Selected examples of citation errors in Rick O’Donnell’s paper “Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?

” From the article… As university President George Dennis O’Brien observed, “Experimental science…evolved basically outside and in opposition to the traditional universities.”6 From the footnotes… 6 George Dennis O’Brien, “All the Essential Half-Truths about Higher Education” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 3. Comments… It appears O’Brien was quoting someone else here, a “commentator.” O’Donnell’s Explanation… Overlooked in editing

From the article… Also, private industry has been consistently increasing its spending on basic research, growing from $5.4 billion in 1995 to $9.1 billion in 2006.8 From the footnotes… 8 Richard Vedder, “Going Broke by Degree, Why Colleges Cost Too Much” (Washington DC: AEI Publishers, 2004) 122. Comments… Vedder’s book was published in 2004, data is from 2006 data. NSF data show industry conducted $6.7 billion in research in 1995 and $10.3 billion in 2006. As a percentage of total basic research, those numbers represent a decline from 23 to 16 percent. O’Donnell’s explanation… The year 2006 should have been 2000.

From the article… At the University of Texas System, in the last 10 years, an estimated $3.8 billion has been spent on research, yet income from this investment is less than $3.2 million, or an annual rate of return of less than one-tenth of 1 percent (.08 percent). At the Texas A&M System, an estimated $3.8 billion has been spent over the last decade to generate income of less than $5.5 million, for less than two-tenths of 1 percent rate of return (.14 percent).11

Overall, Texas universities have spent an estimated $9 billion on scientific research that has generated a mere $8.3 million a year in income, a rate of return of less than one-tenth of 1 percent (.09 percent). From the footnotes… 11 College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2005” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/48884.html. Comments… Information in the College Board’s report on trends in college pricing. According to the UT System 2011 Fast Facts, (http://www.utsystem.edu/news/fastfacts.html), total research expenditures for the UT System totaled $2.4 billion in 2009 and gross revenue from intellectual property was $43 million. O’Donnell’s explanation… Wrong source, but cannot recall how he calculated the numbers From the article… Former Assistant Secretary of Education, Chester Finn: “Professors have become specialized in their interests, which are ever more distant from what ordinary citizens understand or care about. Academic presses now publish books selling fewer than 300 copies. ‘The demands of productivity,’ a humanities editor says, ‘are leading to the production of much more nonsense.”14 From the footnotes… 14 Harry R. Lewis, “Excellence Without a Soul, How a Great University Forgot Education” (Jackson, TN: Public Aff airs, 2006) 9. Comments… It appears that Harry Lewis said this, not Chester Finn. O’Donnell’s explanation… Editing error From the article… Former Harvard University President Derek Bok notes that graduate students are often unprepared for teaching: “Being thrown into teaching large undergraduate courses with little to no training is good neither for the graduate students or the students they teach. Presidents and deans of research universities could act more boldly by urging revisions in their Ph.D. programs to include better preparation for teaching.”30 From the footnotes… 30 Derek Bok, “Our Underachieving Colleges” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006) 340.

Comments… First sentence of the quote is not from Bok. O’Donnell… Editing error From the article… Perhaps the market has finally reached saturation, as Ph.D.s issued leveled off to 45,596 in 2006.41 From the footnotes… 41 “More Doctors of Philosophy and Science” Inside Higher Ed (21 Nov. 2007) http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/11/21/phds. Comments… The article referenced, as well as the original press release, states the number of PhDs issued that year was an all-time high. O’Donnell’s explanation… Not sure how that happened From the article… In the spring of 2006 at UT-Austin, the average tenured full professor taught an average of 87 undergraduates for an average cost of $2,815 per student per class. By contrast, the average non-tenured instructor received a salary of $47,000 per year and taught 247 students, for an average cost per student taught of $381.49 From the footnotes… 49 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, “Average Faculty Salaries Texas Public Universities - FY 2004” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Reports/. Comments… Information not found in source document. O’Donnell’s explanation… Numbers were gleaned from universities and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, but cannot point to one source

TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION

PolicyPerspective
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
We live in the richest and most powerful country in the world. We owe a great debt to the scientists and entrepreneurs who provided the scientific breakthroughs that won World War II and the Cold War. An equal debt is owed to those who created new technologies that helped build the modern U.S. economy. Given the modern miracles that science and entrepreneurs have provided, who wouldn’t be in favor of more funding for research on our university campuses. Everyone knows that it is scientific, academic research that fuels the modern economy—except that it doesn’t. In fact, 87 percent of the research and development work in the United States is done by private companies and independent laboratories, not by universities (see page 2). Even in the area of basic research, higher education’s share of research funding steadily declined from 1980 to 2000.1 The returns for investing in scientific research at academic institutions are poor, and Texas campuses are no different. An estimated $9 billion has been spent on scientific research on Texas campuses in the last 10 years. At nine out of 12 campuses, the income from patents does not even cover the costs of running the technology transfer offices the patents require. Overall, taxpayers are earning less than two-tenths of one percent rate of return (0.14 percent, to be exact).2 Additionally, a significant portion of academic research costs are “off the books” and not included in these numbers. When tenured faculty refer to “academic research,” they generally are referring not to work done in scientific laboratories, but esoteric scholarly articles written

December 2008 Center for Higher Education i

Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?
by Rick O’Donnell President, Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence & Senior Research Fellow, Texas Public Policy Foundation RECOMMENDATIONS
Place a renewed emphasis on teaching in colleges and universities. Require all Texas colleges and universities to sign a “learning contract” with incoming students. Separate the teaching and research functions to stop the massive cross-subsidies that flow from teaching and useful scientific research to subsidize the more esoteric academic research favored by the tenure faculty. Evaluate and reform the current system of Ph.D. fellowships, rejecting the conventional wisdom about academic research and the promise of “free money.”

for obscure academic journals. Over two million of these articles are published each year, diverting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars that could be spent educating students. Ohio University economist Dr. Richard Vedder has conducted studies showing that states that over-invest in higher education have a lower growth rate than states that do not.3 Perhaps this is one reason why California, with its highly acclaimed higher education system—and equally high tax rates to support it—has been losing economic ground to Texas year after year. At best, there is no evidence of a correlation between state higher education spending and economic growth. The key to preparing the next generation of Texans for more productive and meaningful lives is not to pour billions of additional dollars into higher education research, but to return our colleges and universities to their original mission—teaching students. This shift in emphasis could not come at a more critical time, for there is mounting evidence that students are learning less and less. The most prestigious universities selectively admit smart students, so they produce smart graduates, but too often add little value in between. This isn’t surprising given that over the last 20 years, the investment in teaching students has plummeted. Today, the majority of undergraduate classes in American colleges and universities are taught by non-tenure track faculty, graduate teaching assistants, or parttime adjuncts making as little as $1,000 per semester. At the same time, we are investing billions of dollars in research of questionable value.
continued on next page

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Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?

