• November 26, 2014

Texas A&M's Bottom-Line Ratings of Professors Find That Most Are Cost-Effective

Faculty members at Texas A&M University are, by and large, generating more money than they are costing the university, although some of the most prestigious professors would appear to be operating in the red, according to a controversial report prepared by the university system as a move toward greater accountability.

The report, which The Chronicle obtained through an open-records request, lists how much each faculty member in the 11-campus system generated by teaching during the 2008-9 academic year. The faculty member's salary and estimated cost of benefits are subtracted from that amount.

The teaching revenue is calculated by adding tuition paid by students—larger classes generate more tuition dollars—and factors in the weighted value for semester credit hours of different types and levels of courses. Those weighted values are used to determine state financial support (for instance, hours spent teaching graduate courses are generally weighted more heavily than those spent teaching undergraduates).

Another column in the report shows how much faculty members generated in research grants, but that figure is not factored into the bottom-line total for each person.

The university system's chancellor, Michael D. McKinney, wrote in a memorandum accompanying the report to the Board of Regents that the system's campuses are generally efficient. "The reports show that the faculty at each university generate revenue in excess of their payroll costs," he wrote.

'Potentially Very Dangerous'

Critics say the measure is simplistic and doesn't take into account much of the work faculty members do, including advising students, grading papers, and serving on committees. They also worry it could be used against professors who do not appear to be pulling their weight, although system officials say that won't happen. The report's introduction says it is "for management information only," but it's unclear what that means.

"This report is based on several currently available measures that have been reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board by A&M System universities for many years," the system said this week in a written statement. "Our goal is not to grade our hard-working faculty, but to provide the best analytical evaluation tools we can to ensure we maximize our mission and provide the highest quality education possible. We are especially aware that no collection of data, no matter how extensive, can truly capture the value and input, and the long hours, of faculty who devote their careers and their lives to the teaching of generations of Texans."

John W. Curtis, director of research and public policy for the American Association of University Professors, said that in tight budget times, more universities are taking a closer look at employee productivity.

"There do seem to be more calls for accountability in various forms, but this one seems more specific and oriented toward a balancing of revenues and costs that seems very simplistic and potentially very dangerous," he said. "It's almost like a cost/benefit analysis of individual faculty members. It tends to reduce the whole process of education to how many people can you cram into a classroom and how much tuition can you charge them, or how much research funding can you bring in from the outside regardless of whether it fits the mission of the institution."

Antonio Cepeda-Benito, dean of faculties at Texas A&M's flagship campus at College Station, said some of the university's most prestigious faculty members, who command high salaries but don't always teach large classes, would appear to be costing more than they bring in, according to the system's analysis.

"This is a simplistic and misleading way to measure faculty," he said. "I worry about the impact that having this information out there, without the appropriate context, could have on morale."

Karan L. Watson, interim provost at College Station, said the report does not take into account the fact that many faculty members raise a portion of their salaries through research grants, and that that portion doesn’t cost the university anything.

Comments

1. archman - September 15, 2010 at 03:35 pm

I am looking at the report, and reading that it is not a few TAMU faculty operating "in the red" (as the article implies), but the vast majority of the faculty.

Take the biology department for example (pp. 127-130 I believe). Hardly anyone in there is not red-marked. You will find the same pattern in engineering, agriculture, education, etc...

Am I looking at the correct data column? What the heck's going on here??

2. bob_malooga_looga - September 15, 2010 at 04:09 pm

Not having read it as of yet, evidently there is a large number of individuals downloading said file.

I have a question?

Is this Ratings report only concern faculty?

It would seem more than silly to only look at a faculty members economic impact on the university structure. I believe Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Provosts, Secretaries, etc... are all, or most claim to be, part of the acadamic endeavor.

So, to get a realistic, and holistic, perspectivec on "Where the money is going" the report should include all employees.

Then again, the public might realize that having 40 Deans, Provosts, and Vice Presidents in the RED is the place to cut.

3. 11180655 - September 15, 2010 at 04:29 pm

This is a good excersize A&M is going through, but they need to look at more than just payroll costs. What about retirement benefits? Sabbaticals? Allocate excessive administration, buildings, etc. in support of faculty? Costs of higher ed are rising rapidly because it is being run less and less for the students supposedly being served, and more in favor of the needs and wants of faculty.

4. tamufaculty - September 15, 2010 at 04:32 pm

This report is far from being accurate - most of the faculty salaries are inflated, my own by over $70,000. They report 12 month salaries, although the University only pays 9 months to most of the faculty. Many grants are not reported, and multiple PI grants are only reported for one PI. The whole report is flawed and misleading, and most of all, should never have been made public.

5. archman - September 15, 2010 at 04:45 pm

to 11180655,

This is not a good exercise, this is moronic on a moronic scale. The faculty are basically being evaluated as "tuition-dollar machines". High rating = number of students served. It would be educational to read the comments posted from the original news article (College Station Eagle, September 15). They are, for the most part, spot-on.

If universities were car assembly plants, this indeed would be a good measure. However, education is not a assembly line where tuition dollar generation is the bottom line. Quality education is the bottom line. Generally speaking, a student in a 400-seat auditorium is not going to get the same educational attention as a student in a 20-seat classroom. And yet, this evaluation method caters EXACTLY to that sort of mentality.

Regarding "needs and wants of faculty" overruling the mission goals of higher education, this is completely ludicrous. It's been the other way around for many years now. Faculty teach more, have more students, do more assessment, and have higher publication & service requirements than ever before now. And yet their salaries for the most part have lay stagnant. Public misperception and misinformation of college professors is almost a fad in the United States right now.

6. yhfmsto - September 15, 2010 at 05:14 pm

Does the Chronicle have any policy on the ethics of publishing these kinds of reports? With one click you can find out not only the salary of any individual faculty member at Texas A&M, but also his or her net monetary value -- or cost -- to the institution. As sickening as the report is (and I won't even go into that), to publish these data so cavalierly only humiliates the very people who are victims of these asinine metrics. Just because public records laws allow it does not mean that it is good policy on the Chroncle's part.

7. samwise - September 15, 2010 at 05:19 pm

to 11180655: Any exercise to see how well you are doing is good, provided there are reasonable measures and benchmarks. Given this database you might as well respond to the 911 operator when asked for your location I am in a state. This database looks like it was put together by 100000 monkeys with 100000 typewriters. To look at this ridiculous database and call it a good exercise is to call smoking the new health improvement fade. this is nothing more than an attempt to embarass faculty into accepting whatever garbage the administration wants to cast their way. So start thinking with a view to what the measure is actually doing.

8. taoshiker831 - September 15, 2010 at 05:21 pm

This is classic Mike McKinney.

