In the new issue of Academe, Elizabeth Capaldi, executive vice president and provost at Arizona State University, writes about how her university has handled steep cuts in state funding.
She says that while some university activities–for example, a named fund, building, or chair–are supported by dedicated funds, “the state and the students themselves are the primary funders of the educational functions of public universities.” Thus, although faculty have tried to shield students, “the recent state budget cuts have thus had a disproportionate effect on the education of students.”
Because administrators do not like to talk publicly about the negative effects of budget cuts, many people outside the university do not realize how much damage these cuts are causing. While it is important for legislators and governors—and the public at large—to understand these negative effects, advertising the effects hurts our ability to recruit faculty members and students and depresses morale. We know, however, that when we increase class size, rely more heavily on contingent faculty, and cut staff, we are indeed interfering with the quality of education we provide to students.
Is your institution dealing with budget cuts? If so, what are the most visible effects and what is kept hidden?