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Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm

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Provost on University Administrative Growth

Provost University Administrative Growth

 The following questions and answers are from a conversation with Laura Moriarty, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Because she said that she was unable to meet in-person or conduct a phone interview, the provost responded to questions via email instead:

In speaking with President Dimenna, he said, “We recognize that investments in administration are investments in student success.” Do you subscribe to this same thinking?

“President Dimenna and I agree that we need to invest in people and programs that enhance the student experience.”

Does this notion then not suggest that administration is the superior way in bettering the lives of students?

“All employees—faculty, students, and staff—support and contribute to that experience. In the Provost’s Office, we have made staffing decisions designed to support initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan. These decisions have included the hiring of new faculty as well as reorganizing the Provost’s Office to support this ambitious plan. Each vice provost area has at its core a commitment to providing services to both faculty and students so that students have a quality education.”

If the University had operated well before the creation of [more] administrative positions, why change?

“There is a definite difference between Monmouth now and Monmouth in 2014. We have experienced significant growth in terms of both academic reputation and offerings... Essentially, this reorganization helped us to both create efficiency through centralization and consolidation, and add value with an infrastructure that positions us to successfully carry out the Strategic Plan.”

 

In speaking with Dimenna, he explained that these positions had been occupied by Vice Presidents and simply just received a name change. Accordingly, what justifies a new, more prestigious title, presumably with a higher pay-grade, if the same position is doing the same job as before?

“The responsibilities of the positions evolved in support of the plan and the position titles changed accordingly. The assumption that the new positions are paid more than previous positions is not correct. In general, because of the longevity of the employees in the previous administrative posts, the current administrators make less than those who were replaced.”

What is the merit in having both a Vice Provost of Global Education and an Associate Vice Provost for Global Education? According to the organizational chart, these positions seem to have the same responsibilities. What justifies paying two distinct salaries for the same job? Do you see any redundancy in this particular order of operations?

“The vice provost and associate vice provost do a lot of planning and scouting of international locations to facilitate study abroad opportunities. They both need to be out of the country as much as possible caring for established partnerships while also facilitating new partnerships so that students can have a myriad of international study options…At times the lines may appear blurred, but the associate vice provost’s presence on campus allows the vice provost to be away and bring relationships to campus that will bring benefit to many.”

Prior to the creation of Vice Provost of Academic & Faculty Affairs in 2014, the Registrar reported directly to the Provost (according to operational charts). Why make this change? Only two positions (Registrar and Assistant to the IRB and IACUC) report to this Vice Provost… What justifies its distinct existence?

“…If you are asking why the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs exists, it is because of all of the needs associated with faculty hiring and related development and mentoring activities, including new faculty orientation and chairs development workshop. The vice provost is also responsible for facilitating new program development, including approvals from the state and the Middle States (regional accreditation body). Also, this post oversees the university’s accreditation and assists with all the other programmatic accreditations.”

The University’s operational budget is predominately tuition-based. Accordingly, students are then left holding the bag for any additional expenditures. In 2014, the University went from being 91% tuition-based to 94% tuition with the creation of the new levels of administration outlined in the Strategic Plan. What correlation does expanding administrative expenditures have on students’ tuition?

“We are all concerned about the rising cost and affordability of a college education. It is a prominent topic on the national higher education landscape. No one takes it lightly that tuition has increased. We are a private institution and it is expensive to deliver a highly personal education in small classes where you are engaged and interact with your professors. Administration is needed to allow faculty to do what they do best: teach our students; conduct research; contribute to the advancement of the discipline by creating new knowledge.”

Two-thirds of the operating budget goes to salaries. Inflation was relatively low this past year, averaging 2.44 percent. Even accounting for increased salaries, why is the tuition increase (3.85%) higher than the inflation rate? Are we increasing tuition too much?

“To clarify, approximately two-thirds of the University budget is dedicated to compensation. This includes benefits and salary; it is not salary alone. Rising healthcare costs are a significant driver of compensation expenses and we have been working very aggressively on getting staff to move to lower cost plans. We have also kept administrator salary increases below 2.5 percent, however, we are contractually obligated to higher salary increases for some unionized groups of employees on campus.”