December 2008

To successfully tackle the problem with higher education in Texas, we must develop incentives in our colleges and universities that encourage investment in teachers, curriculums, and classrooms rather than the production of endless streams of academic research.

During the 1960s, “social scientists,” well aware of what federal funding had done for academics in the hard sciences, began to apply for government grants that would allow them to apply “scientific” methods to the study of human behavior. Soon taxpayer money began to flow for academic research in a multitude of disciplines. Ironically, before World War II, the rigid orthodoxy of academia had not ever favored the pure sciences. As university President George Dennis O’Brien observed, “Experimental science…evolved basically outside and in opposition to the traditional universities.”6 Now the scientific method dominates college campuses. Over time, academic researchers gained significant control of the modern American university, profoundly changing the mission of higher education.

A SHORT HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH
Beginning in World War II, the federal government invested massive amounts of money into research on American campuses. By 1947, government spending for research at colleges and universities was three times the combined income of all institutions of higher education in 1941.4 Poorly paid professors found the allure of government funding irresistible. Suddenly scientists armed with government money were more powerful than university presidents. Dr. Robert Nisbet noted, “Suffice it to say, beginning just after World War II, the locus of authority in the university was, and continues to be, profoundly muddled, fragmented, atomized as the case may be.”5 Federal government research funds soon became the driving force behind the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of faculty. The money continued to pour into college campuses throughout the Korean and Cold wars, and with little concern for efficient administration of the funds, higher education costs began to soar.

SCIENTIFIC ACADEMIC RESEARCH
America’s Universities Have a Small and Diminishing Share of the R&D Pie
Despite rhetoric to the contrary, colleges and universities fund only a small part of scientific research and development in the United States, as demonstrated by National Science Foundation (NSF) data. Universities and federally funded university research centers performed only 16.6 percent ($56.8 billion) of the

U.S. Research & Development Spending
2006 Expenditures ($Billion/yr.) ($Billon/yr)

$342.9
$350 $300 $250 $200 $150 $100 $50 $0

$56.8

Universities
Source: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Total R&D
Source: NSF

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December 2008

Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?

approximately $343 billion in research and development in the United States in 2006 and less than a third of all research.7 The majority of research funds are spent by private industry and independent laboratories. Although universities continue to perform more than half of the nation’s basic research, two-thirds are funded by federal grant money that could be redirected to other recipients. Also, private industry has been consistently increasing its spending on basic research, growing from $5.4 billion in 1995 to $9.1 billion in 2006.8 Most importantly, the basic research performed by universities is almost entirely the province of science departments, and therefore it does not justify the emphasis on research over teaching that is also common in the liberal arts, business schools, law schools, and other disciplines. Some of the resources, including faculty time, allocated to non-scientific research that does not produce measurable returns could be used for teaching more students or lowering tuition, either of which would make higher education institutions more productive. Richard Vedder notes, “In sum, universities are not the dominant institutional means of carrying out research, even basic research, in the United States.”9

words, the overhead associated with filing patents exceeded the revenue received from those patents.10 At the University of Texas System, in the last 10 years, an estimated $3.8 billion has been spent on research, yet income from this investment is less than $3.2 million, or an annual rate of return of less than one-tenth of 1 percent (.08 percent). At the Texas A&M System, an estimated $3.8 billion has been spent over the last decade to generate income of less than $5.5 million, for less than two-tenths of 1 percent rate of return (.14 percent).11 Overall, Texas universities have spent an estimated $9 billion on scientific research that has generated a mere $8.3 million a year in income, a rate of return of less than onetenth of 1 percent (.09 percent). Had these funds instead been invested conservatively, earning 5 percent a year, the return would have been enough to provide a four-year college degree to more than 50,000 additional Texans a year (assuming the $6,900 per year annual costs of a for-profit university).

Revelations of Waste in Scientific Academic Research
Low returns on investments in scientific academic research are not the only concern. There is also ample evidence of waste. Stanford has one of the highest overhead rates in the business; for every dollar of received funds, it tacks on an additional 74 cents for “overhead.” One observer “estimated that the university may have overcharged taxpayers a staggering $480 million for research costs.”12

Texans’ Poor Returns on Investments in Scientific Academic Research
The rate of return on investment (ROI) produced for the citizens of Texas from investments in scientific academic research on state campuses is dismal. In fact, at nine of the 12 campuses reporting, the cost of running the technology transfer offices exceeded the revenue from patents. In other

Scientific Academic Research ROI
10.0 percent 8.0 percent Rate of Return 6.0 percent 4.0 percent 2.0 percent 0.0 percent 0.14 percent 0.08 percent -0.01 percent -0.01 percent
Texas A&M System Texas State System UT System U of Houston System

4 Year College Degrees in Texas
250,000 200,000 Degrees per Year 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 Degrees awarded in 2003-04 Degrees possible using research funds 92,000 92,000 108,696 Additional Degrees Currently awarded

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

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More evidence surfaced in 2003, when a number of leading universities including Northwestern University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham agreed to settle complaints by the federal government that the schools misallocated research money. In a recent survey of 3,300 research scientists, researchers at Minnesota-based Health Partners Research Foundation and the University of Minnesota found that more than 50 percent of established grant-receiving scientists used grant money designated for one project on a different project, often for undisclosed research that might lead to future grants.13 These problems were discovered by the National Institutes of Health, a federal agency not known for its careful oversight, suggesting that forensic audits by other donors and research partners could be even more revealing.