9. baxter - September 15, 2010 at 05:27 pm

Another problem with the report is that it doesn't take into account course releases for active faculty who are partly in the classroom and partly engaged in administrative work, including that which is in fact teaching-related (e.g., heading departments or other teaching units, serving as a department's director of undergraduate or graduate studies). While it's true that the administrative cadre in American higher education has grown substantially and tends to be more expensive than faculty--partly, though admittedly only partly, because administrators are generally paid more months out of the year than teaching faculty are--we do need SOME administrators if the university is to function, and many of these administrators are doing work essential to areas such as curriculum development and student advising. In this report, such people show up in the red, though less so than top-tier administrators (who are paid more and often aren't in the classroom at all). Even if we stipulate that universities should ONLY be engaged in teaching and that an active research life doesn't inform teaching, stipulations that I'm not willing to make, don't we need some additional measures here? As archman points out above, the assumption that the greatest "value" is being provided by the least well-paid person who teaches the largest number of students seems to lack awareness of context (or the nature of the "product," for those who insist on the business metaphor).

10. universityprof - September 15, 2010 at 05:36 pm

As a university professor I have to say this report is a step in the right direction. Contrary to what some critics have said, this report will be helpful to professors who are trying to be good teachers, not just researchers. The Academic Financial Data Compilation aka salary-teaching-profit analysis at least makes the point that there is value in teaching students. The heavy emphasis on research at many universities has made the value of teaching virtually zero. Faculty promotions and raises are driven almost entirely by a professor's contribution to research. The Texas A&M Chancellor has brought some attention back to the value of teaching. Of course he and other leaders of the university have enough sense to know that there's more to a faculty member's worth than this salary-teaching-profit analysis, but this analysis is nevertheless meaningful. It should be one part of evaluating a faculty member's performance. Faculty members who make significant contributions based on this analysis should be rewarded, just as faculty members who publish articles in top journals should be rewarded. At the current time, for the most part, only faculty in the second category are rewarded. Faculty members should be given some kind of credit for their teaching contribution based on this analysis. Traditionally, a faculty member's contributions were three-fold: teaching, research, and service. Currently, teaching and service count for virtually nothing. Prestige and financial rewards at the so-called research universities are based almost entirely on research accomplishments, which generally corresponds to the faculty member teaching fewer classes and fewer students. There is nothing wrong with rewarding great research scholars with more classes and more students. If more financial rewards went to those who taught more, then teaching wouldn't be so looked down upon. Currently the teaching-research-service balance is out of balance, and almost totally skewed toward research. If the current controversy leades to some increase in the value of teaching, then it will have served a good purpose. I applaud the Chancellor and others who are trying to improve the value of teaching at Texas A&M.

11. samwise - September 15, 2010 at 05:45 pm

to universityprof: your statement "this report will be helpful to professors who are trying to be good teachers, not just researchers." is totally misguided there is NO interpretation of good here or teaching. Show where the report shows "GOOD" teaching. It shows the number of bodies in the room with no accounting for quality of instruction or the quality of learning. You might as well applaud the concrete beneath your car for allowing your wheels to turn smoothly. Get real if anything this is just going to focus the public on how Universitys that brag about their research quality are willing to embarass and harass the very people that give them the reputation. it is nothing but an embarassment to disclose this informatio without vetting, comparisons to other institutions. Embarassing your research faculty is no way to garner their interest in teaching so grow up and stop trumping Don Quixote who instead of windmills is skewering the very assets that make the University famous.

12. flydoc - September 15, 2010 at 05:55 pm

As one who teaches at A&M, not only is my salary incorrectly listed and none of my grant dollars credited to me, but I was truly amazed to find that there are no courses credited to me. I guess that stack of exams I spent the morning grading was a figment of my misguided imagination.

13. dnewton137 - September 15, 2010 at 05:59 pm

As a former administrator who is addicted to data that reveal some aspect(s) of reality, I would say this is a step, but only a step, in the right direction. As a former faculty member, I would caution against the foolishness of applying a rigid standard to all faculty members. All of this university's greatest intellectual leaders cannot be expected to be "money makers." Before A&M begins to go after its "most prestigious faculty" on the grounds of financial profit and loss, I suggest they include their more or less prestigious athletic empire in the calculation. To me, it's simple. They can still afford that distinguished philosopher if they dump their football team, which has nothing to do with teaching and learning.

14. universityprof - September 15, 2010 at 06:00 pm

to samwise: I apologize if I have in any way appeared to support the embarrassment of research faculty. I don't want to embarrass research faculty; I am part of the research faculty. Nevertheless, the university reward structure is out of balance. Teaching is now regarded of little value in the reward structure. Almost all faculty I know say that research is the only thing that gets rewarded, although I know of a few rare exceptions to this. The Academic Financial Data Compilation shows that there are a few well-paid non-tenured faculty. Teaching should be valued and rewarded, even at so-called research universities. My opinion, and it's just my opinion, is that the primary purpose of A&M should be to educate the students who go to school there. Of course, I also believe that research and service should be valued and rewarded as well. The combination of teaching, research, and service make a great scholar, and a great university. I hope that a system can be designed that rewards all three.

15. samwise - September 15, 2010 at 06:08 pm

to universityprof: The data shows nothing about the actual pay of anyone. check the salaries against the database provided for state salaries in Texas. These numbers are totally bogus and read flydoc above. Disclosing such an embarassing document without any concerns about how individuals may be affected by this shows no respect for the position of those who teach, do research or service. If you have no respect for the assets that make up the organization you have no respect for yourself. This is no way to focus anything on teaching its away to bring NATIONAL embarassment to the University which will take decades to recover from. A bull in a china shop would do less damage to reputations of both faculty and the institution.

16. cdkaplan - September 15, 2010 at 06:40 pm

The numbers that dominate this discussion are mostly undergraduate teaching and grants, and as has been said above, many of the salaries listed are apparently incorrect. It is unclear if they are merely including full salary numbers and also including full grant values, which might offset (though the grant is providing salary).

In terms of valuation this document has little or no meaning and will be especially problematic to the non-research focused departments.

To the person quibbling about privacy concerns on the part of the Chronicle, anyone in the world can look up A&M salaries as this is a public institution and salary numbers are mandated as public.

17. robigo - September 15, 2010 at 06:43 pm

The problem is that very few of the numbers actually are true numbers. I mean - they are wrong. It is made up stuff cobbled together from data that is somewhere between 1 and 10 years old. For example, AT LEAST one faculty member listed, whom I just happen to know, has not been an employee of Texas A&M for over 8 years. What does that tell you about the accuracy of this report. The salaries seem to be mostly for 12 months regardless of how many months the faculty member is appointed. Texas A&M is a landgrant University. Many faculty are partially supported by Experiment Stations (Engineering, Agriculture, etc.) and have 50% or more FTE in research appointments, with the remainder of their FTE associated with TAMU academic teaching. So, half-time or less teaching positions are being counted as a full time teaching positions in this report. The numbers for grant support are wrong for almost everyone somehow, in one case, someone with over $1 million in research funding was scored as having $0 in current and five-year cumulative research funding. This report largely contains false and misleading information. The danger is that currently the administration is taking 10% of all departmental budgets back and for some departments, the only way to do this is to fire people, including non-tenured faculty, or cutting the salary of tenured faculty. There is anxiety that this document is going to be used to justify any action the administration ultimately takes, even though it is not an accurate report.

