(Mike Chamberlain/The Cranky Hermit) – The members of the higher education establishment in Nevada are prone to exaggeration and hyperbole. Patrick Gibbons at The Western Wrangler attacks a recent example by a UNR economics professor. Gibbons reveals that the state of Nevada is far from stingy when it comes to higher ed.
Nevada’s spending on education and research PER STUDENT ranks our state 15th highest in the nation! Yes this statistic is from 2006, but 1) all states are cutting from higher education and there is no new statistic to make this comparison and 2) Nevada increased spending through the start of the recession up to 2009. In fact, we are likely still spending as much or more than in 2006 a boom year for Nevada.
The problem is not that Nevada underfunds higher education. The problem is that higher education is bloated, wasteful, ineffective and regentinefficient.
I was recently at an event in which a former regent of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) spoke. One of the things he mentioned was that professors at UNLV and UNR are allowed to have what is called a 2-and-1 schedule.
Ostensibly, professors at UNLV and UNR are required to teach 3 classes each semester, some are allowed to use what is called a 2-and-1 schedule. This requires them to teach only 2 classes one semester and 1 class the other semester while fulfilling the rest of the teaching requirement through research. According to the former regent, often this “research” results in a publication that is read by a handful of colleagues and no one else. These professors often receive six-figure compensation.
The UNLV College Republicans have shone the light on former Congressperson Dina Titus’s $108,000+ salary for teaching one class. But Titus is merely a symptom of what is wrong. The waste that is represented by highly-paid professors and administrators who contribute little to the classroom, frivolous and self-indulgent research and fields of study that ill-prepare students for life outside the academy are rarely the focus of the budget-cutters. The focus needs to return to the needs of the students.