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KU chancellor writes that possible state budget cuts would mean loss of at least 38 faculty jobs

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For the second time in a few weeks, a message from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Monday addresses state budget cuts. And this one puts a number on the kind of effect the possible cuts being debated by the Kansas Legislature might have.

Gray-Little writes that the higher-education cuts being debated would force KU to eliminate at least 38 faculty jobs. That would seem to dampen the impact of the university's effort to fill 64 newly created faculty positions by a bit.

KU spokesman Jack Martin clarified for me that the 38 number is referring to the higher-ed cut being pushed by state House budget leaders, which would be 4 percent across the board. (The Journal-World's Scott Rothschild reported last week that, on the eve of a monthlong break at the Statehouse, those leaders were backing off from those proposed cuts.) Senate leaders have recommended a 2 percent cut.

Gray-Little's letter mentions fears that cuts could mean KU couldn't keep its top faculty from bolting to other universities that offer them more money, turning KU into a mere "farm team" for other institutions.

That brings us back to some of that faculty salary survey information I was yapping about earlier today. That Chronicle of Higher Education report on salaries showed that the gap in faculty pay between private universities and public ones is growing wider every year. In a story on the trend, the president of Florida State University also uses the "farm team" phrase, saying it's already happening there because of budget cuts.

The difference is even bigger at the top of the faculty pay scale: Full professors are earning an average of $140,000 at private colleges and about $110,000 at public ones. Around the country, state cuts are hampering budgets at some public universities, but private institutions haven't had to worry about that.

At KU, Gray-Little writes, the elimination of faculty jobs would mean KU wouldn't fill jobs left by departing professors. As Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Danny Anderson told me in February, this means that the reduction in force can have little to do with where the most teaching and research is needed; it all comes down to who happens to retire or take another job.

We'll keep you updated on what happens. But only if you keep up your end of the deal and get those KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com.

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  • Comments

    friendlyjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

    Hmmmmmmm, must have 38 faculty members they want to get rid of. Such an odd number to be quoted.

    Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 8 months ago

    Excellent news if you're uninformed.

    These are the kinds of actions that can cause a nationally renowned university to be booted out of the Association of American Universities. That would cost you, me, and every person in the state something it could not get back. What you mean, if you understand much, is that it would be great if 38 more renowned professors were hired at the University of Kansas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universi...

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    Oh yes. Those darned liberal elite doctors, architects, chemists, computer programers, and aerospace engineers. We certainly don't need any of them in our state with their hard work and real job values, and we don't need our city patronized by well-educated people earning upper middle class incomes and spending their cash in the local economy to support the businesses and workers in the area.

    Everyone knows that being a professor is totally easy and doesn't at all involve being a student for 12 or more years and earning squat and then finally (maybe) getting a decent paying job and then publishing lots of research on top of designing your own curriculum, presenting material, and grading papers, because after seven years of doing this, a committee can tell you whether or not you get to keep that job. Moochers!

    You certainly are very informed, but not with actual facts.

    Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 8 months ago

    Meanwhile, what are the teacher's assistants doing? Is publish or perish keeping professors out of the classroom? Just asking.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    My understanding is that publishing is part of the many things professors need to do, including keeping a teaching load. They also handle the grad students, which adds to their load, because it's more intensive and requires more individual attention. They do use lots of TAs to teach the intro classes - the argument being that it then gives the TA experience as a professor that they'll need to land a job. There's an argument for attending a non-research university as an undergrad, since you'll be taught by professors for all your classes.

    I'd love to see us embrace Sweden's model, where doctoral students do teach, but they're actual paid employees that earn about $40,000 a year. It's a very competitive process with only a few slots each year, but it benefits both the university and the students.

    Patricia Davis 1 year, 8 months ago

    In our state's history, the core of education's expenses was to be the burden of the state—all of us—contributing to the noble idea of higher education. The endowment's role was to provide a better than the state could alone. That is, supplementary not primary.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    Welcome to what happens with private donor money. Expect more silly spending and weird restrictions if public funds are cut, not less.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    Sure. They could reject an offer of money to build some something or other than a donor wanted to build. But that wouldn't give the taxpayers a break.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    How is showcasing the original basketball rules and its historical significance to KU not protecting the integrity of the institution?

