Fighting the downsizing of education at the University of Vermont.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two guest entries on the struggle against greed and for the public interest

The first guest entry is from bronwynvt (also visit on how much some employees have had to pay out of their own pockets while the administration was helping itself to bonuses and other perqs. The second is from a former UVM staff member, also active in labor left politics, about the role unions need to play in ending the bonanza for the rich rather than consenting to still further cuts to wages, hours, and benefits.

From bronwynvt:

Another small but significant example of the inequities we are now forced to live with at UVM concerns the policy of not reimbursing professional employees (e.g., counselors at the Counseling Center) for the regulatory fees they have to pay in order to maintain their licenses (which are a required credential for jobs). Employees at UVM have willingly worked for departments with operating budgets so small that some have had to pay out of their own pockets for expensive continuing education courses that are a requirement of these licenses as well. All of this costs hundreds of dollars per year to people who are paid salaries far below a nationally competitive rate. In the past it was clearer that these policies were a financial necessity at an institution with scarce resources. Now these policies are set and maintained by a group of people paying themselves excessive salaries, bonuses, generous allowances, and according to one rumor I've heard, expensive golf club memberships as well. Vermont's state university does not need leaders whose primary motivation is money rather than the public good. We need leaders who will help us keep the institution as a whole, which means its facilities and its people vital and well prepared to meet the demands and challenges of serving our students. What our leaders have proven is that they will make sure they generously staff their own ranks and reward themselves with excessive compensation at the direct expense of adequate staffing for our most essential services.

And from Paul F.:

While the goal of averting layoffs is of course good, the Vermont State Employees Association offer of wage freezes and furloughs is a disastrous strategy. Instead of challenging Douglas's underlying agenda of downsizing, privatizing, protecting the wealthy, and frankly eliminating some of last good working class jobs by going after public sector unions--and then helping to mobilize a mass opposition that could make a difference, this concessionary approach exposes everyone to more cuts and takeaways later on as the depression deepens. Consider: 

1. Vermont's tax rate for the wealthy has plummeted by about two-thirds since 1970. What about that? (See attachment)

2. Montpelier and Washington have refused to socialize healthcare for the many decades now. Let's reform that before more give backs.

3. I was told yesterday that some advocates in Montpelier are expecting an additional $100 million budget shortfall by July. What then? There will be even more pressure for concessions --instead of taxing the wealthy, healthcare reform, and cutting the war budget. There is no choice but to fundamentally challenge the skewed priorities that have prevailed for the past 4 decades. The sooner we do this the better. 

4. As one of the few organized forces capable of mounting a challenge to the attempts to further lower living standards and to protect the accumulated riches of the wealthy, unions need to be leading this struggle and can have an influence far greater than their size.

Click to see chart and text full-size:

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Modest Proposal

The Free Press editorializes that University of Vermont employees and students are unrealistic in pressing the Fogel administration to pursue alternatives to faculty and staff layoffs. An examination of publicly available salary data suggests a different conclusion: President Daniel Fogel has shown excessive devotion to increasing the size and salaries of upper administration whose expense a state university cannot realistically bear. Consider:

• In 2002, four UVM administrators (not including the College of Medicine) drew salaries above $150,000 a year for a total of $641,523.
• By 2008 this number of top salary earners had jumped to 25 for a total of $4,727,685.
• One year later the number of top-tier earners is 38, including the president, provost, and various vice presidents, vice provosts, deans, and directors. The total spent on their salaries, not including benefits, is $6,931,241. 

The published salaries for top executives is only part of the story. Raises and promotion increases for individual administrators this year far outpaced the salary increase pools of 3.8 to 5% for faculty, staff, and service workers. Consider:

• In addition to a bonus of $21,000, the dean of UVM's modest-sized College of Engineering, Math, and Statistics received a 9% raise, bringing his salary from $220,964 to $240,182. lists the U.S. median salary for an engineering dean in 2009 as $192,149.
• When two mid-level professors were promoted to associate dean, they received promotion increases of $44,302 and $51,822, bringing their salaries to between $110,000 and $121,000. lists the median salary for an associate dean of undergraduate education as $84,194.