completely honest about it, we must admit that the over-emphasis on research has, in the humanities as in other fields, meant a lot of useless activity, a lot of publishing that serves no purpose, beyond expanding the author’s CVs. Many publications will mainly gather dust on shelves in libraries.”15 Walter Steward, a National Institutes of Health researcher: “I have never met a scientist who did not believe that 80 percent of the scientific literature was nonsense.”16 Science reporter David Hamilton concluded that ‘an unfortunately large percentage of what passes as the bedrock of academic achievement more closely resembles intellectual quicksand.”17 William Broad, a senior editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said “There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature citation too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too self serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print.”18 Not only is the value of academic research questionable, but it may be becoming more and more trivial. Martin Anderson, a former professor from Columbia, and a current Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, writes “As fields of intellectual study aged, it became more and more difficult to discover new, important ideas,” noted one scholar, “It is difficult to improve on Aristotle, Shakespeare, or Adam Smith. We do make discoveries and advances in many areas of intellectual thought, but rarely of the fundamental nature of the ones we inherit.”19

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ARTICLES—THE REAL RESEARCH GOAL FOR ACADEMICS
When most people think of academic research, they think of scientists in white coats in state-of-the-art laboratories, but in fact, most academic research in the United States consists of scholarly research articles written for narrow academic journals. This research, subsidized with taxpayer dollars, costs American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars annually, money that could have been spent on students and teaching.

Questioning the Value of Scholarly Research for Taxpayers
Many commentators, both inside and outside academia, have questioned the value of much of the scholarly research performed today. Here are a few examples: Former Assistant Secretary of Education, Chester Finn: “Professors have become specialized in their interests, which are ever more distant from what ordinary citizens understand or care about. Academic presses now publish books selling fewer than 300 copies. ‘The demands of productivity,’ a humanities editor says, ‘are leading to the production of much more nonsense.”14 Lynne Cheney, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: “If we are

The Cost of Academic Journal Articles
Today there are tens of thousands of refereed academic journals publishing an estimated two million articles a year, with many more articles submitted but not published. This means taxpayer money that could be better spent on students goes toward paying for over 5,500 academic journal articles a day; 228 an hour; almost 4 per minute. At a cost of up to $60,000 per article, the drain on university resources is staggering.

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Allocation of Faculty Time
80% 60% 40% 21% 20% 0% Full Associate Assistant professor professor professor
Source: NCES

by some estimates, are taught by part-time adjuncts, graduate students, or non-tenure track faculty. The average salary of a full professor at an extensive fouryear doctoral college is $106,182. Add fringe benefits and other income from the university and outside sources, and the total compensation increases to over $160,000 for a nine-month year. Add one dollar of indirect costs for each dollar of direct costs to cover staff, building, and miscellaneous expenses, and the average full professor costs approximately $320,000 per year to support. The average full professor at a doctoral institution will spend 79 percent of his time on activities other than teaching and write just under four refereed scholarly research articles a year. This gives a fully allocated cost per scholarly article of $63,000. Multiply this cost per refereed article by the two million printed each year, and academic research costs taxpayers over $125 billion each year, almost half of the $292 billion spent by colleges and universities in 2000.20 Another way to calculate the cost of academic research is to compare the average $22,325 per year cost at a four-year public college versus the average $6,900 per year cost at a forprofit college that focuses on teaching rather than scholarly research. This suggests that 70 percent of the cost of the aver-

79%

Percentage of Time

74%

73%
Teaching Undergraduates

26%

27%

Research, Training Researchers; Faculty Committees

Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

There are two ways to estimate the cost of scholarly research. The first is to calculate the time spent by professors on activities other than teaching: time spent on academic committees, time spent training new Ph.D.s to perform scholarly research, and time spent on individual academic research. According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, full professors at four-year doctoral universities now spend only 21 percent of their time teaching undergraduates. Tenured and tenure track faculty represent by far the largest cost to a university, yet as a group they spend barely 25 percent of their time teaching undergraduates. The majority of undergraduate students, as many as 75 percent

U.S Higher Education Expenditures Teaching vs. Academic Research
Billions of Dollars per Year $350 $300 $250 $200 $150 $100 $50 $0 Based on per article Based on costs comparision to forcomparison profit schools
Source: U.S. Department of Education, NCES Digest of Educational Statistics

$154

Undergraduate teaching

$167
Academic research and other

$138

$125

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age college degree comes from the costs of academic research and other inefficiencies supported by government subsidies. In short, we could afford to provide perhaps twice as many students in America with a college education if we just reduced the wasteful spending on scholarly academic research, and returned the university to its rightful mission of teaching.

Given that nearly half of the money going into higher education today is directed toward research, an area dominated by tenured professors, tenure track professors, and Ph.D. programs, an examination of this system is in order.

THE FALSE PROMISE OF A Ph.D.
Martin Anderson, a scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, explains some of the problems with the Ph.D. process in many major universities that produces candidates for tenure positions: “What [Ph.D. students] need most is time to pursue their advanced course work, time to master their field of study, time to learn how to conduct original research, to write, and to finish a dissertation. Instead, the professors rob them of that time, demanding that students free them from much of their teaching and research responsibilities.”25 This process is expensive, for the graduate students and taxpayers. The average time to earn a Ph.D. is over eight years. State funding formulas provide over 14 times as much funding per hour of instruction for graduate classes as for undergraduate classes, but even this may be understating the true cost of a Ph.D. for taxpayers, because many Ph.D.s are taught by expensive full professors in classes of five students or less.

