But we also need to talk about why the uni-administration probably had no choice.
Buckle up and let's talk about university finances and the 4 horsemen of the academipocalypse. 1/lots?
But people ask - why can't the universities teach remotely, or just skip a semester in order to keep everyone safe? 2/x
Most people don't realize, but public funding on higher education has been collapsing for a decade now, with serious budget cuts in nearly every state cbpp.org/research/state… 4/x
Basically the recession emergency cuts were made permanent. 6/x
That leads directly into exploding tuition costs. 7/x
This also works out the same on a per-student basis...10/x
Those rising costs have led to a quest for solutions to the productivity problem and you will hear all sorts of cure-alls. 11/xx
There isn't a way around Baumol's Cost Disease because personal interaction is the thing on offer 12/xx
It has been a disaster. 13/xx
Which in turn leads to amenities inflation - the rock-climbing walls and other fancy student amenities you hear complained about. 14/xx
But you can try to draw in the best students by promising a fun student life... 15/xx
The problem is that it leads to a Red Queen Effect - if *everyone* invests in fancy student amenities, costs go up, tuition goes up, but no university wins. 16/xx
The thing is, there's no effective cost control...17/xx
So more admin, more amenities, more debt. 18/xx
BASICALLY NONE OF THIS MONEY GOES TO ANYONE WHO TEACHES.
(rip your ears, I know). 19/xx
So the average *teacher* - not professor because most aren't anymore - gets paid LESS. 21/xx
It's that kind of false economy. 23/xx
Because you are burning these adjuncts out at a fearful rate; overloaded and underpaid...24/xx
The result is inferior teaching, even though most adjuncts work hard! 25/-continues-
It also imposes larger and larger fixed operation costs, compensated for by higher and higher tuition...26/41
Because if you are running one of these universities, you have massive problems - you can't simply say "we'll do the courses online and charge full freight"...27/x
Calling a halt to university operations, or doing everything online and waiving the on-campus living fees is financial suicide. It was the *right* course...29/41
At the same time, even without Pestilence, the system is still broken. Demanding that universities 'run like businesses' to save the public money just doesn't work. 30/41
But just because markets work in *some* things doesn't mean markets work in *everything*...31/41
And here's the thing: there is a large for-profit college sector in the United States. And it is *terrible* 32/41
So what about solutions? We should start with the big public universities.
Step 1: After COVID has passed, states need to reverse the endless budget cuts...35/41
And honestly, legislatures should demand the superior teaching that comes from TT-faculty...40/41
That way the next time we have to go online for a pandemic (it will happen again!) students will know they are still getting the thing they paid for: an education. end/41
And they're right! There just wasn't space in an already overlong thread. Being an adjunct myself, you can bet I have thoughts!
But that will have to wait for another thread.