Through UVM's "boom years" of 2002 to 2008--when, according to UVM Sourcebooks, tuition revenues increased by nearly 50%--the increase in the size and cost of administration came at the expense of academic programs. The pool for unionized faculty salaries as a share of tuition revenues fell by 12%. According to Sourcebooks, the majority of new faculty brought in to teach the 30%-bigger student body were given contingent rather than long-term, tenure-track positions.

As we look ahead to lean years--and consider how we will meet the educational needs and expectations of students who will take care in deciding where to spend their tuition dollars--it is time for UVM to reassess the unrealistic size and expense of its administration. For instance, through salary reductions and position cuts at the top, the administration could return to its 2002 salary pool for top executives, realizing an immediate savings of more than $6 million annually.

Or--taking President Fogel at his word that we should use the financial crunch as an opportunity to imagine a better UVM--consider this proposal: that no administrator draw a salary more than 30% above what the Sourcebook lists as a full professor's average salary. Such a proposal would bring down the president's base salary from $322,563 to $130,000--and would have the added bonus of pulling down all other administrative salaries that have soared with the president's in the past six years.

True, our current president and many in his administration might choose to pack their bags. True, UVM would not be offering salaries that are competitive on the national higher-ed administration market. But maybe that's what UVM, valued by students for the attention faculty and staff give to undergraduate education, needs: Not career and corporate-oriented administrators but faculty and staff who, after years of commitment to UVM, serve in a downsized administration for modest pay increases, then return to the classrooms, labs, and academic support offices where a university's people are most needed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Executive Pay and Bonuses, Part II

Click on table to view full size.

Also at yesterday's rally Vice President Cate was asked to explain the above table of bonuses--beyond base salaries--paid to 21 administrators between 2006 and 2009. His initial response: that bonuses are common "in the world of business." Yes, it's true: It is common in corporate America to reward incompetent and greedy executives with bonuses on top of their already fat paychecks. But UVM isn't corporation; it's a public university.

Executive Pay and Bonuses, Part 1

At yesterday's emergency rally to stop staff and faculty layoffs, UVM's interim vice president for finance and administration said that the administration does not know where United Academics (the faculty union) got its numbers about top-tier salary spending growing under Fogel from just over half a million dollars annually to nearly $7 million- just for the salaries of 38 top executives. But where the information comes from is UVM's own publicly available base salary data, reprinted below.

Salaries (not including medical school) at and above $150,000 2009:

Ballard,William Preston Associate Vice President $166,050
Johnson,Barbara L. Associate Vice President $153,750
Nestor,David A. Associate Vice President $152,986
Schultz,Michael W Associate Vice President $155,408
Winfield,George F. Associate Vice President $219,145
Carr,Frances Eileen VP Research & Grad Studies $235,092
Cate,Richard Interim VP for Fin&Admin $180,000
Corran,Robert Assoc VP & Director Athletics $179,375
Diamond,Marcus M. VP for Dev & Alumni Rel $261,375
McCabe,Christopher James Ast VP Athl Mrktg&BusnDvlp $151,337
Hughes,John M. Senior Vice Pres/Provost $232,336
Bazluke,Francine Vice Pres & Gen'l Counsel $189,432
Gustafson,Thomas James Vice Pres Stdnt&Cmpus Life $179,957
Lucier,Christopher H. Vice Pres for Enrollment Mgmnt $187,775
Meyer,Karen N. Vice Pres State&Fed Rlnts $152,978
DeWitt,Rocki-Lee Dean $223,900
Forcier,Lawrence K. Interim Dean $187,775
Goldberg,Joel Michael Associate Dean $151,842
Grasso,Domenico Dean $240,182
Johnson,Rachel K. Administrative Leave - Dean $180,330
Lantagne,Douglas Ovila Dean $162,049
Miller,Eleanor M. Dean $192,280
Miller,Fayneese S. Dean $193,356
Rambur,Betty A. Dean $177,094
Rizvi,Saiyid Abu Dean $158,000
Saule,Mara Rita Dean $175,351
Shirland,Larry Elwyn Associate Dean $155,736
Vayda,Michael E. Associate Dean $158,277
Vogelmann,Thomas C. Interim Dean $180,000
Heading-Grant,Wanda Renarda Associate Provost $150,329
Tarule,Jill Mattuck Associate Provost $168,527
Ashikaga,Takamaru Director $179,407
Chiarelli,Salvatore Director $150,000
Kelleher,Kathleen Ann Advancement Professional Sr $154,200
Lonergan,Michael Thomas Athletic Head Coach Sr $154,950
Sneddon,Kevin A. Athletic Head Coach Sr $157,400
Marshall,Jeffrey Scott Assoc Dean $160,697
Fogel, Daniel Mark President $322,563

