“Bottom line: Less than 33 cents of every dollar spent is for faculty pay”

On November 11, Vice-President David Creamer and Provost Phyllis Callahan gave the second annual Senate Budget Presentation. (We hope the administration will continue this tradition.) We received a response to the presentation from James Brock, Moeckel Professor of Economics at Miami, and he’s given us permission us to share it. The main takeaway:

“The information…create[s] the impression that faculty pay represents a massive share of Miami’s budget…But it doesn’t…Bottom line: Less than 33 cents of every dollar spent is for faculty pay.”

In fact, that 33 cents includes other stuff besides faculty pay. The category is called “instruction & other.” We don’t know what “other” might include, but AAUP chapter figures show that instructional salaries and benefits account for significantly less than 33 cents on the dollar: only a little above 26% of the total university budget goes to instructional salaries and benefits.

Here is Professor Brock’s full response:

For what it’s worth, I’ve reviewed the budget presentation to U senate last week.

I’m struck by the way the information is presented to create the impression that faculty pay represents a massive share of Miami’s budget.

But it doesn’t, and the impression to the contrary is created by the fancy, colorful pie charts and the order in which they are presented:  The first couple of charts get attention, while I think people’s eyes glaze over when the later, more telling ones are reached (I know mine are).

So Fig. 3 indicates that “personnel” represents 71% of the budget, but faculty are only ONE part of all personnel, and it’s 71% of only ONE part of the university’s overall budget (the E&G portion).

Go to Fig. 5, which indicates “instruction and other” expenditures of $225 million.  This understates the faculty-only portion, because God only knows what the “other” includes (it’s interesting that a faculty-only figure is not provided anywhere in this presentation).

This same Fig. 5 indicates that “instruction and other” represents 59% — but 59% ONLY of the E&G part of the overall budget.

However, the overall total budget is obtained by adding the pieces of Fig. 1,  which represents the total of ALL Miami spending on the Oxford campus of $691 million.

So “instruction and other” expenditures of $225 million represent only 33% of ALL Miami spending on the Oxford campus — in other words, only one-third (not 70+%) — and, again, this 33% figure is overstated by inclusion of the “other” category.

Now to compare spending on faculty (which, remember, is understated because the $225 million number includes undefined “other” as well) with administration personnel spending:   Add all the categories in Fig. 37 of salary for all administrative permanent staff to get $95 million — compared to (an overstated) figure of “instruction and other” spending of $225, and what do you find?  Spending on administrative salaries that is fully 47% of spending on “instruction and other” — and even higher than that if a faculty-only figure were available.

Bottom line:  Less than 33 cents of every dollar spent is for faculty pay.

And as I say, for what it’s worth, take it or leave it.


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