Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Seattle PI is reporting that the University of Washington is going to raise tuition rates by 7%. According to the PI, they are doing this because "the UW has chosen to increase tuition by the maximum amount to close a funding gap between it and its peer institutions, Provost Phyllis Wise said." I will give you a translation: "the UW is doing this because everyone else is doing it too." Although, she goes on to talk about the improvements that the raises will give (scholarships, advisement, classroom technologies and faculty salaries). This still really just causes me to be angry.

Why? Because Universities around the US have been raising their tuition at nearly twice the rate of inflation (or more in some cases) for many years now and there have been fewer and fewer tenured faculty positions to show for it. They have replaced them with adjunct faculty who have fewer rights and less job security while stiffing the students at the same time. This is what happens when Professors lose control of a University to the administrators and accountants. This makes an educational environment where students are stressed financially and so are those who teach them. The quality of their educational experience diminishes and so does the research output of the faculty. You cannot do the deep thinking that true scholarship requires when you are worried about having a job next quarter or semester so that you can feed your family.

The problem is that these arguments have been made before and no one is prepared to listen. Politicians claim that Professors only work three hours a day but then helpfully forget that there are administration tasks and scholarship tasks that fill the rest of the day, often to overflowing. This would be true even if the Professors are tenured. Those who make up the Academe (especially in the Humanities) will need to stand tall soon or there will be no tenured positions left for them as the accountants and administrators continually attempt to maximize the bottom line which is the exact opposite of the purpose of a University.

posted by Chris  #10:43 AM | 0 comments |