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You’ve Got Questions We’ve Got Answers-The National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity Dr. Heather A. Kelly Assistant Director, Office of Institutional Research & Planning University of Delaware 2006 SUS Data Workshop Tallahassee, FL July 27, 2006
The Delaware Study n Begun in 1992 with 15 research universities, 16 doctoral universities, and 65 comprehensive and baccalaureate institutions to address “Who is Teaching What to Whom, and at What Cost? ” n With funding from TIAA-CREF and Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), the Study’s instrumentation and methodology was refined and enhanced in mid-1990 s. n Currently embraces over 400 four-year colleges and universities across the country. n Is the tool of choice for benchmarking detailed information of teaching loads, instructional costs, and externally funded scholarship at the academic discipline level of analysis.
Focus on Academic Discipline is Not a Trivial Issue n A study done for NCES found that over 80 percent in the variation in instructional costs across fouryear colleges and universities is accounted for by the disciplines that comprise the curriculum at those institutions.
The Typical Delaware Study Participant Pool In Any Given Year n 45 to 55 Research Universities n 25 to 35 Doctoral Universities n 60 to 75 Comprehensive Institutions n 20 to 30 Baccalaureate Institutions Note: The Delaware Study utilizes the 1995 Carnegie Institutional Taxonomy. For analytical purposes, it is far more meaningful than the current version.
The Delaware Study has emerged as an important reporting tool for a diverse group of constituents n n n n n AAU Data Exchange HEDS Southern Universities Group Data Exchange Big 12 Universities University of North Carolina System Tennessee Board of Regents Louisiana Board of Regents Mississippi Board of Regents South Dakota Board of Regents
The Delaware Study Data Collection Template
Delaware Study Benchmarks are Produced for All Participating Institutions n By Carnegie Institutional Type n By Highest Degree Offered n By Relative Emphasis on Undergraduate versus Graduate Instruction
The Delaware Study benchmarks detailed teaching load data… n By faculty category (tenured/tenure track, other regular faculty; supplemental faculty; graduate teaching assistants) n By level of instruction (lower division undergraduate; upper division undergraduate; graduate) n By student credit hours and organized class sections taught
Benchmark Data for Measuring Teaching Loads n Undergraduate Student Credit Hours Taught per FTE Faculty n Graduate Student Credit Hours Taught per FTE Faculty n Total Organized Class Sections Taught per FTE Faculty n FTE Students Taught per FTE Faculty
Benchmark Data for Measuring Fiscal Variables n Direct Instructional Expense per Student Credit Hour Taught n Direct Instructional Expense per FTE Student Taught n Separately Budgeted Research and Service Expenditures per FTE Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty
In Addition to the Standard Delaware Study Benchmarks… n You may request up to 5 peer analyses, each comprised of at least 10 participating institutions. Each peer analysis contains the same benchmarks as in the full Delaware Study analysis. n You receive access to the Delaware Study’s secure website, and to the basic data set from which the national benchmarks were generated. You may massage these data to generate further analyses.
Let’s look at a practical example of using the Delaware Study data…
The Provost chooses to focus on tenured/tenure track faculty when examining data from the Delaware Study n Direct instructional costs are 85% to 90% on average driven by faculty salaries. n Tenured and tenure track faculty are “fixed costs. ” They are essentially with us until retirement. n Tenured and tenure track faculty are the most visible of faculty categories. n What is the return on investment?
n n We provide the Provost with data from multiple years of the Delaware Study, looking at the University indicators as a percentage of the national benchmark for research universities. The Provost receives a single sheet for each academic department, with graphs reflecting numerous indicators.
Sample Benchmarking Science Department
Using Delaware Study Data at the Institutional Level n n From its inception, the Delaware Study has had as its primary function that of being a management tool for provosts, deans, and department chairs to assess the relative position of their academic departments and programs visà-vis those at appropriate comparator institutions. The Delaware Study is not intended to be used as a tool to reward or penalize programs, but rather to focus on strategies for program improvement.
The NCES Study n Examined data from three Delaware Study data collection cycles – 1998, 2000, and 2001 – for 25 disciplines typically found at four year colleges and universities. n The initial hypothesis was that Carnegie institutional classification would be a significant cost driver, i. e. , research universities would teach fewer credit hours at higher cost than doctoral universities, which in turn would teach less and at higher cost than either comprehensive or baccalaureate institutions. n Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the variance in instructional cost across the institutions that participated in each of the three data collection cycles.
Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity
Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity
Cost per Student Credit Hour Taught in Selected Disciplines
Cost per Student Credit Hour Taught in Selected Disciplines
Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity § The volume of teaching activity, as measured by student credit hours taught, is a major expense factor. As one might expect, given a relatively constant faculty size, expense decreases as the volume of teaching increases. § Department size, as measured in terms of total number of faculty, is consistently associated with expense. The larger the department, the higher the cost. § The proportion of a departmental faculty holding tenure is associated with expense. Since tenured faculty are “fixed costs, ” not surprisingly the higher the proportion of tenured faculty, the higher the cost.
Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity § A surprising finding was that, while the presence of graduate level instruction is associated with higher expense, the measured effect of this variable on the magnitude of cost is smaller than teaching volume, department size, and tenure rate. § It is frequently assumed that disciplines such as engineering and the physical sciences are expensive, in part, owing to the equipmentintensive nature of those disciplines. While measurable, the extent to which expense is associated with personnel cost, as opposed to equipment cost, has less impact on the magnitude of expense than teaching volume, department size, and tenure rate.
Major Findings from the NCES Study n Across almost all disciplines, the volume of teaching activity, measured in student credit hours taught, is always associated with direct instructional expense. Cost decreases as the volume of teaching increases. n Department size, measured in terms of total number of faculty, and total number of tenured and tenure track faculty, is consistently associated with cost across the disciplines. The larger the faculty size, the higher the cost.
Major Findings from the NCES Study n The proportion of total faculty who are tenured or who are on tenure track is associated with cost. The higher that proportion, the higher the cost. n Among variables that measure faculty teaching workload, the mean number of student credit hours taught per FTE faculty is the most common cost factor across the disciplines. The larger the average number of student credit hours taught, the lower the cost.
We invite you to visit the Delaware Study website: http: //www. udel. edu/IR/cost
As useful and comprehensive as quantitative instructional ratios and benchmarks are…. . n n n They do not address the non-classroom dimensions of faculty activity in an institution and its academic programs. It is possible that quantitative productivity and cost indicators for a given program/discipline may differ significantly from other institutional, peer, and national benchmarks for wholly justifiable reasons of quality that can be reflected in what faculty do outside of the classroom. This cannot be determined unless measurable indicators of quality are collected.
Expanding the Delaware Study n n n Those working with the Delaware Study over the years are highly sensitive to the possibility of misinterpretation of benchmark data. It is quite conceivable that a department may have teaching loads well below national benchmarks, and instructional costs well above, and pride itself on those measures for purely qualitative reasons. To be sure, what faculty do outside of the classroom – instructional support, scholarship, and service substantively contributes to the quality of an academic program, but may also significantly impact how much faculty teach, and at what expense.
Expanding the Delaware Study n The University of Delaware, which received a major FIPSE grant in 1996 -99 to underwrite the teaching load/cost portion of the Delaware Study, received a second FIPSE grant to expand data collection to include measures of out-of-classroom faulty activity. n The core activity in the current FIPSE grant, as was the case with the earlier grant, is the use of an Advisory Committee to develop data definitions, data collection instruments, and calculation conventions. The Committee is comprised of faculty, institutional researchers, and other experts in measuring what faculty do.
Is Faculty Work Understood? National Center for Education Statistics indicate that full-time faculty at four-year institutions report they spend approximately one-half of their time on teaching activities, which includes approximately 10 hours per week in the classroom (Zimbler, 2001). The term “work load” is often thought to refer to the time faculty spend in the classroom. However, work load relates to faculty work and the numerous associated activities and responsibilities in and out of the classroom (Braskamp & Ory, 1994).
Consider…. NSOPF survey results indicate: n (1999) full-time instructional faculty report they spend approximately 53% of their time on teaching activities including 10 hours per week in the classroom (NCES; Zimbler, 2001). n (2004) full-time instructional faculty report they spend 58% of their time on teaching activities, including approximately 9 hours per week in the classroom (NCES; Cataldi, Bradburn, Fahimi, Zimbler, 2005). These data suggest while faculty may be spending more time on teaching activities, they spend slightly less time in the classroom.
But, the public sees…. “It’s 10 a. m. Do you know where your professors are? ” (Wilson, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2001) n n A Boston University professor of Spanish was quoted saying, “ I don’t get paid for hanging around my office. I get pay increases for preparing for classes and because I publish books and articles and reviews” (p. 10). “It’s not unusual for professors in English, history, modern languages, political science, and philosophy, for example, to come to campus only two or three days a week. The rest of the time professors spend writing at home or conducting research in libraries, archives, and museums – both local and afar. That’s true not only for B. U. professors, but for those at research universities across the country” (p. 11).
