Friday, June 10, 2011

Brilliant, Insightful Analysis of Texas Higher Ed Data

Yesterday, I published a guest column in the Texas Tribune analyzing some public data on teaching at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The piece was a response to a report based on the same data produced by Richard Vedder and his colleagues at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). To make a long story short, the CCAP report concluded that there is substantial skewness in the distribution of teaching duties at UT. I replied that the CCAP analysis was accurate but failed to account for the part-time status of many faculty members at UT and reasonable variance in the size of courses taught at UT. As a result, "the CCAP report creates a false impression of inequity in the assignment of teaching duties at UT and overstates the feasibility of reducing faculty costs without undermining the quality of UT’s academic programs."

I have one quick follow-up on the column. I included three tables reporting on the distribution of teaching loads at UT. I had included an explanatory note for the third table that was not included in the article when it was published online. Here it is for anyone who is interested.
Note: The number of students taught for each instructor is estimated by dividing the total number of student credit hours taught by each faculty member in each college by 3.0, by far the modal number of credit hours earned for a typical class section at UT-Austin. The weighted average column is the mean for all faculty in the indicated college or colleges of the estimated number of students taught by each faculty member (total student credit hours divided by 3.0) divided by his or her appointment’s percent effort and multiplying the result by 100 [(Estimated Students/%Appointment)*100]. These figures exclude faculty of programs in undergraduate studies, intercollegiate studies, and those for whom teaching data and/or percent effort data are not available.

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