18. cdkaplan - September 15, 2010 at 06:45 pm

I will add that education should be more of a priority at all schools, but given the fact that college is a consumer's market and that students cannot be taught to such an extent that mastery is a requirement for a passing grade, without fear of poor evaluations, which directly impact the tenure decision.

19. universityprof - September 15, 2010 at 06:46 pm

to samwise: You may be right about national embarrassment, which might have been avoided if A&M had actually rewarded teaching along with research during the past decade. I may be naive, but I still hope that the real goal is to bring some value back to teaching. I think the Chancellor is honestly trying to restore value and genuinely to reward teaching in a financial way, not just the once-per-year teaching awards to the select few. As far as errors in the data, well, I suppose the Chancellor may have encountered problems getting the correct information from his subordinates, who might not be as keen on rewarding teaching as he is. Any errors should be reported to the Chancellor so that he can update the data and then determine why he was given erroneous data in the first place.

20. cdkaplan - September 15, 2010 at 07:01 pm

universityprof,

Unfortunately many will view your comments as disingenuous. Texas A&M cannot be a prestigious or competitive institution of higher learning without the massive amount of research done. Research takes expertise and a considerable amount of time. You may or may not realize that there is a drive in Texas to reduce the number of non-tenured Faculty, many of whom are excellent teachers and who receive very high student evaluations by having all tenured Faculty take on larger teaching loads. Of course, since the institution can only currently exist in the form it is now because Faculty research helps offset what is almost artificially low tuition, if there is to be less research, Texas A&M will cease to be such a value to students because there will be no cutting edge expertise, no research to offset low tuition, no research to drive University ranking, no ranking to recruit students, less competitive student recruitment and University decline.

21. universityprof - September 15, 2010 at 07:21 pm

to cdkaplan: I think balance is needed. Teaching, research, and service are all important. I think more value needs to be added back to teaching. Of course, I totally agree research is important, but it is not more important than teaching, even at a so-called research university.

22. samwise - September 15, 2010 at 07:25 pm

to universityprof: I just don't think you get it. The Chancellor is responsible for this report, he is responsible for exposing it to the public. To say that some should tattle on the inaccuracies to the chancellor is like telling John Wayne Gacy that murder is against the law. From what you have said you are naive and should read the posts just below yours and many others on the page. Everyone teaches at A&M and it is not quantity that determines what that quality is. Everyone teaching what they are assigned. If you want teaching to be valued more then discover how to market teaching to other Universities and get them to pay for it like they pay for research. Teaching and Research are integral parts of the learning process. To strip out and ignore one for the other is nonsense and since we talking about being naive these numbers to not in anyway show time out of class grading, advising, or working with students. Believe it or not the number of bodies in a class room does not indicate the level of activities on those dimensions so these numbers even ignore a major part of the teaching function to provide only a count of students for which the faculty stands in front of. If you believe that to be quality teaching you need a refresher course on teaching fundamentals.

23. dsiegele - September 15, 2010 at 09:02 pm

to archman - September 15, 2010 at 03:35 pm:

Approx.70 of the biology faculty in the list are grad student T.A.s. I didn't understand how they could be in the red for their entire salaries, until I realized that the number of students they taught was multiplied by 0 credit hours.

24. archman - September 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Ha ha, it's kind of hilarious to see the lecturers who teach hundreds of students a year getting the super-high ratings. While the full professors with major research labs and soft-money-funded staffs getting negative ratings.

University of Phoenix must love this.

25. universityprof - September 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

to archman: Then lecturers who teach hundreds of students, and presumably effectively, will be rewarded for their teaching contribution and full professors who are major researchers will be rewarded for their research contribution. Perhaps in a good year the raises will average 5 percent. The lecturers will get a 5 percent raise on their $50,000 per year salary, or $2500, while the full professors will get a 5 percent raise on their $200,000 per year salary, or $10,000. What's so funny about that?

26. samwise - September 16, 2010 at 05:48 am

to Universityprof: To suggest that A&M could have avoided this embarrassment by prompting the teaching part of faculty jobs years ago is disingenuous and an insult. Every major university has the option to value teaching and its outcomes more but no major University is making a public display of its employees to gain favor with a bunch of clowns that have no clue about running a University. In fact no major business would ever stoop to such tactics to obtain benefits from the public. You should be embarrassed for applauding the unscrupulous methods used by the administration to steal faculty jobs and taxpayer monies for purposes that will benefit no one but themselves. Be careful with your applause I am sure your hard working colleagues would love to know how supportive you are of the administration and its unscrupulous behavior but if they don't know now, when they find out they are not likely to give you a ticker tape parade for your stand with the administration. I suspect they work hard at teaching and research and you are publicly stating that the measure used is indicative of their efforts in all portions of their job. Better yet I am guessing you are in the black based on erroneous data and are looking to cash in on the supposed free lunch. Good luck with that strategy because there is no free lunch.

27. benedik - September 16, 2010 at 08:45 am

There have been many commentators who have pointed out the numerous flaws in the data set. It should be incumbent on those compiling and releasing the data to make some attempt at accuracy check, which appears not to have been done. The quality of the data is horrible. But a second and more important point is the validity of this metric. It is an unfair and wholly inappropriate metric. Not because it only emphasizes teaching, but rather because it evaluates individuals on criteria that are beyond their control. In general faculty do not pick which course they want, they are assigned to course. So when someone is assigned to small senior or graduate sections by a supervisor (department chair or vice-chair) then it is inappropriate to downrate them because they didn't teach enough students.
A more appropriate approach would be to review a department by this criteria rather than individuals. It is the job of the department chair to ensure the various teaching missions of the department are met. If the cost of all the faculty in that department are balanced against the teaching done by the department, then the department is being a success. I think if you look over the departments in this document rather than the individuals, you will find the vast vast majority to be well in the black. If the data were actually correct, and if research were also factored in some appropriate manner, I think you would find the university to be remarkably cost-effective and efficient.

28. samwise - September 16, 2010 at 08:51 am

to benedik: Well said, yes the departments for the most part are in the black and with corrected numbers even this neanderthal measure would likely show the University to be cost-effective and efficient a story that is not being told by the University and Regents. I suspect faculty morale is at a low point with this fiasco and because the administation seems bound to humiliating the faculty the choice of individual vs department will be used selectively to attain the as yet unknown agenda of the administration and the Regents.

29. texasraised - September 16, 2010 at 09:13 am

A petition is circulating calling for the resignation of Mike McKinney, M.D. as a result of this falsified report. Why?

With this TAMU System report, Dr. McKinney has once again shown that he lacks the leadership skills and the credentials to run any state university, large or small. And certainly he shown no ability to run an entire university system. After all, he is neither researcher nor teacher and certainly no scholar. Political ideology drives his agenda.