Who Else Is Interested in Faculty Workload? Those who fund higher education: – State legislatures – Federal government – Students and parents Higher education trustees and administrators n Faculty themselves n
Faculty Activity Study - Purpose n Help alleviate misunderstandings of faculty activity by providing information to discuss what faculty actually do, how much they do, and the associated products.
Faculty Activity Study - Goal n Demonstrate faculty outputs that are a result of faculty spending time outside the classroom on non-instructional activities. – Teaching (i. e. , redesigning course curriculum, advising students, or conducting research with students) – Scholarship (i. e. , refereed and non-refereed publications, editorial positions, juried shows and commissioned performances, or grant activity) – Service (i. e. , institutional service, faculty extension and outreach activities, or professional service). n The overall goal is to provide evidence regarding program productivity, as well as the means to encourage more effective management in higher education.
The Delaware Faculty Activity Study n Helps to articulate the different expectations for what faculty are expected to do outside of the classroom, based on institutional mission. n Helps to quantify what faculty actually do outside of the classroom as a management tool for assessing the extent to which an institution is fulfilling its mission.
Faculty Activity Study Data Collection Template
Faculty Activity Study Participants n 2002 Faculty Activity Study Total of 57 institutions – 23 comprehensive – – – institutions (40%) 20 baccalaureate institutions (35%) 7 doctoral universities (12%) 7 research universities (12%) 29 private institutions (51%) 28 public institutions (49%) n 2003 Faculty Activity Study Total of 47 institutions – 27 comprehensive – – – institutions (57%) 7 baccalaureate institutions (15%) 7 doctoral universities (15%) 6 research universities (13%) 33 public institutions (70%) 14 private institutions (30%)
Faculty Activity Study - Results § Refined means were not calculated for the variables owing to the relatively small number of participating institutions within each Carnegie institution type, and the large variance in data responses. § The large variance for the majority of the variables within each Carnegie classification makes the median a better statistic to describe the central tendency for the sample.
Activities Related to Teaching
Activities Related to Scholarship
Activities Related to Service
Utilizing the Faculty Activity Study n n n Provides contextual information and supplies a backdrop for examining DE Study’s teaching loads and associated costs. Institutions experiencing state mandates have combined state-mandated elements with the Faculty Activity Study variables to develop one instrument. Institutions have integrated Faculty Activity Study variables into their annual review process. Data facilitates informed decision-making processes. Data helpful in answering requests from state agencies, as well as other external constituents.
We invite you to visit the Faculty Activity Study website: http: //www. udel. edu/IR/fipse
Summarizing the Findings § Certain factors are associated with the magnitude of direct instructional cost. These include volume of student credit hours taught, department size in terms of full time equivalent faculty, and tenure rate. However, before manipulating these factors in any draconian fashion to contain costs, it must be underscored that faculty engage in activities other than teaching that have significant value to students, the institution, and the larger society. § Faculty are typically involved in out-of-classroom activities such as curriculum re-design, academic advising, thesis/dissertation supervision, academic scholarship, and service to the profession/institution/community. § Emphasis on various types of out-of-classroom faculty activity generally reflect institutional choices related to mission and to the balance between and among teaching, research, and service.
Closing Thoughts n It is also incumbent upon institutions to manage their resources, including faculty teaching loads. n Benchmarking tools such as the Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity assist provosts and department chairs in assessing their resources in comparison with peer departments and other departments to which they aspire. n Colleges and universities must be proactive in describing how and why they deploy human and fiscal resources in the manner in which they do.
Questions and Discussion
Useful Resources n n n Middaugh, M. F. (2001). Understanding faculty productivity: Standards and benchmarks for colleges and universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Middaugh, M. F. , Graham, R. , & Shahid, A. (2003). A study of higher education instructional expenditures: The Delaware Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity. (NCES Publication No. 2003 -161). U. S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences. Middaugh, M. F. , & Isaacs, H. K. (2005). Benchmarking departmental activity via a consortial approach: The Delaware Study. In J. E. Groccia & J. E. Miller (Eds. ), On Becoming a Productive University: Strategies for Reducing Costs and Increasing Quality in Higher Education (pp. 70 -83). Bolton, n MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. Middaugh, M. F. (2005). Understanding higher education costs. Planning for Higher Education, 33(3), 5 -18.
Thank you! http: //www. udel. edu/IR/cost http: //www. udel. edu/IR/fipse Please feel free to contact me: Heather A. Kelly, [email protected] edu