to: REGENTS of the University of California
from: Charles Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley
subject: ITEM E1 for the May 15 meeting of the Committee on Educational Policy
Academic Performance Indicators at UC
It is gratifying to see the UC Office of the President (UCOP) finally making use of the University’s Faculty Time Use Survey (see page 6 of Item E1, posted at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/may13/e1.pdf ). I have been writing and speaking about this important source of data for some time, with little or no response from University officials. For any serious intellectual study about what goes on in this great public research university, and for any serious attempt to provide meaningful “accountability and transparency” to the public, this is an essential resource.
I am happy to see that UCOP acknowledges that this data, originally collected almost 30 years ago, is probably quite accurate today. The top level results are that Regular Rank Faculty spend, on average, 61.3 hours per week at all university-related activities; and this total work time is primarily allocated: 42% to Instruction; 38% to Research; 20% to Professional, Public and University Service. There is a portion of the non-Instructional activities, amounting to something less than 6%, which may be allocated to Instruction. (The UCOP paper erroneously gives a total of 54% for all instructional activities.)
Regretfully, the UCOP paper does not mention further data that allows one to separate the Instructional work of the Faculty between undergraduate and graduate studies. This is very important for any realistic assessment of work and costs at the University. The older Time Use Survey says that Faculty class time is divided equally between these two levels of instruction; a more recent study by UCOP, which involves a measure of student credit hours, comes out with a different proportion, namely 3/8 for undergraduate classes and 5/8 for graduate classes. (See http://ucop.edu/academic-planning-programs-coordination/_files/documents/fia/fia_annlrpt2007.pdf , Tables 14-16.)
This leads to an estimate that something under ¼ of all Faculty work time – and thus something less than ¼ of all Core expenses for Ladder Faculty – may be fairly allocated to undergraduate instruction. This conclusion is strongly at odds with the standard method by which UCOP (and other research universities) calculate the average per-student cost for providing undergraduate education. For more discussion of this controversy, see my recent papers “Financing the University – Parts 22 and 23”, posted at http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz . There I calculate that undergraduate tuition and fees now far exceed 100% of the actual cost for UC to provide undergraduate education (including direct instructional costs, supporting services and institutional overhead).