Tuesday, July 21, 2015

College Jobs, Never Easy, Have Become Pressure Cookers

The Chronicle of Higher Education
2015

W. Kent Barnds loves his job. But with all the pressures facing higher education these days, it’s not getting any easier.
Mr. Barnds is vice president for enrollment, communication, and planning at Augustana College, in Illinois. He’s been there 10 years but has worked in higher education since he graduated from college, in the early 1990s.
A lot has changed in those two-plus decades, and Mr. Barnds’s job has expanded remarkably. Like other administrators and faculty and staff members on campuses around the country, he is learning to live in a world of tighter budgets, swelling regulations, and ever more assessment and competition.
"The pressure’s greater on enrollment officers for a whole host of reasons, but we’re not alone," he says. "There’s increased pressure on every senior leader on a college campus."
The squeeze to do more, often with less, has been felt throughout higher education. The proportion of tenure-track jobs continues to dwindle, the precariousness of choosing the professorial life reflected in the statistic that some 76 percent of faculty members now work as adjuncts. In the sciences, researchers have been learning to deal with little to no growth in federal support for a decade now; the budget of the National Institutes of Health has fallen about 25 percent, adjusted for inflation, since 2003. Their colleagues in the humanities, meanwhile, feel the weight of increased expectations.

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