- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University is the only school in the country over the past decade to hire more full-time faculty while reducing staffing in other areas, according to a new report by a nonprofit education group.

The Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research said ISU in Ames boosted its full-time faculty per 1,000 students by 41 percent between 2004 and 2012, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1iy0yG2 ). The school decreased part-time faculty and all non-teaching jobs.

The research shows other schools around the country have hired more part-time faculty and graduate students to teach. They’ve also hired more people for administrative jobs.

“Many of these new positions appear to be providing student services, but whether they represent justifiable expenses or unnecessary ‘bloat’ is up for debate,” the report said about an increase of hiring professional staff.

The Delta Cost Project is a nonprofit group that studies college affordability. Its report is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education.

“We’re trying to intentionally run a very lean operation and put as much into direct support of students and faculty as we can,” said ISU President Steven Leath.

According to the report, all three public universities in Iowa increased full-time teaching positions and cut other non-professional positions like clerical staff in the noted period.

But officials at other Iowa schools questioned how the report’s data was collected. The University of Northern Iowa, for example, increased its hiring of professional staff by more than 20 percent, according to the report. The school disputes that. It also disputes the report’s finding that it increased part-time faculty hiring by 200 percent.

Still, Joe Gorton, UNI faculty union president, said the thrust of the report on nationwide hiring of non-teaching staff over faculty jobs is “absolutely correct.”

“More and more resources are devoted to bureaucratic agendas, and fewer resources to classroom excellence,” he said.

An official at Drake University, a private school in Des Moines, also disputed the report. He said a 200 percent increase on professional staff hiring at the school doesn’t take in account a reorganization of how its workers are categorized and reported.

An efficiency study this year on the state’s universities will look at all areas of spending, said Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter.

“I would expect that there would also be areas we could make significant improvement in, in lowering either the number of people that are necessary or adopting greater efficiencies within specific programs,” he said.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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