You know, I can't figure out why, in a state that ranks low in health care and education, the first things to be cut in a budget crisis are--you guessed it!--health care and education.
So, our university is slated for a $1.9 million budget slash beginning on January 1, 2009--in the middle of a year. What I saw on the news (so I'm not giving away any secrets here) is that the chancellor is cutting operational costs (oops! no paper for the copiers!) and some adjunct positions. But the schedule for the spring is already set, and I can't see how cutting adjuncts would help. We don't have enough personnel in our department to pick up all those extra classes, and, even if we did, the staff would mutiny at having to pick up extra classes without extra money. The college can't save money by cutting adjuncts and paying full-time professors for an overload. No savings there.
The U could just cancel some of the classes and up the enrollment in the others. And for someone who teaches mostly writing classes, adding five more people to each class would be the equivalent of teaching another full-time class. I already spend most of my "off" time grading papers. Adding more students to any of my classes, including the on line classes, just increases the amount of time I spend grading/reading papers. [And, actually, the university did increase the number of students in my on line freshman comp class from 22 to 25--the spring class has 26 students, one of which is an AEP high school enrollee]. Well, I guess I could give up a couple of hours of sleep a night, but maybe I'll just reduce the number of assignments I grade.
It's a trade off, I know. But I think the legislators should get rid of all their pork barrel spending before they ask us to lose personnel and services. I wonder how much of their last budget included bridges to nowhere or city parks named after them.