The TAMU System report on faculty "in the red" is laden with false data. Many of these people are not faculty. And many of those that are have not worked there in years. Any faculty that sent out such false data would be hauled off by the Texas Rangers in the workplace (yes, this happens). This report and its accuracy is the sole responsibility of Dr. McKinney.

Dr. McKinney, do the Texas taxpayers a favor. Resign today. Your actions for a couple of years now have drawn worldwide embarassment to Texas higher education, and now to the Texas gubernatorial campaign. Out, out, out.

30. archman - September 16, 2010 at 09:49 am

To universityprof: The lecturers at TAMU are not being rewarded, they are being FIRED. Or "non-renewed", to use the actual language. Their non-renewal notices were given out last month. Entire departments are cutting loose the majority of their non-tenure track teaching staff.

31. sstrada - September 16, 2010 at 10:15 am

A moronic exercise promoted by obsessive "bean counters." Everyone in a University should be expected to "pull their weight" or "justify their existence", but necessarily all in the same way.

32. my2centsworth - September 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

to universityprof:
You seem to be consistently missing the point. Nobody is disagreeing with you that teaching is important and should be rewarded (I think). My issue with all of your comments is that you said at the beginning (and you don't seem to be backing down on this) that this report is valuable, a step in the right direction, and should be used to evaluate faculty teaching!! Really?! Even ignoring the fact that the data is literally garbage because of all its errors, ...

How do I get rewarded for effectively teaching my classes of 20 students: classes, by the way, that require a lot more specialized knowledge than the intro classes that enroll hundreds of students? If this report in any way is used to evaluate my teaching, how am I motivated to chair Ph.D. committees or teach Ph.D. seminars?

No, this report does nothing good for the university - and potentially can lead to a lot of bad.

33. trendisnotdestiny - September 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

This type of report is the worst kind of crap. The call pushing for changes includes only those changes that resemble the funding sources: business models and profitability schemes that archman so aptly points out!

Anyone with imagination can see this for what it is: a re-engineering of an academic governance process to better fit and align with business interests against students/consumers/ and average people who are not privy to the starve the beast approach undertake by neoliberal economic policies....

Indoctrinating a whole new generation based on competition, hidden predation and market principles is much easier to do then change the way a whole generation of scholars thinks about the influence and intrusion of business culture into academe. It is no mystery that these events have been constructed and fostered around economic realities, changing demographics within the professorate as well as the cultural change towards the "capitalistic entrepreneur in academe".

This report is sheit!

34. universityprof - September 16, 2010 at 11:38 am

to my2centsworth: I totally agree with you that there is potential for the report to be used for bad. And I totally believe that the extra difficulties of teaching smaller specialized classes should be recognized, and rewarded, in a different way from teaching large introductory courses. The report should be only a part of any faculty evaluation process. I would hope it would be just one additional dimension added to what is already being used. The reason I think the report was a step, albeit small, in the right direction is that it does acknowledge teaching has value. In the place I work, teaching classes, whether they are large, small, specialized, or anything else, is regarded as almost meaningless from a reward standpoint. I have several friends, among the non-tenured faculty, who were laid off in this budget cut/reallocation, particularly at the College Station campus. Some of these non-tenured faculty previously received university and external teaching awards for their excellent teaching. In my humble opinion, they should not have been laid off. In fact, I beleive that if teaching had significant value at A&M, they would not have been laid off. Further, if it had been up to him, I don't think the Chancellor would have laid them off. I still believe the Chancellor's goal is to put some value back on teaching. And I am not in any way saying research is not important; it is important; it is vitally important. So, too, is teaching. I am dismayed and disheartened by the way faculty members and staff have been treated at A&M, but I don't think that was due to the Chancellor's leadership. I think if the local campuses in the A&M system had allowed for larger increases in enrollment, then the budget cut could have been absorbed without cutting so many jobs. Did the Chancellor limit enrollment? You would think from all the new buildings added in the past decade alone that a bigger enrollment could have been accommodated on most campuses. With regard to the the Academic Financial Data Compilation aka salary-teaching-profit analysis, I repeat for emphasis that it should be only one part of a multifaceted faculty evaluation process, and any errors in the compilation should be exposed and corrected. In the end, my only real concern is fair treatment of people. And I do not want to see anyone mistreated. Everyone should be treated with dignity and fairly rewarded for their work, including great researchers and great teachers, as well as hard-working staff.

35. my2centsworth - September 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

universityprof;
You are obviously sincerely concerned about the quality of teaching and how that is rewarded, but I'm still not getting your contention that this report is a tool to accomplish this.

If this report is meant to evaluate quality teaching (again, assuming all the errors are corrected), how exactly is it used? Does the department head see that Prof. A has a profit and therefore, give a high mark to the teaching of Prof A? Nevermind that the only reason Prof A shows a profit is because he/she teaches an intro class in an auditorium because he/she hasn't kept up with cutting edge technologies and thereby, disqualifying him/her from teaching in more specialized classes.

You say that it is only one dimension of the overall evaluation, and everything should be considered. But, I contend that it is a completely flawed metric and tells us nothing about teaching quality, and inserting a flawed metric in the evaluation process will only create noise and result in a misallocation of resources. Even if it is only part of the overall evaluation, if I'm a good teacher who teaches small classes, that part of the evaluation process lowers my "teaching quality" as measured by this particular metric.

36. bubbles - September 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I'm afraid that all the debate regarding the merits of and problems with quantifying professors' value is moot. The more immediate issue is that the university has published a public document with incorrect information, by which faculty will be judged by their friends, family, and neighbors.

I wonder if this constitutes libel?

37. mchag12 - September 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

This is simply another misguided attempt to embarrass faculty and turn the university into a badly run corporate entity. It has nothing to do with academic teaching and research and beyond the misinformation, it is simply an attack. The administrators who put this together should be sued and those who think this is "a good start" should examine their commitment to academia. This is a case where numbers are hiding a struggle about what a university is and does, and beyond simplistic analyses of such a flawed document, the real issue the the need to take sides and fight this academic destruction. For those of you who are non-tenured contingent faculty, don't be fooled into thinking that this type of report will help you because your main employment is teaching. It is an attempt to rid the university of anything by faculty who teach--tenured faculty--and it puts your job more at risk than helps it. Somehow it makes sense this is happening in Texas, one of the States that is actively trying to destroy higher education. Get real folks. It is not hard to see what this is, and what needs to be done.

38. tamufaculty - September 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Just a reminder, last summer, the faculty at TAMU voted overwhelmingly "no confidence" in Chancellor McKinney with no consequence. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/breaking/6505760.html
http://www.theeagle.com/local/McKinney-gets--no-confidence-

As you know, this is not something that faculty ever take lightly. We had no choice but to express our deep concerns for how this Chancellor is leading the TAMU System. The Board of Regents simply ignored this vote of no confidence. Is this new move retribution?