What has the administration done to think about actually lowering tuition, as opposed to accepting any increase below 4% as a triumph?

“I do not believe that you can lower tuition without a concomitant reduction in the University workforce. Currently, we cannot reduce the size of our workforce without also conceding a reduction in programs and services for our students. We have made a deliberate choice to stay committed to delivering an ambitious and highly personalized experience while working on keeping increases in tuition as low as possible”

Would you consider cutting administration in any area?

“I would not consider cutting administration that would result in a reduction in services for students, but I would consider making changes through attrition or other means if the strategic plan changed and the university went in another direction in terms of its mission.”

The University’s operational budget is predominately tuition-based. Accordingly, students are then left holding the bag for any additional expenditures. In 2014, the University went from being 91 percent tuition-based to 94 percent tuition with the creation of the new levels of administration outlined in the Strategic Plan. What correlation does expanding administrative expenditures have on students’ tuition?

“We are all concerned about the rising cost and affordability of a college education. It is a prominent topic on the national higher education landscape. No one takes it lightly that tuition has increased. We are a private institution and it is expensive to deliver a highly personal education in small classes where you are engaged and interact with your professors. Administration is needed to allow faculty to do what they do best: teach our students; conduct research; contribute to the advancement of the discipline by creating new knowledge.”

Two-thirds of the operating budget goes to salaries. Inflation was relatively low this past year, averaging 2.44 percent. Even accounting for increased salaries, why is the tuition increase (3.85 percent) higher than the inflation rate? Are we increasing tuition too much?

“To clarify, approximately two-thirds of the University budget is dedicated to compensation. This includes benefits and salary; it is not salary alone. Rising health care costs are a significant driver of compensation expenses and we have been working very aggressively on getting staff to move to lower cost plans. We have also kept administrator salary increases below 2.5 percent, however, we are contractually obligated to higher salary increases for some unionized groups of employees on campus.”

What has the administration done to think about actually lowering tuition, as opposed to accepting any increase below 4% percent as a triumph?

“I do not believe that you can lower tuition without a concomitant reduction in the University workforce. Currently, we cannot reduce the size of our workforce without also conceding a reduction in programs and services for our students. We have made a deliberate choice to stay committed to delivering an ambitious and highly personalized experience while working on keeping increases in tuition as low as possible”

Would you consider cutting administration in any area?

“I would not consider cutting administration that would result in a reduction in services for students, but I would consider making changes through attrition or other means if the strategic plan changed and the university went in another direction in terms of its mission.”

The University’s operational budget is predominately tuition-based. Accordingly, students are then left holding the bag for any additional expenditures. In 2014, the University went from being 91 percent tuition-based to 94 percent tuition with the creation of the new levels of administration outlined in the Strategic Plan. What correlation does expanding administrative expenditures have on students’ tuition?

“We are all concerned about the rising cost and affordability of a college education. It is a prominent topic on the national higher education landscape. No one takes it lightly that tuition has increased. We are a private institution and it is expensive to deliver a highly personal education in small classes where you are engaged and interact with your professors. Administration is needed to allow faculty to do what they do best: teach our students; conduct research; contribute to the advancement of the discipline by creating new knowledge.”

Two-thirds of the operating budget goes to salaries. Inflation was relatively low this past year, averaging 2.44 percent. Even accounting for increased salaries, why is the tuition increase (3.85 percent) higher than the inflation rate? Are we increasing tuition too much?

“To clarify, approximately two-thirds of the University budget is dedicated to compensation. This includes benefits and salary; it is not salary alone. Rising health care costs are a significant driver of compensation expenses and we have been working very aggressively on getting staff to move to lower cost plans. We have also kept administrator salary increases below 2.5 percent, however, we are contractually obligated to higher salary increases for some unionized groups of employees on campus.”

What has the administration done to think about actually lowering tuition, as opposed to accepting any increase below 4% percent as a triumph?

“I do not believe that you can lower tuition without a concomitant reduction in the University workforce. Currently, we cannot reduce the size of our workforce without also conceding a reduction in programs and services for our students. We have made a deliberate choice to stay committed to delivering an ambitious and highly personalized experience while working on keeping increases in tuition as low as possible”

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

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