Total Top Tier Salary Pool, 2008-09: $6,931,241


Salaries at/above $150,000, 2001-02:
Colodny, Edwin Irving, Interim President 170000
Bramley, Andrew John, Interim Provost, 165000
Degroot, Ian Willem, Interim VP for Dev & Alum, 150123
Shirland, Larry Elwyn, Interim Dean, 156420

Total Top Tier Salary Pool 2002: $641,543

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Truth About UVM's Class Sizes--Confirmed

President Fogel now acknowledges that the table he presented to trustees last weekend, showing that small classes would only be minimally impacted by a downsized faculty, was flawed--the "0- to 11-seat" courses containing sections for independent studies, honors thesis, and internships plus Continuing Ed seats reserved in much larger classes. So, as common sense would tell us, it really is true: A downsized faculty and an upsized student body will result in more lecture hall classes at UVM - more than a third of classes, in fact.

Click on the table and charts to see them in full size:

Monday, February 9, 2009

The truth about how downsizing faculty will upsize UVM's classes

Click on the table below to enlarge. Also note that the UVM administration appears to have counted as "small classes" credit hours that students take as independent study/readings and research, internship, honors, and clinical/field experience--obscuring the impact of the cancellation of 87 12- to 19-seat small classes. But even working with the administration's distorted data, the evidence is clear: If faculty layoffs proceed, small- and medium-size classes at UVM are declining while large and "supersize-me" classes are on the rise.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thanks to the movement against downsizing education at UVM ....

....President Fogel is on the defensive and the press coverage no longer assumes that layoffs are inevitable, necessary, or can be done without harm to education on the ground. Read on for a sampling of coverage from yesterday's press conference and the sharp rebuke of Fogel and his spending priorities/downsizing plans delivered this morning to trustees by Faculty Senate President Robyn Warhol-Downs.

On Vermont Public Radio:

UVM faculty ask Board to slow down on budget cuts
Friday February 6, 2009

(Host) University of Vermont students and faculty say the Board of Trustees should consider alternatives to layoffs and budget cuts. The Board is meeting this week to get an update on the school's response to an estimated $28 million shortfall.
Education Professor David Shiman is the president of United Academics, the union that represents faculty. Shiman says administrators should instead be looking at the endowment.
(Shiman) "So why not look at this in the way other universities have, and say are there ways that we can tap into this, to give us some breathing room to make decisions. I think another way is to look down the hallway, and look at the salaries and say are there some issues that the administration can look at, as far as compensation for upper level administrators.''
(Host) Shiman says that administrators should not act so quickly on cuts. Deans have submitted plans for layoffs and budget reductions. Nursing Professor Judith Cohen says the threat of layoffs have been stressful for faculty. And she says necessary programs like hers shouldn't face cuts:
(Cohen) ``It makes absolutely no strategic sense given the University's emphasis on health and increasing enrollments that resources are not forthcoming to support programs at UVM where there is a high interest and even greater societal need."
(Host) UVM president Dan Fogel says the school may be able to avoid layoffs by eliminating vacant positions. And Fogel says no decisions will be made until the size of potential state appropriations are known.