39. smwoodson - September 16, 2010 at 01:32 pm

"hours spent teaching graduate courses are generally weighted more heavily than those spent teaching undergraduates."

HUH? how much money do graduate students pull in?

I haven't read the report but this report of the report makes it sound pretty confused.

40. tcli5026 - September 16, 2010 at 01:37 pm

to universityprof: I really appreciate your obvious effort to maintain a civil and constructive dialogue with your many critics. I don't agree with your points either, but I applaud the fact that your responses have not degenerated into name calling and "snarkiness."

Still, I'm wondering if somehow you are connected to the administration at TAMU? I respect your right to remain anonymous, but can you shed some light on your position?

41. jmalmstrom - September 16, 2010 at 01:48 pm

Do we apply the same metric to college administrators?

42. tamufaculty - September 16, 2010 at 02:15 pm

I am curious to know what people think the faculty at A&M should do to respond to this report. My own feeling is we are damned either way. If we respond, we acknowledge this action and give them some inkling of credibility. If we ignore it, we essentially give them an opening to continue down this destructive path.

The record of the Chancellor and BOR is clear - they do not support the faculty at TAMU, so any thought that this is being done to help the faculty is unfortunately incorrect. In fact, this latest move is one of several that were put in place here that were based on recommendations by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
http://www.texaspolicy.com/publications.php?cat_level=137

43. charrua - September 16, 2010 at 02:36 pm

to universityprof: based on this report, who would you fire? a) your friends without teaching award and in black, or b) your friends with teaching award and in red? If the aswers is (a) what is the value of value of this report, and if it's (b) what is the value of the teaching award? At the end of the day, this report is more a bump on the road than a step towards recognizing the value of teaching. This report has nothing to do with teaching quality and probably doesn't reflect the value of education either (except if you think that the value from education comes from sharing some time in a classroom with a professor without considering what you get from that experience).

44. unusedusername - September 16, 2010 at 03:08 pm

I find it amusing that "business administration" is in the red.

45. samwise - September 16, 2010 at 03:33 pm

to Universityprof: viewing the posts above suggest that most folks do not share your view that this measure is a step in recognizing teaching. In fact many of the people shown to be "good" teachers on this list are already fired and if you think this list will be used to increase the value of teaching it will not. it will at best be used as a hidden reason to fire people without having to present it as evidence. in other words it is a tool for firing not a tool for rewarding teaching. if you continue to suggest otherwise i suggest a concern about your qualifications as an acadmeic who claims to do research. A school cannot be a market unto itself and a first year business student learns that markets drive behavior. Your posts suggest that you wish to ignore that market at the peril of your institution. Finally, the Chancellor is responsible for this report personally as he is the captain of the ship and has been pushing this nonsense all along. So try falling back on your training and live with it. We all value teaching but we all know that one makes a choice to follow the market or follow some other path and with that choice is always a cost. If you choose the teaching path it has a cost that may be in monetary terms but if you follow the research path there may be monetary rewards but that may not make up for the non-stop requirements of the path. Research is a 24/7 job, that is cost that cannot be measured.

46. universityprof - September 16, 2010 at 03:38 pm

I am an ordinary professor, not an administrator. I am living for the most part, as Thoreau put it, a life of quiet desperation. Responding to charrua, if I were in charge of evaluating faculty members, I would evaluate them on a broad range of factors associated with teaching, research, and service. As far as the Academic Financial Data Compilation aka salary-teaching-profit analysis, it essentially provides only very simple data about a faculty member's salary in relation to tuition revenue. It does not provide anything about the quality of that instruction; clearly that must be ascertained. This is one reason we have student evaluations of teaching, although that is a controversial subject itself. What would be valuable to know is how much did students actually learn. While attaining their educations, I would hope that in some small way that students would also be inspired to use their college-acquired skills and abilities to go out and try to make the world better. I hope that somehow out of the current troubles, A&M might become a better place, where indeed students are prepared and inspired to live a noble life with concern for others. I accept that the majority of my colleagues question the usefulness of the Academic Financial Data Compilation and even the motives behind its creation. I also acknowledge you could be right. Perhaps I am only grasping at straws that teaching might again be given significant respect and even financial rewards at one of America's great universities. That is still my hope, whether the Compilation can be used for that purpose or something else. I am grateful that at least we are talking about the value of teaching, even if work needs to be done on how to evaluate it. How poorly is teaching valued where you work? In my workplace, if the average raise is 3 percent, 90 percent of it goes to reward research; many effective teachers only get a one-half of a one percent raise, if any raise at all. At the same time, top researchers might get a 10 percent raise or more. The Chancellor's report may have problems, but it might help address the problem of a reward structure that is skewed almost entirely toward research, while providing almost nothing to effective teaching. How can teachers maintain their morale and to their jobs without some encouragement and some reasonable level of financial reward?

47. universityprof - September 16, 2010 at 03:46 pm

to samwise: I accept your supply and demand argument. I totally accept that higher rewards go to those with more in-demand skills; that is the nature of free enterprise and competition. Thus, a great researcher may demand a $400,000 salary and a lowly teacher may only make $50,000. I'm not opposed to this. In fact, I accept that the highest paid public employees in Texas are football coaches. What I would like to see is that when, perhaps if, we see decent raises in the future, e.g. 3 percent. Let's give the effective teacher a 3 percent raise, or $1500 and the effective researcher a 3 percent raise as well, or $12,000. Am I being unreasonable? I do respect everything you've said. You impress me as a logical and fairminded person. I honestly would like to know your thoughts on this.

48. bob_malooga_looga - September 16, 2010 at 03:53 pm

From what I see, faculty and academic departments on the whole support themselves.

The question to ask, or the action to wait for, is; during the next budget shortfall where is Texas going to cut?
Will they cut departments and programs that are profitable or will they start cutting the expenses.

Any reasonable person would suggest cutting expenses but that isn't the trend in higher education.

49. mike27 - September 16, 2010 at 04:13 pm

I applaud the effort to look into the economics and profitability of the academic process. Keep working on it!!!

As a parent - I am pissed off that the academic world has raised it's price tag. It seems academia is gouging the American public at the worst time possible.

For once - I'd like to hear a university is doing something to cut it's costs.

Looking forward to the good word.

class of 77

50. samwise - September 16, 2010 at 04:13 pm

to universityprof: I am not denouncing raises for faculty that primarily teach. I think it unrealistic when the administration brags about its research and pays to make it bigger and better. So while I can sympathize with the desire for better pay for teaching faculty I also realize that unless a metric that can be used by all that truly incorporates an evaluation of teaching (not student evaluations that are fraut with problems or this nonense weapon of mass destruction created at A&M) but one the assessing learning and quality. I don't know what that is except I know this is not a step in that direction. As such my hands are as tied as any other faculty member who has no voice in the process of determining raises. I made my choice long ago and I am living with the headaches and rewards that go with it. I suspect you will as well unless you are able to confront the administration and convince them of your story. All I see on the horizon at A&M is bad things for both research and teaching faculty.

