The state budget is on the mind of a lot of Raleigh-watchers and insiders. How to get pay raises for teachers has been a major sticking point on reaching an agreement. It’s been pointed out that North Carolina’s public school system has some of the highest overhead — non teaching, outside the classroom — costs in the country. Why not cut some of that and use the savings to increase teacher pay and to put more resources into the classroom?
Jenna Robinson, with the Pope Center for Higher Education, has found some aspects of the University of North Carolina system that are screaming to be cut:
[…] Eliminate unnecessary administrators. Administrators outnumber faculty at every UNC campus. Ten percent of administrative staff earn more than $100,000 per year. Professional, paraprofessional, and clerical staff outnumber faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill by nearly 5 to 1! That’s one administrator for every four students.
Expect faculty to teach more, especially in the humanities. In some departments at UNC’s large research campuses, the average faculty member teaches fewer than two courses per semester. If tenure-track faculty teach more courses, the university can rely less on adjunct professors. That’s a win-win: more faculty attention for undergraduate students and considerable savings for the university.
Stop using state funding for non-academic or politicized “centers.” UNC’s 16 campuses host hundreds of centers and institutes—many of which have no academic mission and offer no courses. The Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central, the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement at UNC Greensboro, the Institute for Social Capital at UNC Charlotte, the Hunt Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the NC Institute for Sustainable Tourism at ECU are just few examples.
Eliminate program duplication. The UNC system has three marine science programs—only one of which is at the coast. It has programs of Art History, Criticism, and Conservation at five campuses. And even though only 83 students graduated in music in 2012-13, students can major in music at 10 different schools. Consolidating small programs would save the state millions.
The University of Georgia’s new chancellor, Hank Huckaby, has set an example. From 2010 to 2011, Georgia’s regents approved 71 new programs across the 31-school system and terminated 12. Since Huckaby became chancellor, 576 programs have been ended and only 99 added.
End remedial courses at all UNC schools. With the increase in minimum admission standards across the UNC system, remediation is unnecessary. All students entering UNC schools after 2013 must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a minimum SAT score of 800 (out of 1600). Their high school courses must include four English courses, two algebra courses, and at least three science courses. If UNC upholds these standards, remedial courses and summer bridge programs will not be necessary.
Cuts will compel chancellors to find waste and identify efficiencies on campus, focusing UNC’s spending on its core mission: undergraduate education.