Thursday, December 26, 2013

Online Instruction and Cutting Middle Managers, and It is a UC labor story, too

see the Christmas Day news links:
SJ Merc: UC experiments with online classes across campuses

LA Times: UC forging ahead with cross-system online courses
UC program will let students take Web classes not offered at their home campus or already filled up in the traditional format.

WSJ Colleges Trim Staffing Bloat
Amid Tuition Backlash and Cuts in State Subsidies, Schools Target Efficiencies

The University of California, Berkeley, cut $70 million since 2011 by centralizing purchasing and laying off a layer of middle managers, among other things.
At the schools where new efficiencies are being touted, costs have shot up over that same time frame. In inflation-adjusted dollars back-office expenses between 2001 to 2011, as measured by the combined categories of academic and institutional support as reported to the Department of Education, increased 68% at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; 91% at the University of Texas at Austin; 59% at the University of California Berkeley; and 99% at the University of Kansas.
At Berkeley, 125 middle managers—many of whom were supervising just one or two employees—were laid off and new purchasing systems are making it easier to track how the school's money is spent. John Wilton, vice chancellor for Administration and Finance at Berkeley, which educated 36,000 students, said public universities can't simply complain about the cuts by legislatures and go on with business as usual. "You have a burning platform," he said. "If you just stand on it, you're going to burn to death."

Speaking of At Berkeley --in case you missed it- see: At Some Other Berkeley

The crisis at the California universities, therefore, has been as much a crisis of administrative priorities as it has been a crisis of the state budget. And by repressing student and worker protests on the campuses, which were arguably the most effective form of pressure on legislators, administrators actually made it less likely that higher levels of funding would be forthcoming from the state.
Privatization dispossesses students of a social good, our universities, created by and for the public at the same time that university workers are dispossessed of their livelihoods and pensions.

In 2009, a year before Wiseman’s film was shot, students at the University of California, the California State University and the Community College systems faced unprecedented tuition hikes, and workers faced unprecedented attacks on their livelihoods, due to cuts in state funding and administrative refusal to reorganize budgets in order to maintain equity.
In response, students across the state from California’s three-tier public university system, the largest public higher education system in the country, engaged in a series of walk-outs, demonstrations, and building occupations, while unionized campus workers engaged in industrial actions.
and much more in the piece.

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