51. samwise - September 16, 2010 at 05:17 pm

to mike27: Maybe you should read the latest information that is suggesting that administration is the biggest increase in academic costs of late. So while one would applaud trying to figure out what might reduce the costs the administration is using this to fire the lowest paid faculty while hiring additional administrators at outrageous prices to create measures like that at A&M to bash the faculty whose costs have barely moved over the last 10 years. Just google higher education costs and read the story about arizona state and how their cost of administration has spiraled. This is happening everywhere. So class of 77 go back to school and find out the real story before cheering on the very people who are fleecing your builfold while bashing the reason your child might graduate and get a good job. Based on the latest public press that, at least was, the outcome at A&M, one of the lowest cost best return investments in the nation.

52. tuxthepenguin - September 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

This is hilarious. I was looking at one of the departments. The "most valuable" faculty member is deadwood who got stuck teaching large classes because he doesn't do anything else. I can assure you, those large classes wouldn't be there if all the faculty did what he does.

Maybe someone should tell TAMU that they are running a research university.

53. 11159995 - September 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

For me, the reductio ad absurdum of this whole system comes from a simple comparison of two results in a department I know something about. One faculty member who is an untenured lecturer with a 3 + 3 load of large classes and no research or service responsibilities gets a net positive assessment of over $800,000. Another senior tenured professor whom I know to be the author of many highly regarded books and articles in his field, to be well liked and considered excellent as a teacher, to be highly involved in service to his professional associations has a net negative assessment of close to $50,000. How can a university with a straight face compare two such individuals with greatly different levels of professional achievement and come up with an answer like this? The metric is inherently flawed.---Sandy Thatcher

54. universityprof - September 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

tux makes a great point: large classes are often staffed by the worst scholars. What an insult to the students!

55. universityprof - September 17, 2010 at 11:48 am

I agree with Sandy, some of the top researchers I know are also award-winning teachers. Clearly the contributions of a faculty member involve teaching, research, and service; all should be considered in any reasonable performance evaluation. To be fair to the Chancellor, I don't think the teaching/profit metric, controversial as it is, was ever put forward as the only way to measure a faculty member's contributions. I don't think it was ever suggested that research would no longer count, or service for that matter. An aside: Does service actually merit financial rewards where you work? I think the exemplary professor you describe would continue to receive high marks for his excellent research, service, and quality teaching (even if it was in smaller classes).

56. my2centsworth - September 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Universityprof:
I'm perplexed as to why you keep suggesting that this metric is OK as long as it's only part of the overall evaluation. You haven't responded to my earlier question as to how exactly it should be used in the evaluation process. And, moreover, you haven't provided any reason to refute people's assessment that the metric is completely flawed.

The only people who could possibly like this measure as part of their evaluation are those who teach very large classes. But since when does teaching large classes equate to quality teaching. Not to say that those who do are poor teachers, they might be very good teachers. But, the size of their class will not tell an administrator that. And, as I and others have noted, it's often the professors who have not kept up with technologies who get assigned to classes that require the least amount of specialized knowledge. Aren't these the professors who should be getting fired or at least, not getting the raises? Yet, if we use this metric, it will be these people who could justify the largest raise.

Again, please justify to me why we should use this metric, even if it is just part of the overall evaluation process.

btw, I agree with a previous poster that McKinney, once again, is showing no ability to lead this university.

And, to mike27: getting upset at academia should result in your no longer purchasing their product. Just walk away. Of course, the demand for education is higher today than it's ever been. Which suggests that the pricetag for an education is still one of the best investments anybody could make.

57. universityprof - September 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

to my2centsworth: Agreed, the metric needs work, so does the current system that provides no meaningful financial reward for teaching and service. Any decent supervisor knows to consider more than just one factor in evaluating subordinates. Surely, the people that reach leadership positions, from department head and up, can figure out how to properly evaluate people. The Chancellor is simply making them think about something other than research, which I repeat is still critically important, but shouldn't be the only thing meaningfully rewarded. Teaching is important, too. How would you reward teaching? How would you fix the metric?

58. tuxthepenguin - September 17, 2010 at 01:19 pm

"How would you reward teaching? How would you fix the metric?"

Not my2centsworth, but let me say that we shouldn't reward teaching. We should have a system in place that encourages professors to do *better* teaching.

What does 'better' teaching mean? Who knows? Maybe better student evaluations, maybe better peer evaluations, probably something entirely different. I know for sure that it does not much to do with student credit hours.

A lot of factors contribute to the number of student credit hours a faculty member generates. Very little of it has to do with effort or quality of instruction.

To put it another way, do I think faculty members should be paid commission on the tuition revenue they 'generate'? No.

59. samwise - September 17, 2010 at 01:24 pm

to universityprof: I really have to question your ability to figure things out here. Is the Chancellor paying you to champion the cause by continuing to praise his efforts. He is NOT giving the faculty something to think about other than research he is giving the President and Provost a weapon to use in the future. Try to get a grip on reality. If there were measures of teaching effectiveness most University's would know about them. There is never meaningful pay for service so stop dreaming. Its the part you do between grading writing and data collection (oh and don't forget the time in class). I think if you continue to make arguments that a single University can alter the market price of teaching through a flawed and damaged measure you should reassess your career goals. I suggest you go to the Chancellor personally and have this conversation you are pushing about the value of teaching and listen to what he says and then watch what he does. If after all that you believe he is doing this to focus more on research then you have made the first step in jousting something other than your windmill. but be careful when jousting your opponent the chancellor may have the arrogance to not match actions with words and you may be unseated. Then you are back to Windmills that normally sit still.

60. intexas - September 17, 2010 at 04:12 pm

I am one of the "red" faculty at A&M (not College Station). While we have been reassured that individual numbers won't be held against us, and that the numbers represent a measure of the university itself, I have to ask why, then, were individual numbers included? I am not reassured. Unfortunately, I have little choice regarding one of the courses I teach, which has a traditionally low enrollment. Low enrollment means red numbers. But it MUST be offered in order to meet the needs of our students and their degree programs. Thus, I'm publicly disgraced (that is, I'm not earning my keep) for doing what I have to do. Fine. Perhaps I will request not to teach that course in the future, even though I'm one of the few faculty members equipped to teach it. Instead, I'll ask for a course that will enroll 100+ students and use lectures to inform students (rather than discussions which help students own their knowledge) and scantrons. Multiple choice and true/false questions are, after all, a time-honored approach to teaching and a clear measure of student learning, right? However, I might have to dumb the class down for fear of students dropping the class because it's too hard, thus sending my numbers spiraling again. Or, since A&M says it values teaching so much, I really need to fear student evaluations at the end of the semester., except I already do fear them, particularly when students personally attack me. And, by the way, evaluations will at some point likely be posted for public perusual according to HB 2504.