IS INVESTING MORE MONEY IN HIGHER EDUCATION A GOOD IDEA?
It is generally accepted that society should invest more in our colleges and universities, but given the massive cross subsidies that flow from dollars meant for teaching to academic research, is this still true? Work by Dr. Richard Vedder suggests that providing more money to higher education establishments is a bad investment. “The notion that expanding university support is a good ‘investment’ in the economy is not supported—indeed, the results would suggest we are already ‘over invested’ in colleges.”21 Vedder says the results of his study “clearly reject[s] the claim that state and local spending on universities promotes economic growth, finding it far more likely that the reverse is the case. The claims that more funding materially improves student access to college are, at the minimum, hugely exaggerated if these results are valid.”22 “Statistical evidence suggests that, holding other things equal, there is a net out-migration from ‘university-intensive’ states into ones where less effort (measured in various ways) is put into higher education.”23 Calls for increased funding for higher education are also based on the notion that investment in academic research provides better teaching for the students. Martin Anderson challenges this assumption. “In 1987, Kenneth A. Feldman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, reviewed and analyzed 42 separate studies, conducted over 20 years, on the relationship between the research productivity of professors and their effectiveness as teachers. The consensus of these 42 studies was stark and simple: There was not a clearly discernible relationship between research productivity and teaching skill.”24

What Do Graduate Students Learn in the Classroom?
Graduate students will do their coursework in seminars, classes that often have no more than a handful of students. But what actually goes on in a seminar? John Silber, the former president of Boston University, provides some insight from his time as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas. “The teaching load of many professors consists solely of one or two small seminars each week,” Silber noted, “seminars for which they rarely prepare, at which they rarely do more than audit or at most comment briefly in an atmosphere of relaxed cordiality or hostility.”26 Silber concludes: “You can learn more in two hours’ random reading in the library than you can in a semester-long seminar. But if you take five or six seminar courses plus a colloquium or two you can get to be a master of something, with a degree to prove it.”27

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Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?

Working as a Teaching or Research Assistant for Tenured Faculty
Martin Anderson describes how graduate students spend the bulk of their time: “Graduate student apprentices perform two critical tasks that many professors consider menial, boring, or repetitive: (1) teaching undergraduates and (2) undertaking much of the drudgery of research.”28 Martin criticizes “the university practice of paying graduate students a pittance to teach undergraduates.”29 Former Harvard University President Derek Bok notes that graduate students are often unprepared for teaching: “Being thrown into teaching large undergraduate courses with little to no training is good neither for the graduate students or the students they teach. Presidents and deans of research universities could act more boldly by urging revisions in their Ph.D. programs to include better preparation for teaching.”30 When not working as teaching assistants, graduate students usually perform research for the tenured faculty. Economist Gary North explains how this benefits tenured faculties: “The brightest graduate students may be asked to do unpaid or grant-paid research for senior professors. The professors then publish the results of this research under their own names, thereby advancing their careers. It’s the division of labor at work.”31

An Increasingly Longer Apprenticeship
Martin Anderson believes that “the entire course of study should normally involve no more than three or, at most, four years beyond the baccalaureate” and adds that “the four-year norm has been affirmed by most writers who have analyzed the situation.”32 Yet, the average length of Ph.D. programs is well beyond four years. The Survey of Earned Doctorates found that the time taken to earn a Ph.D. in 2005 was 8.3 years.33 According to Martin Anderson, the cost to Ph.D. candidates is high: “The gap between what should be and what is exacts a fearsome price. When young men and women are forced to spend not three or four years, but 10, 12, or even 15 years to earn the Ph.D., the entire process becomes corrupting. Those extra years are critical ones that are ripped out of the productive life of young scholars. The average graduate student is 34-years old before he or she breaks free of the cocoon of dependency that is the Ph.D. process.”34 Once fully understanding the process, many graduate students quit. “Fewer than half of all students who enter Ph.D. programs ever get the degree—more than half drop out along the way.”35 Yet universities have strong incentives to grow their graduate programs. Gary North explains: “The more Ph.D. stu-

Ph.D. P.h.D. Production Rises and Levels Off
50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 44,408 38,317 30,000 33,615 46,024 45,596

1975

1980

1990

2000

2003

2006

P.h.D.s Issued Ph.D.s Issued

Sources: NCES, Gary North, InsideHighered.com.

Source: NCES, Gary North, InsideHigered.com

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dents a department can attract, the faster the growth of that department. This is the iron law of academia. All other economic laws are sacrificed for it. This fact of academic economic life creates an incentive for departments to enroll lots of graduate students. It also rewards those departments that persuade M.A. students to go into the Ph.D. program.”36 The more years each graduate student must spend to earn their Ph.D., the greater the enrollment at any given time. Unfortunately, the reward for those who finally earn a Ph.D. is often less than hoped for. Gary North explains the problem: “In response to the ever-growing glut of Ph.D.s, the American university system turned out about 30,000 Ph.D. graduates per year, 1969 to about 1975. Since then, it has increased the output. In 1980, it was 33,615. In 1990, it was 38,371. In 2000, it was 44,808. In 2003, it was 46,024.”37 “A ‘Ph.D. glut’ has existed ever since the fall of 1969. The number of entry-level full-time professorial positions has remained stagnant. Few new universities have been constructed. Legislatures have resisted additional funding. This has led to a reduction of the number of tenure-level positions. Universities and community colleges have been able to staff their entry-level positions with inexpensive instructors.”38

William Hayes, author of So You Want to Be a College Professor? agrees with North. “There were almost no college teaching jobs when they finished. That was before the glut.”39 Now “an English vacancy” draws “133 candidates.” “In many disciplines, the placement rate is as low as 25 percent.”40 Perhaps the market has finally reached saturation, as Ph.D.s issued leveled off to 45,596 in 2006.41

THE DECLINE OF TENURE TRACK FACULTY
The poor return on investment for many Ph.D. recipients— especially in the case of teaching positions—comes about because of a collision of two trends in higher education: the strong emphasis on research for tenured professors and the marked decline in tenure-track positions. Tenured and tenure track faculty have consistently lost market share to part-time and non-tenure track teachers on American campuses, falling steadily from 56.8 percent of the faculty in 1975, to 42.4 percent in 1995, to a new low of 35.1 percent in 2003. If the trend continues, by 2011 fewer than 28 percent of the teachers at American universities will be non-tenure track or part-time adjuncts.42 Adjuncts and graduate students now teach most students because the tenured faculty spends so little time teaching undergraduates. In fact, the average full professor at a research university spends 21 percent of his or her time teaching un-

University Faculty Have Shifted to Non Tenure and Non Tenure Track
80 70 60 50 30 20 10 0 1975 1995 2003 Non Tenure
Source: US Department of Education; AAUP website.

