( other than your admission of Koch funding. You're oddly opaque in your funding sources for an organization that advocates for transparency in others, Dave. )

The libertarian position would be that markets should run universities, not governments. Hence, not a leap that the long-term goal and hidden motive here is privatization.

Now, the obvious first step, were this libertarian goal of privatization to happen, is that in-state tuition goes away. That's just what happens at private universities. We get state discounts because our taxes fund the institution. I never said you said anything about in-state tuition or Regents control. That was just speculation on the consequences of the long-term erosion of state funding for higher education, but it did give you the chance to demonize someone with an opinion that differs from yours.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

DaveTrabert says... Just so everyone has the facts, notanota is making all of this up. Kansas Policy Institute is a small independent organization that takes no direction from outside sources.

Funny, for years the Koch Policy Institute has been crying about job numbers, based on BLS data.

Today, Gov. Sam Brownback claimed he has created over 3,000 new jobs since taking office in January. The BLS data tells a different story.

Did the Koch Policy Institute point that out, the way the Koch Policy Institute has manipulated BLS data to go after the previous Democratic administrations?

Nope. Gee, I wonder what is different about the current administration from the previous two...

notanota 4 years ago

They're not taking direction from outside sources. They're just taking money from outside sources and giving them the answers they want to hear. Dave knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Dave Trabert 4 years ago

I think you misunderstood what was said. The comment I saw referenced efforts of Commerce and other agencies, which is only isloated data referencing a few companies and unrelated to total employment. Here's what was said in their press release:

Since taking office on January 10th, the Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation and other agencies have worked with dozens of companies to either move to them to Kansas or expand their current operations, creating 3,163 jobs.

Carol Bowen 4 years ago

The largest chunk of an educational institution's budget is salaries. Level salary funding is a given, for now. My concern is the expanding programs and facilities. Total student enrollment has been stable, but KU continues to add buildings that must be programmed, staffed, and maintained. The older buildings are suffering. Focus on them.

notanota 4 years ago

Often it's easier to build new than it is to maintain old. Speculating here, but they probably get donor money earmarked for new buildings or fund them from sources that can't be used for salaries.

Carol Bowen 4 years ago

There's the crux of the matter. KU would have to expand facilities management to maintain.

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