However, I'm more concerned about three other items:

1. Public perceptions of faculty are already probably the lowest they have ever been. The chancellor's report, which incidentally offers no guidance as to how to read it, only reinforces the attitude that faculty do nothing for a lot of money. Some of the responses to the article reflect that very perception. I do a great deal and have spent numerous unpaid summer hours--when I typically do my own research--helping students complete their graduate programs. The more students I help, the less research I get done. We earn tenure as a result of our research first, our teaching second. Research is how our merit raises are determined. We didn't receive merit raises this year, even though many of us did produce research and even though we have the highest enrollment ever. I don't think I'm going to work with grad students in the summer anymore. In fact, perhaps I shouldn't work with them at all. My work with grad students (and honors students) isn't counted as part of my "productivity." And how sad is that? I don't want to put students in the middle, but the chancellor clearly doesn't value our efforts toward helping grad students attain their degrees. I should also mention that at our campus, when we teach a summer class, if the enrollment doesn't meet a certain number, our salaries are cut. However, if we over-enroll a class, no commensurate action is taken. We get paid the same. I still haven't figured that one out, but it's a pretty good trick.

(2) I suspect this is a method of chipping away at tenure, for it is the non-tenure track people who produce the most results regarding enrollment for the lowest amount of money and fewest benefits (read: none), which is disgraceful in the first place. Why bother with tenure-track people if the administration can hire PhDs (which they can) to teach classes without the lure and expense of tenure? Indeed, the results of the chancellor's plan could serve to remove the tenure carrot from the stick and then proceed to beat faculty with said stick. Or perhaps the administration will continue to hire tenure-track people, keep them for four or five years, and then indicate their bottom line isn't good enough. Remember, this is a business model.

(3) I don't know if the following plan is system-wide, but my campus very recently decided to enforce the 6-year post-tnure review process. The results of the process remain unclear. For instance, faculty have not been informed as to what will happen if they don't measure up. Still, I am not confident that the "bottom line" won't impact post-tenure review. Again, why have individual numbers if they aren't going to be used?

I am not surprised that these events have taken place in Texas. Nor am I surprised at the chancellor's approach. He is not known for his ability to think through important issues and contemplate the consequences. While the pubic might congratulate him for his efforts, he did not take into consideration that many people will see nothing but red. I can only hope that the rest of the country doesn't follow in Texas A&M's foolish footsteps, though the remainder of Texas probably will. Ultimately, I and others are demoralized, disillusioned, and heartbroken.

61. intexas - September 17, 2010 at 04:48 pm

Does anyone know what happened to the link to the report? It is no longer available through the article.

62. universityprof - September 17, 2010 at 06:44 pm

to samwise: Thank you for what you wrote. I readily admit that I haven't always figured things out properly, and from all you've written I sincerely believe you are much more proficient than me. I do appreciate your words of caution. More than once in my life I've been disappointed to learn that the walk of administrators, and people in general, doesn't always match their talk. When I was a brand new faculty member, an older senior professor came up to me one day, perhaps noticing my naivete, and said, "Don't ever trust administrators; they're all liars." At the time I thought what a sad, bitter old professor. As the years have gone by, I have experienced things that have made me appreciate the old prof's warning. At the same time, I do think that there are administrators who really are trying to do a good job and to do the right thing by their subordinates. I hope that our administrators will do the right thing. I think for the most part that they love A&M, and want to do what's good for the university. Am I still naive? I hope not.

63. dr_mcmom - September 17, 2010 at 07:29 pm

@universityprof:
I understand and appreciate your desire to have teaching more highly valued. Indeed, one of my struggles as a baby-doc was deciding whether I wanted to pursue a career at a teaching institution in order to prepare undergrads for grad training at a research institution, or to pursue a career at a research 1 where women/minorities mentors were direly needed. I chose the latter, UNDERSTANDING that greater emphasis would be placed on my research productivity. Had I gone to teaching-state univ., then I would have expected that any research I would have performed would not be valued as much as my teaching.

Consider how you'd feel if you were recruited at a strong teaching focused liberal arts college, specifically to enhance its teaching capacity (in line with its mission), then you find that according to a metric the administrators developed, NONE of your teaching contributions matter. NONE. Instead, you're being evaluated by the number and dollar amounts of extramural funding you bring in, and by the numbers of pubs and presentations.

That is EXACTLY what is happening to the faculty at TAMU (in reverse).

How flawed is the metric? I have a research scientist I fund from my grants at 100%. I cover ALL her salary. On occasion when the dept is short instructors, she teaches a class for $4500. In the metric, she's shown as $50K + in the red. THEY COUNTED THE SALARY I PAY HER AGAINST HER?

The university recently evaluated many of the buildings around campus and determined that many were not worth investing $ to make functional. It would be cheaper to tear down and start from scratch.

There is NOTHING worthwhile in the current metric to make it worthy of efforts to "improve it." Like some buildings on campus, it needs to be bulldozed into oblivion.

64. gadget - September 17, 2010 at 07:29 pm

I love this: I teach English composition to freshman. In dollars and cents we generate a lot of money for our institutions while making the lowest salaries and wages of any field. The ratio is unreal: $9 in tuition raised for every one expended at one institution, and $2 raised for every one at the other. This is calculated only on tuition dollars, ignoring state expenditures based on FTEs or contact hour reimbursement.

I am going to class on Monday with a new feeling of pride. You may look down on what we do, but we're paying your salary. I demand respect! Rise when I enter the room!

65. universityprof - September 17, 2010 at 08:28 pm

to gadget: I don't look down on you one bit. In fact, I greatly admire what you do. Assuming the Chancellor has some pure motives, you are exactly the kind of faculty member to whom he wants to draw positive attention. As an aside, I now work in a highly technical field, but I learned much more about what really matters in life, not to mention practical skills like writing (essential for research), from my English classes. I also believe that one day that any work you've done for the good of other human beings, even lowly undergraduate students, will be rewarded by the Great Judge, if not now, then in the world to come. So, take heart and don't give up, even when it seems that orcs have taken charge. In the end, justice will be done. Of course I would prefer that justice be done right away, but I am totally confident that it will be done eventually.

66. tuxthepenguin - September 18, 2010 at 09:09 am

The Bush School is running a deficit of more than *one million dollars*. I can understand that running a large deficit really does give an accurate portrayal of the Bush presidency, but I wonder what the justification might possibly be. They don't offer a PhD program, and they don't bring in large grants like engineering, they focus on teaching. Maybe it's okay for the taxpayers and students to dump a million bucks a year into a venture that promotes the Bush name.

67. samwise - September 18, 2010 at 08:12 pm

to universityprof: Now you are patronizing gadget. gadget deserves whatever respect she has earned and you know nothing about her. I suspect she has the respect that is associated with her job but if you are suggesting that the Chancellor has pure motives again you seem unable to deal with the real world. I am seriously concerned about how you manage to be a research faculty and teach given this somewhat limited sense of reality. I hope you can pause and think about what you are seeing before hitting the next windmill too hard, or did you already do that.

