Archive for: May, 2012

Solving California's higher education budget -- with word problems!

Are you in the mood for some word problems? Let's go, and please remember to show your work for full credit!

1. Read this passage from Inside Higher Ed:

University of California administrators announced Thursday that the system will centralize payroll and human resources for its 10 campuses and five medical centers at a new site in Riverside. The new center is part of a system-wide initiative designed to save $500 million in administrative costs and direct them back toward the university's academic mission. UC officials said the new center would save "as much as $100 million annually" and create up to 600 jobs when fully deployed, which they hope to be within three years. Part of the savings will come from eliminated positions on the individual campuses, but officials would not say how many people would be losing their jobs.

(a) Assume the scenario where the net change in jobs is zero (that is, where each of the HR jobs lost at another UC campus is completely offset by a job created at the new site at Riverside). Also, neglect non-salary costs (on the assumption that salaries are a much larger total cost). Calculate the average salary of the 600 HR employees required to save $100 million annually.

(Hint: Let the average pre-consolidation HR salary equal x.)

(b) Now assume the best-case scenario where the new site at Riverside results in net creation of 600 jobs in the UC system. Again, neglect non-salary costs (on the assumption that salaries are a much larger total cost). Calculate the average salary of the 600 new HR employees required to save $100 million annually.

(c) Propose a strategy for recruiting HR specialists willing to work for the salary you found in (b). For bonus points, propose a strategy that does not require the use of Schedule I drugs.

Extra-credit: Explain why it makes sense to describe this cost-cutting plan as "creating jobs".

2. Read this passage from California Watch:

In the first test of the California State University system's recently approved executive compensation policy, the presidents appointed to lead CSU East Bay and CSU Fullerton are slated to each receive the maximum salaries allowable under the new rules.

After CSU trustees approved a large pay increase for the new San Diego State University president last summer on the same day that they raised student tuition, the university system faced a chorus of criticism from legislators, the media and the public. Trustees approved a base salary for SDSU President Elliot Hirshman of $400,000, including $50,000 from the university foundation. That's $100,000 more than his predecessor's salary.

In response, the CSU trustees in January approved a new executive compensation policy [PDF] that limits new presidents' base pay to no more than 10 percent above their predecessors.

In a pay package [PDF] slated for review at this week's Board of Trustees meeting, newly appointed CSU Fullerton President Mildred Garcia will get $324,500 in base pay, plus housing and a $12,000-per-year car allowance. That's exactly 10 percent more than her predecessor, Milton Gordon, who in 2011 had a base salary of $295,000. 

It's also 10 percent more than Garcia earned in base pay at her previous post as president of CSU Dominguez Hills, according to CSU's executive compensation summary [PDF].

Leroy Morishita, the new president at CSU East Bay, will get $303,660 plus $60,000 per year for housing and a $12,000 annual car allowance. That's 10 percent above predecessor Mohammad Qayoumi's base pay in 2010, as well as a 10 percent raise for Morishita, who had been serving as interim president in Qayoumi's stead since July.

(a) For a CSU campus whose outgoing president has a base salary of $300,000 per year, what is the minimum number of new presidents that must be hired before the base salary reaches $1 million?

(b) Given 23 campuses in the CSU system, and assuming an average presidential base salary of $150,000 per year, how many years of hiring a new president at each campus annually would it take to double annual presidential salaries?

(c) How many lecturers could you hire per year with the amount of money required for each of the 23 CSU campuses to hire a new president at the maximum 10% increase of base pay? (Assume an annual lecturer salary of $36,000.)

(d) If a new CSU campus president gets a 10% increase in base salary and faculty on that campus cannot get a 1% increase in base salary, what percentage of the faculty's grading should the campus president take on?

Extra credit: Not all compensation for campus presidents comes in the form of salary. If housing renovations are included in campus executive compensation packages, and if such renovations can be paid for out of campus Foundation funds, explain why Foundation funds cannot be used for faculty salaries or for non-salary compensation for faculty (e.g., to pay for house or car repairs).

10 responses so far

The perils of embodiment.

I have long maintained that bodies are suboptimal vehicles with which to schlep minds around.

Most recent data point in support of this position: On Tuesday, I managed to hurt my knee in the course of grading papers. Grading papers! Come on now!

I guess it's also a data point in support of the hypothesis that if there exists an improbable way to injure oneself, I will manage to injure myself that way. (Ask me about the time I sprained my ankle stepping onto a bed.) However, if I weren't embodied, that wouldn't be the case.

* * * * *

Undoubtedly someone's going to want to know how grading papers resulted in a hurt knee, so here's what I think happened: I was sitting on a bed with a laptop and a clipboard on my lap, grading a bunch of online assignments. To create enough surface at the right height on which to balance both laptop and clipboard, I was sitting cross-legged. Apparently one of the knees was getting more than its share of the stress thusly distributed.

I anticipate I will be advised to sit at a table or desk like a sensible human being to get through long stretches of grading. The problem with doing that is that the available chairs in my Cave of Grading are hard enough that I can only count on about an hour and a half of grading before the pain in my butt from my "sits-bones" (as my Pilates instructor calls 'em) becomes unbearably distracting.

In short: bodies seem not to support grading as well as they might.

15 responses so far