56.8 43.2

Percent of 40 Overall Faculty

57.6 42.4

64.9 35.1

68.1

31.9

2006

Tenure and Tenure Track

Source: U.S. Department of Education, AAUP website

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Direct Teaching Costs
(Tenure/Tenure Track versus Adjunct) $2,000 $1,800 Cost per Student per class $1,600 $1,400 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $600 $400 $200 $0

$1,787

The average number of classes taught by tenured and tenure track faculty has declined to just over three classes per year, or less than 4.5 hours per week in the classroom. A Texas Performance Review found tenured and tenure track professors at the state’s research universities teach 1.9 courses per semester.46 Courses taught by a tenured or tenure track faculty member require $1,787 in direct costs per student per class versus just $50 per student in direct teaching costs using an adjunct.† In other words, tenured and tenure track faculty are over 30 times more expensive on a per student basis.

$50
Tenure/tenure track Adjunct

dergraduates, in all teaching fewer than 4.5 hours per week each semester, despite a salary, benefits, and other university income that averages over $150,000 per nine-month year.43 According to the NCES, 21.7 percent of the faculty at fouryear doctoral universities do not teach a single class.44 Because adjuncts and teaching assistants teach larger classes than the average tenured or tenure track professor and often do much of the teaching in labs and discussion sessions in classes normally taught by tenured faculty, some experts estimate that over 75 percent of undergraduate contact hours are taught by non-tenured faculty at some major research universities.*

WHY DOES THE COST OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION CONTINUE TO RISE?
Despite this move towards less expensive teachers, college tuition has continued to increase at a faster pace than inflation. By 2005-06, the average cost of tuition had risen to $5,491 per year at four-year state universities and to $21,235 per year at private four-year colleges, in both cases almost a 900 percent rise over a 30-year period.47 To make matters worse, tuition covers only a small part of overall college costs. By some estimates, tuition provides less than 20 percent of the total revenue for major American public universities. This means that for every dollar spent by students and parents directly, taxpayers or donors are paying another four dollars in costs. One of the primary reasons college costs continue to rise is because while many tenured faculty are being replaced in the classroom, they remain on the payroll of the universities doing research.

It’s Simply a Matter of Economics
So why are the vast majority of undergraduate students now taught by non-tenure track and part-time faculty? It’s simply a matter of economics. The average adjunct teacher is paid between $1,000 and $3,000 per course and receives little to no fringe benefits. Some teaching assistants are paid less. The average tenured or tenure track professor—averaging full professors with lower paid associate and assistant professors—is paid $124,690 in compensation and benefits for a nine-month work year45— whether they teach many classes each year, or none.

*College administrators like to quote the “student-teacher ratio” that compares the FTE (full time equivalent) faculty to the total number of students. This misleading statistic is used to justify hiring more tenured faculty even though it tells nothing about the average number of students in each class. As an example, a university could double its tenured faculty and dramatically cut the student/teacher ratio, but if all these professors were dedicated to academic research, the average class size would not change at all. †This assumes the adjunct teaches an average of forty students per class and the average tenured and tenure track teacher an average of twenty students per class. This is a reasonable assumption since adjuncts and teaching assistants tend to focus on larger, lower--division classes while tenured faculty members tend to teach much smaller graduate school classes.

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Rising College Tuition
$6,000 $5,000 (Four Year Public College)
$30,000 $25,000

Annual Cost of Higher Education

$23,063 $17,026

Dollars per Year

$4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0

Cost per year

$20,000 $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $0

$6,900

19 76 19 77 78 19 79 80 19 81 82 19 83 84 19 85 86 19 87 88 19 89 90 -9 19 1 92 19 93 94 19 95 96 19 97 98 -9 20 9 00 20 01 02 -0 20 3 04 -0 5

Private

Public

For Profit

Source: College Board website

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

HOW TO REDUCE THE COST OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION
The inefficiency of university governance and time spent on academic research make traditional universities far less efficient than for-profit universities, which have demonstrated an enviable track record of educational success for far less money. Business and political leaders continue to discuss reforming higher education, but are often hesitant to introduce the efficiencies found at for-profit universities because of the threat that tenured faculty members might flee institutions that pass far-reaching reforms. Given that up to 75 percent of lower-division undergraduate students are already being taught by non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty, having non-tenured faculty simply teach a few more classes would not represent a dramatic change to the university’s teaching model. However, reducing the number of tenured and tenure track professors would have a notable impact on the costs of a college education. The University of Texas is a case in point of how the cost of the tenured faculty—and their lack of teaching productivity—affects costs. The average full professor at UT-Austin makes $110,000 per nine-month year. Assuming the national averages for benefits and other university income, and adding one dollar of indirect costs for every dollar of direct costs to cover the cost of support staff, offices, and miscellaneous expenses, the fully allocated cost for a full professor is $311,000 per year.48

In the spring of 2006 at UT-Austin, the average tenured full professor taught an average of 87 undergraduates for an average cost of $2,815 per student per class. By contrast, the average non-tenured instructor received a salary of $47,000 per year and taught 247 students, for an average cost per student taught of $381.49 The non-tenure track faculty teach the majority of students at the University of Texas. They teach much less expensively and by many accounts have higher student evaluations. For less than 18 percent of the fully allocated teaching costs, the non-tenure track teaches over half of the student hours.50 And these numbers are almost certainly weighted heavily in the tenured faculty’s favor because they do not include the thousands of hours that teaching assistants spend in-

University of Texas
Fully Allocated Cost per Student Taught
Cost per student per class
$3,000 $2,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0

$2,815 $2,434 $2,374

$381

$625 $358

Full Associate Assistant Professor Professor Professor

Instructor

Lecturer

Teaching Assistant

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

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Is Academic Research a Good Investment for Texas?

University of Texas
Tenure/Tenure Track vs Non-Tenure Track Teaching Costs 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Non-tenure Track Tenured and Tenure Track
Source: THECB

structing students face-to-face in labs and discussion sessions where a tenured faculty member is the teacher of record.* So what would happen if the tenured faculty went on strike and the nontenured teachers taught all the undergraduate classes? Total allocated instruction costs would drop by 65 percent. While the $5,900 per year cost to educate a student in a public four-year college who is taught entirely by nontenured faculty is a rough estimate, it compares reasonably to the $6,900 per year cost of for-profit universities whose instructors focus on teaching. Higher education in Texas doesn’t need more money. What it needs is to spend the money it has been given on students instead of on the research whims of tenured faculty. As the chart on the next page shows, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board goal of 210,000 degrees annually by 2015 could easily be achieved with today’s levels of spending if our higher education dollars were spent to teach students. One reform that should not be pursued in increasing the number of degrees awarded is forcing tenured and tenure track teachers to teach more. While this sounds reasonable, it has been tried before and failed.