In the Burlington Free Press:
UVM faculty, students decry cutbacks

By Tim Johnson
Free Press Staff Writer

One day before the University of Vermont's trustees convened to review UVM's fiscal woes, faculty and students gathered Thursday to decry anticipated budget and program cuts, and to urge restraint.

They contended that larger classes and stretched resources would detract from staff morale, from the quality of education and from the appeal that UVM holds for prospective students as a small research university -- arguments that the administration sought to counter with a response late Thursday afternoon. And the protesters urged alternative ways to meet the budget shortfall: by spreading some of the structural reductions over three or four years, by reducing expenditures for top-level administrators and by drawing on a small percentage of the endowment.

How seriously trustees will take these and other ideas is an open question. The board is expected to receive an update today from the UVM administration on the process of formulating a budget for the next fiscal year, to begin July 1. UVM administrators have said they have to make up for a $28 million shortfall in that spending plan and have obtained budget-cutting recommendations from each of the university's deans.

The administration has said details on the new budget would be released this month. Reductions in teaching staff (fewer lecturers, open positions left vacant), layoffs and bigger classes are anticipated.

David Shiman, president of United Academics, the faculty union, said a recent survey revealed anger, frustration and sadness as common faculty reactions to uncertainties surrounding the budget and university structure. He took issue with what he said was the administration's penchant for basing policy decisions on student-faculty ratios that the faculty never agreed to and that don't reflect the educational values to which UVM aspires.

Any spending cuts should be "patient, thoughtful, strategic," Shiman said.

"Don't start with the faculty and staff," he said. "That's the last place you go, not the first." He said he expected the trustees to put cogent questions to administrators charged with drawing up the budget.

Shiman's remarks kicked off an hourlong news conference in the Waterman Building.

Stephanie Kaza, a director of UVM's environmental studies program, said popularity of the program is surging (majors and minors increased by more than 22 percent, to more than 600 students) but that with just 6.2 fulltime-equivalent positions, faculty are hard-pressed to meet all the needs. Instead of increasing faculty resources, she said, she is only hearing about cuts.

Three students said they feared that the educational attributes that drew them to UVM are in jeopardy.

"A big school with a small-school feel -- that's what really attracted me to UVM," said first-year student Peter Helm, adding that student-professor relationships were "the best part of this school." Yet the expected budget cuts, he said, "would radically change my experience at UVM."

Judy Cohen, professor of nursing, said cutbacks to the nursing faculty and nursing undergraduates would fly in the face of the state's growing health needs and of an economy that counts health professions as one of the few growing sectors.

Responding for the administration, UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera said in an e-mail: "The quality of UVM's educational experience has been on the rise. The changes we are pursuing will only enhance our quality and allow us to use our resources more wisely.

"Some classes are too small and don't meet new minimum requirements," Corredera said. "We expect that small classes with fewer than 11 students will be affected the most. ... The vast majority of UVM classes will have the right number of students. We will continue to rank very high among peers in the number of small classes we offer."

He added that "the budget challenges we face affect all levels of our operation. Budget reductions are indeed affecting senior members of the administration."

The protesters passed out data showing percentage growths in salary spending for deans and executives that exceeded those for faculty in 2002-08, along with a letter to trustees that United Academics sent last week.

The letter said in part: "Some prominent faculty who have long been strong supporters of UVM are now questioning whether they can, in good conscience, stand in front of prospective students and tell them that this university still offers a high-quality education."

