BC: Before Cuts

STG will be adding coverage leading up to the announcement of the "Deans'" recommendations here. Where the front page is in reverse chronological order, we will be populating this page chronologically. Work in progress! --STG admins, 3/7/24

On October 14th, a petition was created to oppose the impending program eliminations.

There's no list! Fake News!

Spreadsheets are definitely not lists. And the spreadsheet that was released five days later with buttons to sort by a given column was also totally not a list.

The chancellor objects, but the report wasn't wrong

A number of illuminating pieces in here: one, reporter was asked to fact check the Chancellor's statements by a faculty member fearful of retaliation if named in the article. 

Two, while Chancellor denied administrative "bloat" in numbers of those employed in such roles, the Bunsis report focused on rise in administrative costs:

According to the Department of Education, the average UNCG administrative salary in 2023 is $141,436, while the average faculty salary is $83,447. Those same figures show that administrative salaries and benefits have increased by 51.4% since 2017, whereas faculty ones have only increased by 5.9%. Chancellor Gilliam has not disputed these figures or percentages.

Three, the Chancellor is correct: the athletics number reported was wrong! Just ... not in the direction he was implying. Oops.

Gilliam also responded to what he said was Bunsis’s claim that UNCG spends “$4.5 million on athletics,” which he called “misleading at best, misrepresentation at worst.” However, the Bunsis report states, based on NCAA annual financial reports, that UNCG’s athletic expenses for 2022 were $17,117,048.

Four, Chancellor Gilliam claimed Bunsis is a hit-man, every report on every institution identical, an attempt to smear administrations at every institution that hires him.

But what Bunsis wrote about Gallaudet is not “identical” to what he wrote about UNCG. For instance, one of Bunsis’s primary criticisms of Gallaudet is that it annually spends $30-40 million on consultants. The word “consultant” does not appear in his report on UNCG.

... Nor did Bunsis criticize Gallaudet for what it spends on athletics, whereas those expenses represented a significant portion of what he said UNCG should cut.

Five, what's there to hide, Chancellor? If faculty are creating hysteria, why not make the rubric public earlier? (This is a rhetorical question; we know why.)

“Faculty has access to information,” continued Stewart, “including the Academic Program Review rankings, that have been kept hidden from students and the public. Those spreadsheets are available online, but they are password-protected. If the administration wants to be transparent about how programs are being assessed and which programs may be considered for discontinuation, why aren’t they making this information available to students and the wider public?” 

It's been obvious for months what was coming, despite administration's campaign of gaslighting

"Elsewhere, the results have been devastating. For instance, after receiving rpk GROUP’s cost-efficiency recommendations, West Virginia University eliminated 28 academic programs and 143 faculty positions. Equally alarming, after Emporia State University, which is part of the University of Kansas system, fired 33 faculty and staff and eliminated around 40 degree programs, its enrollment this fall plunged by 12.5%."

"Faculty are not opposed to change; in fact, one of the things that attracted us to academic life is that it’s incredibly fast-moving and stimulating because new knowledge and methods of teaching are always being produced. UNCG’s programs are reviewed regularly by accrediting bodies and outside evaluators who conduct extensive on-site visits and deliver detailed reports on how we can improve. The outside reviews measure the strength of programs by reading written assessments and directly interviewing faculty and students about our struggles and accomplishments. They compare our data with similar programs at peer institutions (such comparative institutional data was banned by the Academic Profile Review process), not by comparisons of their cost vis-à-vis other programs at UNCG."

STG: *gasp, pearls clutched* are you saying the game was rigged all along? Reasonable analyses actually prohibited entirely?

Scream this line: we thought this mattered to UNCG?

"...changes what, and who, gets taught."

Board of Governors member unaware of what triggered APR process at UNCG, that UNCG grad students are on food stamps

“To the best of my knowledge,” replied Davis, “we have never taken a vote or considered something that has resulted in this [the APR]. I’ve only been on the board since July, so it’s possible something happened before then. I will look into that and into stipends. Every person in our university community should be able to live a decent life and not have to turn to food stamps, and everyone should have a living wage. I will speak to the chancellor about stipends. 

Article also presciently draws comparisons to WVU, another rpk GROUP victim contract.

The crux of the issue, stated twice

Once: "However, unlike other institutions that have pursued cuts recently, UNCG hasn’t publicly proclaimed it has a deficit or shared the size of the budget gap it’s trying to remedy."

Twice: "Gilliam said the university has run a deficit, but declined to specify the amount."

Runner up for revealing... revelation... in the piece:

In one case, the analysis had put a $400,000 expense in an entirely wrong department, he said. Faculty said they continually flagged errors for institution officials, who then adjusted the rubrics.

“The rubric changed six times in the first day it was released,” Elliott said. “It was too embarrassing when we kept on seeing it change.”

STG: note the possible double-reading of the article title: indeed, faculty are wondering whether faculty are needed at UNCG at all after this process! Administration thinks not.

What UNCG could have learned from other APR processes (but did not)

In which the correction to the article is even more damning, in retrospect: UNCG spokesperson really wants us all to know that rpk GROUP did not make the rubric, but rather UNCG did. 

On rpk GROUP's approach: "They have a history of looking at departments as businesses instead of the incredible students that are in them.”

Gilliam stated that “since July of 2019, the number of senior administrators has decreased by 17 percent while the number of permanent faculty has declined by just 1.7 percent.”

STG: He does understand statistics, right? That there are way more faculty than senior administ- you know what, don't answer that, we already know: no.

In response to the petition to stop program elimination--which received over 4000 signatures--disappointingly, the administration refused to even slow the process. The things the AAUP chapter was somewhat heartened or encouraged by ended up being false, and every fear and disappointment has only been amplified since by further decisions reinforcing an authoritarian implementation of the entire APR process.