82% 51% 18% 49%
Hours Taught Percent of Teaching Costs

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Annual Cost of a Four Year College Degree
$20,000 $17,500 Annual Cost $15,000 $12,500 $10,000 $7,500 $5,000 $2,500 Average Four Year Public Degree For-Profit University Tenured Faculty on Strike $6,900 $5,959 $17,026

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

*It is important to note that all of the estimates above for the University of Texas may be heavily biased in favor of the tenured and tenure track faculty because of incomplete and misleading reporting. According to NCES nationwide statistics, there are 300,000 TAs nationwide compared to approximately 380,000 tenured and tenure track faculty. Approximately 66 percent of these TAs nationwide are involved in teaching. At the University of Texas, only 465 TAs were reported in the Fall of 2005 versus 1,899 tenured and tenure track faculty. Apparently, TAs who teach lab and discussion sections for senior faculty are not always reported, thus overstating the actual number of hours taught by senior faculty. It is possible that senior faculty only teach half or less of the hours reported above, the rest actually being taught by teaching assistants. This would mean that 75 percent of undergraduate teaching at the University of Texas is being performed by non-tenured and/or tenure track faculty, and that the costs per student taught per tenured/tenure track faculty are twice what is reported above.

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Degrees Awarded in Texas
300,000 Degrees per Year 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000
150,000 135,013 170,862 60,000

50,000 0

92,000

92,000

92,000

Currently

For-Profit

Tenured faculty on strike

THECB 2015 Target

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Unfortunately, forcing tenured faculty members to teach may do more harm than good. Tenured and tenure track teachers are often not hired to teach, not trained to teach and many do not like to teach. They know that their status in academia depends on publishing in academic journals and will resist any attempt to force them back into the classroom. When forced to teach, with no consequences for teaching poorly, many will take the path of least resistance.

myopic simply to wait in the hope that reform will emerge spontaneously from within.”51 The first state that overhauls its higher education system to attract the best teachers, most productive researchers, and brightest students from around the United States, will gain a real educational advantage that will be almost impossible to overcome.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The problem with higher education in Texas isn’t a lack of money, but rather an incentive system in our universities that encourages the production of academic research instead of spending money on teachers, curriculums, and classrooms. Harvard President Derek Bok calls for far-reaching reforms: “Until Ph.D. programs include a serious preparation for teaching and convey a deeper understanding of the complexities of student learning, faculties will not only have little inclination to change their ways, they will not even perceive much need to do so. Without more prodding and encouragement than they are currently receiving, presidents and deans are also unlikely to challenge the status quo. In the present environment, then, it would be

(1) Place a renewed emphasis on teaching in colleges and universities.
Set aside the majority of new tenure appointments for professors who have proven that they can teach well as junior faculty members by teaching large numbers of students and receiving superior ratings on student evaluations. Though university administrators assure us that good teaching is a necessary qualification for tenure, the evidence suggests that this isn’t true. Prominently post all teaching evaluations at each school. We need to celebrate extraordinary teaching and provide poor teachers with an incentive to improve. Prominently displaying the teaching effectiveness scores from student evaluations in all buildings on campus is one way to encourage faculty to improve their teaching methods.

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(2) Require all Texas colleges and universities to sign a “learning contract” with incoming students.
Our universities need to be clear about what they promise to deliver and sign a “learning contract” with each applicant that discloses: (a) the graduation rate, placement rate and starting salary for a student with the same SAT score and major; (b) the average class size and teaching evaluations for the faculty who will be teaching their classes; (c) the skills, tools and lessons that the curriculum is designed to transmit, and (d) how any educational value added will be measured.

information about the fully loaded cost per Ph.D. student, graduation rates, and placement rates. If large numbers of graduate students are going to teach, they should be trained to teach well. This should include being mentored by a teacher who has received high student evaluations. Graduate teaching assistants should be paid based on the number of students they teach and judged based on their student teaching evaluations. Those who teach well should be paid well. Those who do not teach well should be dropped from graduate programs. Graduate research assistants should not be required to work on research projects unless paid by those funding the research projects, and any such work should be disclosed to those paying the bill. Graduate school tuition should better reflect the full cost of a graduate education. Those applying to graduate school should receive a “learning contract” from the university that discloses in detail the learning that will take place in class (with appropriate measurement), average time to degree, placement rates and salaries on graduation, and teaching and research obligations that will be expected. Community and business leaders of Texas should partake in defining a more market-based Ph.D. system, one that clearly defines and measures goals, sets incentives aligned with these goals, and fully discloses to students what they can expect to learn.

(3) Separate the teaching and research functions to stop the massive cross-subsidies that flow from teaching and useful scientific research to subsidize the more esoteric academic research favored by the tenured faculty.
Pay for good teaching—whether by adjuncts, teaching assistants, or tenure track faculty. Pay on a per student basis to encourage teachers to teach as efficiently as possible. Reward good teaching by paying bonuses based on student evaluations. Encourage productive researchers by reducing the overhead taken out of outside research grants and establishing independently funded and organized research institutes. Centralize and reduce the funding of all other academic research. Encourage scholars either to raise funds to support such research or to conduct it during their own time. Insist that all academic research either be overseen by those funding it and fully reimbursed or done on a faculty member’s own time. Each research project should be fully funded and overseen by the person or institution funding the research. At the end of each year, and on final completion for each project, customer satisfaction reports should be collected and reviewed by the board. Business leaders should reject the idea that all research and development spending is equal and hold universities accountable for providing empirical proof of the value of each and every research project.

CONCLUSION
The evidence indicates that Texas universities and their counterparts throughout the nation are emphasizing research, much of which has few tangible benefits, over teaching. The significant resources that are diverted to research that is unproductive could be used to make higher education more affordable for students. By taking steps such as separating research and teaching budgets and compensating faculty based on the results they achieve through research and teaching, Texas universities can produce better returns for students and taxpayers.

