As someone with 25 years in roles as VPR, Dean and Provost, I was always taken by the Gallup-Purdue Survey (here is the 2015 survey https://lnkd.in/gVph6Fb9 ):
The survey showed that faculty caring engagement & experiential learning had the most impact on graduate's lives after they graduate: "Remarkably, graduates who strongly agreed that a professor cared about them as a person were 1.9x more likely to be engaged at work and 1.7x more likely to be thriving in their wellbeing.".."And alumni who strongly agree that a professor cared about them as a person are 6.2x more likely to be emotionally attached to their alma mater." In returning to faculty, I see the extraordinary power of caring- in the lives of students and their levels of engagement.
My institution is going through budget challenges because of declines in enrollment/retention & a change in UNC formula. Our leadership has consistently indicated that requests for new positions will be evaluated in three categories "must have"; "would be nice to have"; "don't need"- only those in the 1st category will be approved.
I recently looked at open positions. On the first three pages of most recently advertised positions (circa 90 positions). There are 2 Tenured-track positions (one in an area that only teaches small numbers of graduate students). 6 NTT lecturer positions. There are around 60 that are low-mid level administrative in non-academic units (including some Grad Asst positions). Not included in this number were health care delivery positions, facilities positions (e.g. carpenter) and a small number, <5 staff positions in academic units that deliver instruction. Here are some:
Asst Director for community engagement (to institutionalize community engaged research)
Asst Athletic Director for strategic communications (i.e., we have a high student athletic fee)
Associate Director of strategic initiatives and parent programs
Video and digital content specialist for research
Coordinator for access and conference servicesin student affairs
Asst Director of diverse student engagement in Student Affairs
Assistant director of intercultural engagement in Student Affairs.
WellBeing specialist for health promotion and early intervention.
As provost, I always defined "must have" in the context of the Ecosystem Test see (https://lnkd.in/gmz6YXCb), which examines any allocation of resources in the context of whether it is the best decision at that time to improve long term student success; produce research/scholarship/creative work that changes fields/improves people's lives; and improves people's lives in communities.
I am not sure how many of the most recent open positions are "must have"- but it certainly appears that the leadership has decided that administrative positions will turn around the situation. When will we ever learn?