“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.

Report on Fall Action Meeting, Sept 20

Thanks all for a great first meeting of the semester. Barely enough chairs! we will get a bigger room next time. In case you missed it, we covered:

– The budget crisis the library is facing because of significant cutbacks and fast-rising costs
– More generally, RCM budgeting’s harsh treatment of units that don’t generate income, including the graduate school, which has cut back graduate student health insurance, among other things)
– Report from the AAUP Summer Institute, which treasurer Amber Franklin and member Theresa Kulbaga attended. Amber spoke about how faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, campaign strategies and power mapping, and making sure diversity is a real value and isn’t just given lip service. Theresa (in absentia) sent in a report on the overuse of ad-hoc appointed committees and how they undermine good shared governance practices.
– Potential shared-governance problem related to newly issued departmental governance guidelines
– STRS & ARP benefits and an upcoming class-action lawsuit (a lively and divided discussion ensued)
– Our upcoming meeting with new university president Greg Crawford
– Preparations for our annual fall budget presentation, coming up October 19, when we’ll focus on health benefits and administrative salaries. We also hope to discuss non-tenure-line faculty salaries.
– Other member concerns included a discussion of the problems with the new faculty dining facility. It’s good news that efforts are being made to provide faculty with a space, but the current Bell Tower location is not going to work because students have not stopped using it. A real dedicated space is still needed.
– Planning a public protest action (join our Facebook discussion group to hear more)

Next public meeting is October 19. See you there.

Miamians, you’re paying more than Ohio peers for health coverage



Here’s our latest working paper—Part II in a series on Miami’s health plans. (The earlier paper focused on gaps in coverage, such as the fact that there’s no limit on out-of-network costs for Miami employees.) In this paper, you’ll find out that

  • Miami employees generally spend more on health insurance coverage than employees at other Ohio public universities and public employees in Ohio overall.
  • Miami employees pay a considerably larger share of the cost of health plan premiums than Ohio public employees overall and Ohio college/university employees.
  • For Miami employees earning $75,000/$125,000, the premiums under both of Miami’s health plans are uniformly the highest. Employees at these salary levels pay hundreds of dollars more per year for individual coverage under both plans and thousands more for family coverage than employees at peer institutions.

Miami employees, generally changes in our benefits (usually reductions, these days) are announced over the summer. Watch your email.

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.


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.

Results of AAUP Chapter Faculty Survey

A discussion of faculty morale was the agenda at today’s Faculty Assembly meeting, so it was a good time to release preliminary results of our survey about faculty concerns (you can still take the survey here). The discussion resulted in a commitment from the administration to survey faculty more formally and create an action plan based on the results. Here’s the survey summary we distributed at the meeting.

[Note: The below version of the survey summary has been edited since the Faculty Assembly meeting. When we summarized for Faculty Assembly the results of our ongoing informal survey of faculty concerns, we quoted the remark of one respondent that seemed to connect the recent deaths of several esteemed and beloved faculty to stressful conditions of employment at Miami University. This response was rhetorical and we were wrong to cite it. We regret having done so, and we apologize to the friends and families of our late colleagues and to all who were offended by the remark, which we have removed from the text below. The AAUP chapter leadership offered the results of our informal survey as we begin an overdue discussion of faculty morale at Miami; we pledge to continue our work to make Miami a better place for all. 1/27/15]

AAUP Faculty Survey Results as of January 25, 2016

Miami’s AAUP Advocacy Chapter began conducting a faculty survey in fall of 2015, both online and through one-on-one interviews. The intent is to take a snapshot of current faculty concerns and to start an ongoing conversation. This survey is not formal or scientific and is not intended to be; it is simply an opportunity for us to find out about issues important to faculty now.

Significant concerns shared by many of the nearly 200 respondents so far emerged from the survey:

Faculty health and welfare
• Health benefits
There is significant concern about the increasing transfer of cost of health care to faculty and staff. Concerns were expressed about reduced benefits, unexpected copays, doctors suddenly being out-of-network, much more. Quite a number of faculty mentioned dissatisfaction with our family leave policy.
• Faculty of color suffer disproportionately
Women and people of color do a disproportionate amount of service, while white men are routinely still the majority of hires. How can students of color & faculty of color thrive at Miami? what do they gain in return for their contributions to the institution?
• Health
Much concern was expressed about stress-related mental and physical health problems.
• Increased demands on faculty time
Perception that too many new demands are detracting from faculty’s essential roles as teachers and scholars, “all the while being billed as ‘efficiencies.’”
• Contingency
—For contingent faculty (per-credit-hour faculty, VIs, & VAPs), it lowers morale, because of low pay and lack of job security but also the fact that they’re not often considered part of a department community.
—For faculty on tenure and lecturer lines, contingency is a problem too: there are larger enrollments and more and more service demands (efficiency efforts, advising, etc.), but many fewer people to do the work.
What concrete measures can we take to improve faculty health and welfare?

Perceived lack of transparency and shared governance
• 81% do not perceive the administration to be transparent about the procedures, information and reasons that shape its decisions. Only 6% disagree.
• Many committees are formed in order to get faculty input, but the perception is that the input is ignored, while the administration can say they solicited input. Many mentioned this as a cause of anger and disengagement.
• Much concern about the manner in which changes were made on regional campuses: the perception is that certain basic decisions made without the input of faculty they would affect, that faculty voices did not matter; much will need to be done to raise morale.
• Concern was expressed about lack of transparency from lower ranks as well as administration: one-year contracts make a lot of teachers afraid to say anything negative about their work situation because they’re afraid of not being asked back the next year. This is even worse for foreign teachers who, if they run afoul of the school and are not renewed, will lose their visas and have to go home.
What actions can we take to improve transparency and shared governance?

Faculty and staff salaries and retention
• Many mentioned concern about faculty salaries, contingent salaries, most especially per-credit-hour faculty: faculty across ranks are concerned about this. Many also mentioned staff salaries.
• There is significant concern about ongoing and increasing dependence on VAPs, VIs and per-credit hour faculty; many of these lines seem to be required on a permanent basis. The 5-year limit on VAPs creates a revolving door that is harmful to people’s working lives and to the stability of the community.
• Again, the recruitment, retention and long-term success of faculty from ‘minoritized’ communities was a topic of much concern.
What actions can we take on these issues?

Budget priorities and educational mission
• Perception that the focus is on attracting elite and wealthy students rather than serving a broad and diverse spectrum of the public
• Perception that instructional portion of the budget is stretched to maximal efficiency while buildings get fancier and Athletics doesn’t seem to be required to be revenue-neutral.
How can faculty and students have a voice in setting institutional priorities?