(4) Evaluate and reform the current system of Ph.D. fellowships, rejecting the conventional wisdom about academic research and the promise of “free money.”
We should recognize that not all graduate programs are equally valuable and demand that colleges and universities release

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December 2008

ENDNOTES
1 2

National Patterns of R&D Resources: 2006 Data Update” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07331/. Ibid. 3 Richard Vedder, “Texas Higher Education: Success or Failure?” Texas Public Policy Foundation (29 May 2008) http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2008-05-RR05-highered-vedder-final.pdf. 4 Charles J. Sykes, “ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education” (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 1988) 19. 5 Robert A. Nisbet, “The Degradation of the Academic Dogma” (Piscataway, New Jersey: Transactions Publishers, 1997) 98. 6 George Dennis O’Brien, “All the Essential Half-Truths about Higher Education” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 3. 7 “National Patterns of R&D Resources: 2006 Data Update” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07331/. 8 Richard Vedder, “Going Broke by Degree, Why Colleges Cost Too Much” (Washington DC: AEI Publishers, 2004) 122. 9 Ibid. 10 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, “Average Faculty Salaries - Texas Public Universities - FY 2006” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Reports/. 11 College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2005” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/48884.html. 12 Martin Anderson, “Impostors in the Temple, A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America” (Palo Alto: Hoover Press, 1996) 170. 13 Bernard Wysocki Jr., “Cash Injections: As Universities get Billions in Grants, Some see Abuses,” The Wall Street Journal (16 Aug. 2005) A1. 14 Harry R. Lewis, “Excellence Without a Soul, How a Great University Forgot Education” (Jackson, TN: Public Affairs, 2006) 9. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid., 97-98. 17 Ibid., 101. 18 Ibid., 119. 19 Ibid., 128. 20 U.S. Department of Education, NCES Digest of Educational Statistics (2004) http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/. 21 Richard Vedder, “Going Broke by Degree, Why Colleges Cost Too Much” (Washington DC: AEI Publishers, 2004) 147. 22 Ibid., 141-142. 23 Ibid., xxi. 24 Martin Anderson, “Impostors in the Temple, A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America” (Palo Alto: Hoover Press, 1996) 118. 25 Ibid., 72. 26 Charles J Sykes, “ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education” (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 1988) 75. 27 Ibid., 67. 28 Martin Anderson, “Impostors in the Temple, A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America” (Palo Alto: Hoover Press, 1996) 70. 29 Ibid., 67. 30 Derek Bok, “Our Underachieving Colleges” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006) 340. 31 Gary North, “The Ph.D. Glut Revisited” (24 Jan. 2006) http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north427.html. 32 Martin Anderson, “Impostors in the Temple, A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America” (Palo Alto: Hoover Press, 1996) 74. 33 The Survey of Earned Doctorates, NORC, University of Chicago (2005) 66. 34 Martin Anderson, “Impostors in the Temple, A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America” (Palo Alto: Hoover Press, 1996) 74. 35 Ibid., 75. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid. 39 William Hayes, “So You Want to Be a College Professor” (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education Press, 2003) 150. 40 Ibid. 41 “More Doctors of Philosophy and Science” Inside Higher Ed (21 Nov. 2007) http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/11/21/phds. 42 American Association of University Professors, “Background Facts on Contingent Faculty” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.aaup.org/Issues/Contingent/Ptfacts.htm. 43 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “NSOPF: 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty,” (Washington: GPO, 2004). 44 Ibid. 45 American Association of University Professors, “The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession 2005-06,”Academe March-April 2006. 46 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Workload Issues and Measures of Faculty Productivity by Barbara K. Townsend and Vicki J. Rosser, and Legislative Budget Board. 47 College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2005” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/48884.html. 48 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, “Average Faculty Salaries - Texas Public Universities - FY 2004” (10 Oct. 2008) http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Reports/. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Derek Bok, “Our Underachieving Colleges” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006) 324.

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About the Author

Rick O’Donnell is president of the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence, which creates and distributes cutting-edge entrepreneurship curricula, including case courses, sim games and Socratic teaching tools. Its curriculum is fully implemented at the affiliated Acton School of Business, an intense, one-year entrepreneurial MBA like no other. For the fifth year in a row, the Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools rank Acton as #2 “classroom experience,” #3 “best professors” and #3 “most competitive students” in the country. Previously, O’Donnell served in the Cabinet of Colorado’s Governor as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Department oversees all 29 public institutions of higher education in the state that cumulatively enroll nearly 270,000 students. His accomplishments included implementing the first voucher of higher education funding in the country, establishing the nation’s leading performance accountability contracts for colleges and universities, and launching the largest effort in state history to expand college access for under-served and under-represented students.

About the Texas Public Policy Foundation

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research institute guided by the core principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, private property rights, free markets, and limited government. The Foundation’s mission is to lead the nation in public policy issues by using Texas as a model for reform. We seek to improve Texas by generating academically sound research and data on state issues, and recommending the findings to policymakers, opinion leaders, the media, and general public. The work of the Foundation is primarily conducted by staff analysts under the auspices of issue-based policy centers. Their work is supplemented by academics from across Texas and the nation. Funded by hundreds of individuals, foundations, and corporations, the Foundation does not accept government funds or contributions to influence the outcomes of its research. The public is demanding a different direction for their government, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation is providing the ideas that enable policymakers to chart that new course.

