Good News and Bad News from the Federal Data

The Campus Faculty Association has gained access to the federal Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System data set (2013-2014) for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The data reveals good news and bad news.  The University’s finances have strengthened dramatically, while the ranks of management continue to swell.  And, there are some interesting demographic breakdowns…

The good news: financial highlights

Page 120 – net assets of the Urbana-Champaign campus shot up by $140 million (to a total of $2.4 billion), because assets increased $341 million and liabilities increased only $201 million.
Page 120 – “unrestricted” net assets, which can be spent freely at the discretion of the administration, went up $107 million (to a total of $665 million).
Remember these figures are for our campus alone – and these funds are in addition to the endowment, which is separately held.

This would be good news for the campus, if only we had an administration willing to spend some of the huge and ongoing surplus on our many urgent needs – such as fixing decrepit buildings, providing student scholarships, and hiring enough instructors for the swelling ranks of students.

The bad News: management bloat continues.

Pages 201-202 – managerial staff numbers went up by 44 from 2013 to 2014 (on top of an increase of 100 in the previous year). Does this campus need more and more managers?

Demographic highlights:

Page 191 – see demographic breakdown of full-time tenured faculty.  Full-time tenured faculty continue to shrink
Page 192 – see demographic breakdown of full-time tenure-track faculty.  The ranks of full-time tenure-track faculty are not growing fast enough to replace those lost over recent years, nor to keep up with the growing numbers of  students.
Page 193-194 – see demographic breakdown of full-time non-tenure-track faculty. Only 13 non-tenure-track faculty hold multi-year contracts.
Page 208 – salary averages broken down by rank and gender.
Notes: the IPEDS data is reliable because it is reported to the federal government using standardized definitions and methodology. The data collection does have a time lag, though, with the most recent submission from the university being for 2013-2014, as referenced in this article.

Conclusion
The university administration is committed to reshaping the campus using a top-down approach. It is using the Illinois state fiscal crisis to claim that the University is in a financial crisis. The surplus funds continue to grow,  and this would be great news for the campus, if only we had an administration willing to spend money on the many urgent needs – such as fixing decrepit buildings, providing student scholarships, and hiring enough instructors to keep up with the growing student body. Yet the administration is freezing hiring, and cutting back and combining programs. Faculty numbers continue to shrink, while the layers of management continue to grow.   Spending on anti-union law firms never stops. We need a forceful, strong and independent voice to speak for the faculty and protect the quality of education at UIUC.

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