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    his·to·ry

    /ˈhist(ə)rē/

    Noun

    The study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

    The past considered as a whole.

    Jen43 1 year, 8 months ago

    Are these real people being laid off or just "Positions" to be lost? In the past there have been unfilled Positions which were never filled, but the money was used for other purposes.

    Richard Heckler 1 year, 8 months ago

    This is becoming more and more like the RT wing approach to kill public education in an effort to make public education a corporate for profit enterprise complete with fraud on the taxpayers.

    Seems like the Kansas republicans are aiming at our universities to make them private business operations. Cutting tax dollar funding is the first step. Then we'll be hearing public higher education institutes are evil.

    Of course "private business operations" may sound good to the misinformed. These right wing private business concepts are supported with lots and lots of tax dollars = guaranteed profits.

    Magically more tax dollars will surface again for the corporate managed education facilities.

    Not good ideas at all. How can Kansas afford to vote right wing politics?

    SnakeFist 1 year, 8 months ago

    It disturbs me that the response is to eliminate faculty and not administrative positions, eliminate services that are not essential to the teaching mission, or cut back on the flower budget for landscaping. Other area schools are making similar mistakes, especially replacing full-time faculty with cheap adjuncts while creating more and more administrative positions.

    Academia will soon look like your average corporation: A bloated executive class overseeing under-compensated, over-worked assembly line workers.

    Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 8 months ago

    He was downright giddy about Hurricane Sandy going after the liberal elite back east, declaring it was a sign his god was displeased. Shows you just what a backward zealot he is. His "morality" and the Taliban's aren't really that different.

    tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

    With that argument, then the wild fires in Texas were sent out to wipe out the conservatives there. Of course, I believe in science, not God's wrath.

    Greg Cooper 1 year, 8 months ago

    Sure sounds like a great idea, though, doesn't it?

    mscynners 1 year, 8 months ago

    They need to eliminate 38 UPS "director/assistant director" administrator positions that the 2million dollar+ consultants "HURON" said were needed to bring KU forward.......HA! They got a bunch of people running around with titles making at least 50k going to meetings, meetings, meetings implementing changes that don't work.....back tracking and more meetings attempting to figure out fixes to the changes... and the everyday peeps get more piled on without pay increases...oh excuse me we did get abit of one last year after about a 3year absence. Just so much BSing........ HOWEVER most of us "peeps" are definitely thankful and fortunate to have jobs with benefits so this is not a complaint... just an opinion!

    Centerville 1 year, 8 months ago

    Since she's the highest paid state employee, she should take a hit, too.

    Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 8 months ago

    According to the Kansas Policy Institute website, she's far from the highest paid state employee. She's not even the highest paid employee at KU.

    Dave Trabert 1 year, 8 months ago

    That is correct. She is the 4th highest paid state employee at $433,950 for 2012. The highest paid is Executive Vice Chancellor of KU Med Center at $789,928...followed by KU Athletic Director at $500,000 and a KU Med Center chairperson at $434,048.

    Of course, our listing at http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovt/PayListings/tabid/792/Default.aspx does not include coaches or any other university employees who are paid with privately-raised funds.

    Jack Martin 1 year, 8 months ago

    It is important to note that for all of those individuals state funds only cover a portion of their salaries. For example, more than half of the athletics director's salary is paid by private funds. And clinical income comprises a significant portion of many KUMC salaries.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    What's your salary, Dave? Must be getting higher in order to afford those new digs in the most expensive county in the state, speaking of getting paid with privately raised funds.

    Phillbert 1 year, 8 months ago

    Donations to the institute are tax deductible, meaning the donors shift the cost to the rest of us taxpayers. Which pretty much matches with the policies they advocate.

    chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

    Socialize the risks, privatize the benefits. Hold everyone else to a standard that you don't apply to yourself. It's how the Kochs roll.

    TongiJayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

    What makes you think they are going to cut Faculty positions? Staff are always the ones who are let go to cover these budget cuts. I would bet that every Dean has a faculty member they would rather see cut, but TENURE prevents that!

    koman 1 year, 8 months ago

    And so the race to the bottom continues. Less tax revenue = a decline in public education and infrastructure. That will attract businesses, right? Old brownie couldn't even keep a company like Alco - with ancient ties to Kansas - around. It's only going to get worse....

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