[From our favourite disgruntled retiree, some crunched numbers to challenge the mandarins of the Looneyversity]

Here, taken from official documents, is a comparison 2007 – 2011 in the 2011 Annual Report dated 12th April 2012. Below is a pretty disastrous summary table:

Summary Table 2007 – 2011
2007 2011 Change
Student Load 24,026 29,844 24.20%
Total Operating Revenue $405,936,000 $562,313,000 38.52%
Total Number Academic Staff 1182 1286 8.80%
Total Number General Staff 1,226 1,529 24.71%
Student Academic Staff Ratio 23.24 26.46 13.86%
Revenue per student $16,897  $18,842 11.51%
Revenue per member of academic staff $343,431  $437,257 27.32%
Academic % of total staff 49.09% 45.68% -6.93%
General % of total staff 50.91% 54.32% 6.68%
Revenue per unit  $2,112.14  $2,355.22 11.51%
Revenue per student per hour  $50.29  $56.08 11.51%

All data is from Page 8 of the Vice Chancellor’s 2011 Annual Report to the Minister of Education dated 12th April 2012. The Minister and, quite rightly, the Government is now looking at Universities to see if they can contribute to the imperative they have imposed upon themselves of balancing the budget.

The table should indicate clearly that any cry now of, “Poverty!” is as a result of the profligate spending on an increased army of general staff who add nothing to the University’s mission of educating, researching, and publishing

The figures speak for themselves! If the University is poor, it is because they have wasted the resources on, amongst other things, employing more administrators. Total operating revenue has increased 38.5% in just 5 years at a time of very low inflation in both wages and prices.

The academics, who are being burdened with proposed cuts, have been remarkably productive in terms of a 13.86% increase in student staff ratio and a massive 27.32% increase in revenue per member of academic staff. The academics have certainly not enjoyed a similar increase in their salaries over the 5 year period.

The proportion of academic staff to general staff has become increasingly adverse with the ratio dropping nearly 7% compared to the increase in ratio of general staff of 6.7%. It is the academics who are the “production line staff” pursuing the University’s mission of education, research, and publication. The administrators do no teaching, no research, and no publication.

Students are similarly contributing additional 11.51% revenue per head but are “suffering” from the adverse 13.86% increase in student staff ratio.

Students study 8 units towards a degree per year. Using $19,800 revenue per student, each student pays $2,475 for a unit with 42 hours of face to face teaching. That’s $69 per hour for each of the (often) 150+ students in a lecture theatre or 30+ students in a so called “tutorial”.

That $2,475 per unit gives them little face to face access to academics and precious little feedback on assignments or examinations with the examiners being given little time to mark and write feedback.

The picture is actually worse than the figures show. Included in “Academic” staff are heads of school, assistant heads of schools and other senior academics who do no teaching and very little research or publication. Also included in “academic” are staff, such as Directors of Academic Programs who have administrative loadings on top of the “normal” administrative load of academics that is increasing year by year thanks to the increased demands of the army of administrators. We must also be aware that some service tasks such as cleaning and security are now sub-contracted and of course the University can’t get by without employing consultants.

Meanwhile, back at UWS, administrators are now actually dictating to academics the wording of the details of unit outlines and learning guides. These are administrators with no experience whatsoever in the discipline, no industry experience in the discipline area, and with no current or recent face to face teaching experience. So much for academic freedom! So much for academic integrity! So much for the potential quality of the learning experience of the graduating students.

Students are now receiving very little in terms of “hard copy” of teaching materials. The $19,800 revenue per student does not extend to providing them with printed unit outlines, learning guides, or lecture notes.

Assessment requirements are now being dictated by administrators using a matrix based upon amount of time the academic is “allowed” for marking. It’s got nothing to do with the requirements of the degree, the professional discipline, or the content of the particular unit. It has nothing to do with how long it takes to give good quality feedback to students.