68. my2centsworth - September 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

to samwise: universityprof has shown an ability to debate while keeping things civil. While we both obviously vehemently disagree with his opinion, he is still entitled to it without belittling insults.

universityprof:
To answer your question on how I would reward teaching and fix the metric: first, I wouldn't even try to fix the metric; it has no redeeming qualitites.

To the more fundamental question, how would I reward teaching: I'm not convinced that needs fixing either, but I do understand your points here. No question, research is more highly rewarded at A&M than teaching. But, that doesn't mean excellent teaching isn't being done - I think it is for the most part. And, I also think that the professors getting the teaching awards are very deserving. Should they be getting bigger raises because of their excellent teaching? Perhaps, but this isn't crystal clear. The great thing about a free-market economy is that people are free to take their talents someplace else if they don't believe they are being adequately rewarded.

69. universityprof - September 20, 2010 at 07:30 pm

to: my2centsworth: 1776 was a great year that included birth of a nation and publication of Wealth of Nations. I do love free enterprise and market competition; they are key mechanisms by which America achieved it's economomic greatness. My hat's off to Adam Smith and America's founders. With that said, I have my doubts about how well the free-market economy arguments connect to salaries awarded by state-run institutions, whether they be for salaries awarded to "top" researchers or for "top" football coaches. While both academic research and winning football games are acceptable ambitions, we may one day reach a point (especially when economic times are tough for the average tax-paying citizen) where the pay for "top" coaching and pay for "top" researching are both questioned. Of course, this would sound heretical to my friends who deeply love college sports and who deeply love academic research. I enjoy college sports and academic research, but I think neither are the primary mission of public universities. In fact, I think universities have gotten a little out of balance on both coaching pay and researching pay (and I refer to research not externally funded). I maintain that the university's primary mission is teaching. I had hoped, perhaps naively, that the Chancellor's report might help improve the value placed on teaching. I think that is desperately needed. Final note: Thanks for taking up for me. That was truly heartwarming. I've read how great military wartime enemies often showed great respect, even warmth, for their opponents. I'll never forget seeing pictures and some early films made of the Gettysburg veterans, from North and South, embracing each other in later reunions. They could still admire each other, despite the bloody battlefield on which they met. I sometimes wonder if old soldiers have at their heart a greater understanding of civility than old professors. The older I get the more I wonder. Life goes by. Time keeps on slipping into the future.

70. samwise - September 21, 2010 at 01:20 pm

to universityprof and my2centsworth: my comments were intended to point out the frustration with universityprof's continued insistence on what the University is or should be doing in the face of all evidence to the contrary and for that I would suggest that jousting windmills is an appropriate analogy. What universityprof is missing is that the primary mission of the University is "EDUCATION" broadly defined of which teaching is just one method of communicating information for consumption. To elevate it to the primary mission belittles all other facets of the University and brings doubt to the statement that Universityprof supports research. Because it is a market system i would suggest the universityprof seek out employment in a market where the value of his/her services is valued more than at his/her location. That is what every other Professor regardless of talents does when their services are undervalued. If I sound insulting it is because universityprof has put on blinders as to the real effect of the measurement at A&M and that damages or limits the remainder of the faculty in terms of their ability to fix the problem.

71. universityprof - September 21, 2010 at 05:41 pm

to samwise: Do you think top paid public university football coaches ever wonder if something is wrong with the market economy when they are the highest paid government employees? Do you think top paid public university faculty members ever wonder if the benefit to the state is worth the cost? Is everything justified simply by supply and demand forces? In the broad overall mission of "EDUCATION," is teaching as important as research? In the end, for a public university, I think it is public opinion that will ultimately determine what has value. And every member of the public has a right to make their opinion known, by the exercise of free speech and by voting in elections.

72. samwise - September 21, 2010 at 07:45 pm

to universityprof: No I don't think they stop and wonder because they are selling their skills to the market to do otherwise is to dismiss their own efforts to build those skills in the first place. Why not leave if you believe you are undervalued and prove that your belief about teaching is correct. If it is you should be able to find a school that values teaching at the level you subscribe to. But to continue to whine about teaching at a research institution is not going to fly especially when you have faculty lured to the University under the guise of a Tier 1 University that desired their marketable skills only to now be told that those skills will be ignored in favor of junk methods of assessing teaching. Promote your beliefs to the faculty I am sure you will get a lot of sympathy from those who where lied to about what the University was interested in. Otherwise I suggest marketing yourself to prove your point. I am sure there must be a liberal arts non research institution that values teaching as highly as you suggest it is valued.

73. universityprof - September 21, 2010 at 08:38 pm

to samwise: I am very happy and do not feel the least undervalued. I like A&M. Do you like A&M? Do you feel there's a future here for you? I suppose if A&M does one day give the same value to teaching as to research, will you feel undervalued? I hope you won't. You are obviously very passionate about the value of research, so I assume you make some great research contributions, perhaps bringing in millions of dollars of external funding. If so, I applaud you and hope you will keep it up. I admire A&M's great researchers and greatly appreciate the research dollars they bring to the university. This research helps solve societal problems regarding matters e.g. health, agricultural, etc. Further, the grant monies often provide funding for student jobs, enabling students who need financial support to have some income. I repeat that I am a huge fan of research. I have only tried to express the opinion that teaching should also be highly regarded and rewarded. At the present time, teaching is almost irrelevant in the A&M reward structure. I think teaching should be valued as much as research. I assume you disagree. We have different opinions on the matter. As far as the Chancellor's report, I am not wedded to it. Even if it were used, it doesn't measure quality and therefore should have been only one part of a comprehensive evaluation of teaching. Further, I've always maintained that academic contributions include teaching, research, and service. I respect what I think is your opinion, that research is the more important contribution. Maybe you're right. I'm just not convinced. And for the record, I know some super high-paid coaches (paid multiple times the highest paid professor at A&M) and highly paid profs who do wonder why their services are so highly valued. Supply and demand forces don't always dictate what is morally right. One of my academic heroes is the late Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman. I agreed with almost everything he said. However, one thing that I couldn't agree with on moral principle was his arguments for the legalization of all drugs. My friends in law enforcement convinced me that Friedman was wrong on this matter, despite Friedman's brilliant supply/demand, cost/benefit analysis. Supply and demand are not a panacea for justifying any and all activities.

74. southerntransplant - September 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

I don't know where they got my enrollment numbers from, and my research dollars are underreported by 50%. This is nuts.

75. universityprof - September 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

If nothing else comes out of this hoopla, maybe A&M can fix its reporting system for enrollment and research. More likely is that this whole discussion is much ado about nothing, getting people agitated and distracting them from their real jobs. I am ready to focus again on my mission of teaching, research, and service, and hopefully in some small way calling students to greatness.

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