Professor Robyn Warhol-Down's Address to Trustees:

I. The three minutes that the President of the Faculty Senate is allotted on the agenda do not begin to be enough time to convey the anxiety, dismay, anguish, and outrage that many faculty are expressing right now. I have timed this report at four and a half minutes. I trust you will grant me that extra ninety seconds, and listen to what the faculty have to say.

II. First, the faculty are dismayed by the priorities and the approach to budget cutting that the central administration and the deans have taken. The faculty wants to keep all our valued colleagues on the staff and faculty at UVM, and not to see them fired, laid off, or “non-reappointed.” Behind every so-called “routine non-reappointment” is a part-time faculty colleague’s professional life and livelihood, a teacher’s relationship to a community of students. Everything and anything else that does not directly produce revenue needs to be eliminated before one faculty or staff colleague loses a job. For one example, catering bills. Like that [indicating the buffet table]—when faculty gather for department meetings or college meetings, there is no Sodexho coffee, no Pellegrino, no scones. We bring our own coffee. The university does not pay for that. For another
example, tonight there will be a lovely dinner for 100 people, celebrating retiring trustees, which is appropriate and as it should be. But were any of us who are attending asked to write a check for our dinners? If the faculty has a retirement party for a colleague we pay for our own meals. The university does not pay for that. Or executive bonuses—faculty do give our support staffs bonuses around the holidays, but the money represents gifts from our own pockets. The university does not pay for that. Or our increasingly lavish and admittedly beautiful Commencement celebrations—this university cannot afford to pay for that. These amounts might sound to you like nickels and dimes, but if you knew what a part-time faculty member earns, that would sound like nickels and dimes to you, too.

III. Second, the faculty are resisting the prospect of large-scale institutional restructuring, not because they are afraid of change, but because they are fearful about the rapidity of the process for initiating it. The faculty need to hear direct assurance
(as I heard from Chairman Boyce in his report this morning) that no degree program can be canceled, moved into or out of a college, or recombined with another program without first going through the review, debate, and approval process mandated by the Faculty Senate. By now you, the Trustees and you, the central administration cannot say this soon enough or often enough to allay all the anxiety out there.

IV. And finally, the faculty are still reeling from the invitation of Ben Stein to speak at Commencement and receive an honorary degree, although of course everyone is relieved that he will not be coming. The press and the public have misunderstood the grounds for the faculty’s rejection of Ben Stein. This is not political correctness, nor is it about silencing people who hold controversial (or conservative) views. When Ben Stein spoke at UVM last year, it didn’t cause a ripple. The problem this time was that this person who profits enormously by his professed rejection of science was to be honored with a UVM degree. The faculty confers degrees, and for such a person to receive one from this faculty was an impossibility. Learning that he was to be paid $7,000--more than most part-time faculty members earn for teaching a whole semester’s course--added insult to

V. In 26 years at UVM I have seen the faculty this riled up only two times, once just before the end of George Davis’s presidency and once just before the end of Tom Salmon’s. I speak for the Executive Council of the Senate when I say we strongly support Dan Fogel’s presidency and we would not want to see it end for many years to come. But this kind of upset among the faculty leads to real institutional instability, and it cannot be ignored.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Press conference this morning, rally and march tomorrow!

Don't Downsize Education at UVM Press Conference
11:30-12:30, Memorial Lounge, Waterman
Join United Academics, the union representing most faculty at UVM, to send the message that the administration's plans to add 600 additional students by 2012 and boost class sizes while eliminating professor positions and laying off faculty and staff pose a grave threat to UVM's specialness and value. There are alternatives--including slowing the pace by which the accumulated deficit under Fogel is addressed and downsizing his administration, which grew sevenfold in six years--to downsizing students' education.

Stop the Budget Cuts, Stop the Layoffs,
Stop the Tuition Hikes, End Large Class Sizes!

