Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) February 05, 2014
Colleges and universities increasingly rely on part-time faculty to meet instructional demands and rein in costs, but rising benefit costs and increased hiring for other types of positions have undercut those savings, a new report by the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) finds.
“Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive? Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education” shows that part-time faculty and graduate assistants account for at least half of instructional staff at many colleges and universities. Institutions continue to hire full-time faculty, but the pace typically lags behind student enrollment at public colleges, and the new faculty often fill non-tenure track positions.
“The most striking change in higher education staffing over the past two decades has been the continuing increase in the use of part-time instructors,” says AIR researcher Donna Desrochers. “But even with these cost-saving staffing changes, total compensation costs per employee continued to rise steadily for most of the past decade.” Watch a video of Desrochers discussing the report.
Researchers Desrochers and Rita Kirshstein found widespread increases in the number of administrative jobs – with mid-level professional positions like business analysts, human resource staff, counselors and health workers driving the growth. Professional staff increased twice as fast as executive and managerial positions and account for nearly 20 to 25 percent of all campus jobs. However, the authors found colleges and universities are investing in professional jobs that provide non-instructional student services – such as counseling, admissions, and financial aid and athletics – rather than just business-related services.
“Contrary to some public perceptions, faculty salaries are not the leading cause of rising spending or tuition increases in higher education. The average salary for full-time faculty has stayed flat from 2002 to 2010,” says Desrochers. “Additional hiring and benefits – including medical plans, Social Security taxes and retirement contributions – are driving much of the increase in overall compensation costs.”
Other notable findings:
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit http://www.air.org.