It’s the end of our first year!

We got a ton done this year. Thank you all for your support. It’s made our work possible. Check out the list of achievements in the Miami Student article “A Year in Review: AAUP Celebrates Accomplishments, Sets Goals.”* Among other things, we’ve successfully pushed for more budget transparency, strongly influenced the position profile used to hire our new president, drawn local and national attention to the problematically secretive nature of Miami’s presidential search, and raised awareness about problems with our health benefits (such as the fact that there’s no cap on out-of-network expenses), and much more.

We have a lot more to do.

In addition to “continuing to pressure administration to emphasize the core mission of the university — education and research,” we aim “to hold regular conferences with the president and provost, collect information on upper administration salary trends, investigate service norms on campus and develop a plan for responding to increased teaching loads on individual faculty members.”

There are some important goals not covered in the article:

  • We will continue working to support contingent faculty and lecturers. The AAUP member of Senate Executive Committee (Cathy Wagner) worked with the Faculty Welfare Committee chair and supported efforts to create a third promotion tier for LCPL faculty; also, we believe pressure from us has played a role in raises recently given to per-credit-hour and VAP faculty.
  • We will keep working to support diversity and the needs of underrepresented faculty. Yvette Harris (chair of Senate Executive Committee) and Cathy Wagner, Executive Committee Member-at-Large, proposed an investigation of bias in student evaluations (well-documented elsewhere but not at Miami). That initiative didn’t make it through Senate Exec, sadly, but AAUP membership on Senate will continue to push for it. Also, through the Faculty Morale Survey, which AAUP proposed and which will happen next year, we are seeking attention to unfair service loads for minority faculty.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Please re-up your memberships and keep the faculty conversation going. We are making a difference but we need your continued support to keep it up. Join or rejoin now.

 

*We would like to correct something in the excellent Student article about our work this year. AAUP members in Senate did push for discussion of budgeting decisions and priorities, but it was Provost Callahan and Dr Creamer—not AAUP members—who gave presentations on the budget in response. Those presentations were a positive sign and we are grateful for the administration’s efforts. We have more questions on budgeting priorities and will continue to press for explanations and responses.

 

Now available: Provost’s presentation on AAUP budget questions

So that our chapter membership and others will have easy access to it, we’re posting Provost Callahan’s April 11 Senate presentation on the AAUP budget questions here. We look forward to your comments and questions about the information on the slides and what still needs to be answered. Our first quick take on the questions is here.

Update: here is the May 5, 2016 final version of the slides Provost Callahan presented, accompanied by her narrative report. Note that some of the information and slides that appeared in the earlier version are not included here (the slides on credit hours taught per rank, for example).

Response to AAUP Budget Questions

At yesterday’s Senate meeting, Provost Callahan responded to AAUP’s budget questions (which were originally asked at the October budget meeting of University Senate). We will be able to share her presentation when the Senate minutes are published [it is now available and archived on this site here]. Her presentation was chock-full of information and we are very grateful for the amount of work she and the Office of Institutional Research put into gathering and presenting the data. The numbers on the decline in tenure-line faculty and the compensating hiring of contingent faculty align with our numbers. Some data that has been hard to get hold of was revealed; for instance, there were slides on the number of credit hours taught by faculty at each rank, important information that helps us see to what degree the university relies on contingent labor. Questions remain. Some—big questions about spending priorities and how they are affecting Miami’s educational mission—have been forwarded to Cody Powell/Campus Planning, Fiscal Priorities Committee, the Athletics Director and the Board of Trustees, and we hope to hear more soon.

A few specific points:
(1) I am not sure our question about benefits cost-shifting was answered; instead, Miami’s benefit rate was reported as being the highest among Ohio public doctoral institutions. I don’t know how to evaluate this point and its relationship to the issues in the previous post on this website. I will look forward to discussing it at the AAUP Lunchtime Chat on Health Plans on April 22. [Read a helpful comment on the benefit rate issue below.]
(2) Business faculty raises are far higher than in other units, not only by amount but by percentage, and I was curious about whether FSB raises come from the same pool as raises at the rest of the university—anyone know?
(3) Our chapter’s assertion that the university spends only 1/4 of the overall budget on instruction was questioned, and the provost showed us a pie-chart allotting 37% to instruction. I clarified that instructional salaries and benefits account for 26.3% of MU expenses and asked what else she was including in the instructional expense category. She said she did not know but would find out.

Gratitude to the University Senate for voting to get these questions answered and again to the Provost for her efforts. Our chapter will continue to work to make university finances more transparent.

New Working Paper on Miami’s Health Insurance Plans

Did you know?

  • Compared to the health plans of other Ohio public universities, Miami University’s plans are unusually harsh in the extent to which they penalize employees who receive health services from non-network providers.
  • Compared to our state peer schools, Miami University is a complete outlier in failing to place any cap on employee expenditures for non-network care.
  • Even when just considering services received within-network, Miami’s plans generally load more expense onto employees than the health plans of our Ohio public peer institutions.

Learn more in our just-issued Working Paper: Report on Miami University Health Plans. Many thanks to David Walsh, Associate Professor in the Department of Management, FSB, who researched and wrote the paper.