Overfilled and cancelled classes are just two effects of expected budget cuts in the State University System (SUS) this fall, and
administrators still do not know the extent of the cuts.
Students in the SUS are not alone in coping with these cuts, though many might not consider the toll taken by faculty and staff. Students should care, however, because professors and administrators directly impact the quality of education. Budget cuts, more specifically, affect how much said professors and administrators are paid, hence which professors and administrators are recruited.
It should come of little surprise, then, that Florida’s colleges and universities are going to have a hard time attracting the best candidates for key positions if its pay pales in comparison to other states.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average salary for a full-time professor in the SUS is $98,907. Though not the lowest in the nation, the St. Petersburg Times points out that states like Michigan and Georgia pay more, and don’t face institutional instability to the tune of a Board of Governors lawsuit.
There doesn’t appear to be a striking, non-salary benefit to working at a Florida university, such as increased research and programming opportunities that would make up for low salaries. The reason? The money to fund research and programs just isn’t there.
This is what drove a candidate for Florida International University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences away from the school, resulting in many needs going unaddressed. The Times also reported that a “Midwestern institution guaranteed more resources” for the candidate – resources he needed to make changes at FIU.
Of course, one could argue that there’s no shortage of professors and administrators, and that Florida will be able to recruit some for the salaries and amenities currently available – just not the best. Sure, it is likely somebody will likely do the work of a professor or administrator at virtually any price. But the truth in such an attitude does not consider the ramifications of cheap labor, specifically, the intellectual cost of low prices.
It is an attitude, which, if implemented as policy, virtually guarantees Florida’s universities will stagnate while other states’ excel.
After all, if the professors and department heads aren’t the “best” in their respective fields, it’s also no surprise that the quality of the courses – and the preparedness of the
graduates who took them – will reflect that.