CCAP: Most University's Professors Do Little Teaching or Research

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 General News
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Analysis of University of Texas-Austin: a Reflection on National Problem?

AUSTIN, Texas and WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Only 20 percent of

University of Texas at Austin professors teach the majority of students, according to a new study released this week.  The landmark study, conducted by The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), raises questions about efficiency and waste at public universities in Texas and around the country as tuition costs have skyrocketed.

If the bottom 80 percent were half as productive in their teaching as the top 20 percent, tuition could be cut in half.

"States looking to find answers to the exponential growth in college costs should take a close look at the Texas study's findings," said Dr. Richard Vedder, director of The Center for College Affordability and Productivity and a co-author of the study. "It appears universities can significantly reduce college costs by having faculty teach more students or courses. This, along with other studies on the high cost of research and limited learning outcomes of students, suggests we need to re-examine how students and faculty use their time, and how incentives can be used to enhance the productivity of all members of the university community."

Among the study's findings:

  • Twenty percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours.  The same 20 percent also generate 18 percent of the campus's research funding.  This suggests that these faculty are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility.
  • The least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do others.
  • Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty;
  • Two percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research.
  • Non-tenured track faculty teach a majority of undergraduate enrolments and 31 percent of graduate enrolments.

"The results are very compelling and eye-opening," said Vedder.  "Other states should follow Texas's emphasis on university-cost transparency and release faculty compensation, teaching loads, external research grant information, student evaluation results and other relevant data for closer inspection."

Founded in 2006, The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) is dedicated to researching the rising costs and stagnant efficiency in higher education, with special emphasis on the United States. CCAP seeks to facilitate a broader dialogue on the issues and problems facing the institutions of higher education with the public, policy makers, and the higher education community.

SOURCE The Center for College Affordability and Productivity

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