Rally and Demonstration at the Board of Trustee Meeting
Friday, February 6th, at 12noon in the Atrium of the Davis
March to McCauley Hall, Trinity Campus, leaves from Davis by 12:45

Amidst a national economic downturn, UVM administrators have decided to take the opportunity to drastically overhaul and undermine the University
and our educations. With their plans to increase the incoming freshman size by another 300 student into already overcrowded dorms, increase our tuition by 6% and ruthlessly layoff over a hundred of our lectures, professors, faculty and staff, they're balancing the budget on our collective backs.

We must tell the Board of Trustees that we will not allow them destroy our education, that there are alternatives to this slash and burn shock doctrine and "tightening of our belts." Tap the endowment and if cuts must be made make them from the top, from the administration, not from those who make this University worth going to.

Join Students Stand Up for Friday's rally in the Davis Center. Have class until 12:35? Join the march to McCauley Hall to "welcome" trustees as they tour the planned renovation for (ware)housing additional students.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

UVM Financial Facts and Spending Priorities Under President Daniel Mark Fogel

Compiled for United Academics' "Don't Downsize Education at UVM" press conference
Thursday, February 5, 11:30-12:30
Memorial Lounge, Waterman, UVM

University of Vermont
Financial Facts and Spending Priorities
Under President Daniel Mark Fogel

Change in undergraduate enrollment 2002-08: +30%
Change in tuition revenues 2002-08: +50%
Change in operating fund 2002-08: +40%
Headcount of tenure/tenure-track faculty in 2002: 579
Headcount of tenure/tenure-track faculty in 2008: 603
Change in tenure/tenure-track faculty headcount 2002-08: +4%
Number of vice president positions in 2002: 3
Number of vice president positions 2008: 22
Change in vice president positions 2002-08: +633%
Increase in salary pool for unionized faculty (new positions and raises) 2002-08: 30%
Increase in salary pool for vice presidents, provost, president (new positions and raises) 2002-08: 152%
Number of deans (not including College of Medicine) in 2002: 20
Number of deans (not including College of Medicine) in 2009: 27
Salary pool for deans (not including College of Medicine) in 2002: $2,032,467 million
Salary pool for deans (not including College of Medicine) in 2009: $4,028,841 million
Change in number of deans: +35%
Change in salary pool for deans: +98%
Number of administrators (not including College of Medicine) earning $150,000 or higher, 2002: 4
Number of administrators (not including College of Medicine) earning $150,000 or higher, 2008: 25
Number of administrators (not including College of Medicine) earning $150,000 or higher, 2009: 38
Change in administrators earning $150,000 or higher 2002-09: +850%
Change in administrators earning $150,000 or higher 2008-09: +58%
Total of administrative salaries (not including College of Medicine) $150,000 and above 2002: $641,543
Total of administrative salaries (not including College of Medicine) $150,000 and above 2008: $4,727,685
Total of administrative salaries (not including College of Medicine) $150,000 and above 2009: $6,931,241

From the University of Vermont Office of Institutional Studies Sourcebooks 2002-2008 and Annual List of Base Pay, 2002 to 2009.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

This Week in the Fight Against Downsizing at UVM and Beyond

Here's a quick run-down of the events that Cecile, Ben, and I promoted on WRUV this afternoon:

* Monday (Tomorrow!): 5 pm Save Our State vigil against state budget cuts and layoffs, 108 Cherry Street (near Church). 6:30 pm Students Stand Up organizing meeting, MLK Lounge, Billings.

* Tuesday: 7 pm Community forum with Sit-down Strikers from Chicago's Republic Windows and Doors, North Lounge, Billings. (They sat down so we can stand up!)

* Wednesday, 7 pm Public forum on War, Recession, and Obama: Socialist Strategies for Radical Change, 302 Lafayette

* Thursday, 11:30-12:30, Don't Downsize Education at UVM press conference, Memorial Lounge, Waterman.

And stay tuned for any events and actions related to Friday's Board of Trustees meeting. Help us project the message: "Money for jobs and education - not for Fogel's administration"!

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