900 Congress Ave., Suite 400 | Austin, Texas 78701 | (512) 472-2700 phone | (512) 472-2728 fax | www.TexasPolicy.com

March 25, 2011 Dear Regent Hall: I‟ve been thinking about our several discussions regarding the accuracy of claims made about my stance on university research. I appreciate your interest and have been delighted to answer your questions. Please let me elaborate a bit on what we have talked about. Based on recent news coverage, it is clear that most people have focused on one or two white papers I wrote a number of years ago. That‟s understandable, especially since those papers represent not only a small slice of life but a slice from an environment designed to stimulate dialogue and encourage debate. However, there is also the evidence from my actual work in higher education where my words and deeds clearly reflect my positive views about the role of research in the university and the role of the research university in higher education in America. When I served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, I was always a strong proponent of university-based research – both basic research and applied research. In fact, during my career in Colorado state government, I advocated for and assisted in the passage of financing for Colorado to build its new premier biosciences research center, the University of Colorado Health Science Center at Fitzsimmons. At the time, I was recognized by the President of the University of Colorado for the role I played in securing the Governor‟s support for debt financing for this massive project of hospitals, research labs, classrooms and adjacent private sector research park. My opportunity to help move this state-of-the-art health science center from the drawing board to reality was then and continues today as a source of enormous pride and a satisfying example of the many delights of public service. Throughout my career in senior positions in Colorado state government I was always a strong supporter of investments in science and technology institutions and programs. I was honored to serve as chairman of the Colorado Institute of Technology, a public-private partnership to advance undergraduate and graduate STEM education. My fellow board members, composed of the presidents of every public and private research university in Colorado and high technology CEOs, unanimously elected me to serve as chairman due to my commitment to the mission and ability to advance it with both public and private sector leaders. The white papers at the center of recent attention have been used to suggest I don‟t value universitybased research. In fact, I wrote the white papers to initiate a discussion about approaches to assessing the value of research. That is the role of a white paper at any think tank, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). As a Senior Fellow at TPPF (an unremunerated honorific post), it was my responsibility to produce thought-provoking analytical pieces to advance a line of reasoning to further debate and discussion on important issues. I decided to focus on ways of measuring the productivity of dollars invested in research because I knew from experience that many state legislators and governors raise questions about investments in research and how those investments affect a university‟s teaching, training and public service functions. It was also my responsibility in those papers to offer public policy options that are an outgrowth of the line of reasoning put forward. I knew my white papers would be controversial. The purpose, after all, was to generate debate. I knew the application of cost-benefit measures would both spotlight the value as well as the

limitations of that methodology as well as point to areas where we need better measures of benefits. I think my papers did that. Too often in cost-benefit analysis we measure what we can (i.e., where data are available) rather than measure what is important – like the old story of the guy looking for the keys to his car under the street light because that‟s where the light is. So, for example, I looked at the return on scientific research as measured by available data – such as income royalties and licenses on patents. Are these adequate measures of the contribution of research to university-based innovation? No, I don‟t think so. But this is what budget analysts will measure in the absence of other indicators. I think my papers show clearly that we may be spending too much time under the street light – and that, indeed, measures of what is important are sadly missing. For instance, there is evidence that involving freshmen in research with primary investigators increases student engagement and retention. These are valuable outcomes and thus it is worth creating metrics to evaluate how many freshmen contact hours there are with primary investigators, if the trends are going up or down, if student engagement and retention differs by discipline or type of research with which they are involved, and what the costs are for these efforts. Measures such as these will provide guidance on how to craft strategies with the greatest cost-benefit for students and research. There are many ways to measure and value research beyond that done in my white papers. Research capacity may attract technology-based companies and promote economic growth – one of the very reasons I supported the creation of the Fitzsimmons Health Science Center referenced above. Another value of research is that, particularly via graduate education, it helps prepare the next generation of researchers who, in the private sector, will conduct the vast majority of research done in America. But most of these lack ready metrics. I hope my white papers and the discussions they have generated (including those over the past few weeks) will help produce new indicators and new measures that will make it possible for taxpayers, legislators, governors, university chancellors, deans, department chairs and institute directors to develop a more valid dashboard of performance measures and thereby arm leaders at every level with the information they need to be better allocators and managers of scarce resources. But, when all is said and done, it is clear that the public through their elected officials will, whether we like it or not, increasingly demand that we justify the way we allocate taxpayer funds that support higher education. They have a right and responsibility to do so and those of us in the university have an obligation to provide clear answers to questions that are being asked – especially if budget cuts require a reassessment of priorities and a reallocation of resources. My papers at TPPF, which are now so controversial, are one of many ongoing efforts to show the need for more refined ways to assess the value of the state‟s investment in higher education. I am not the first to do this. In fact, I quote many leading academicians who have raised and are raising similar questions. Nor will I be the last. I think that many in leadership positions at every level in the U.T. System and its campuses are to be commended for seeing the need to get a better handle on how we allocate higher education dollars, not the least because there are inevitably going to be fewer dollars to allocate. Put another way, it‟s clear that research investments to facilitate student engagement and retention, advance knowledge, promote economic development or job training will not be free from accountability, including closer examination of their costs and benefits. For instance, Charles O. Holliday Jr., an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, former CEO of DuPont, and now chair of the National Research Council‟s Committee on Research Universities, a panel of

22 university and corporate leaders formed at the request of members of Congress to examine the financial, organizational and intellectual health of the U.S. research university, said, according to news reports, that “he wanted ways of measuring „the productivity of research universities.‟ It wasn‟t clear he‟d be getting answers.” At the same meeting, M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities “at one point mused about the value of developing hard figures on the cost of producing a graduate student. Mr. Berdahl [president of the American Association of Universities] answered, „I‟m not sure we want to call attention to that.‟” Whether we want the attention or not, it seems clear that questions on productivity, efficiency and accountability for our research universities and research expenditures are being asked. These questions may be controversial to some and seem to challenge the status quo, but they are raised from time to time, even within the scientific community. Not only have I been an agent of higher education reform as a state leader, I am very well acquainted with the literature. As long ago as the early 1970s, the National Science Foundation and others wrestled with if there should be an explicit focus on funding “research for national needs” and just how to evaluate that. Simply typing “research funding accountability” into Google yields millions of links to studies, books and conferences where others have raised similar issues for decades. In a nutshell, I understand and support the value of research, including basic research, and the central role of research universities in the science and technology eco-system that is the backbone of America‟s economic role in the world. I also am unafraid to look at the data, ask hard questions around productivity, cost-benefits and accountability because I think it is possible to measure the value of research to our common weal. Perhaps the best sense of my overall approach to research is what I said on my feet earlier this year as moderator of a panel discussion, where I mentioned that research is an integral part of the university and economic resources of the state. You may watch the short clip of my remarks here: http://vimeo.com/21526494. Let me conclude by quoting a recent remark of U.T. Austin President William Powers Jr. “We are committed to inventing and reinventing what it means to be a great public university. We want to make sure that we do it in a way that also advances great public research.” I am in total alignment with President Powers‟ comments. I believe that process of reinvention requires us to ask hard questions that may challenge the status quo as we are held accountable for outcomes. That, after all, is how any great organization, including public universities, continually improve. I hope this letter provides some context and helps clarify my views on the value of research and the research university. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Like you, I look forward to strengthening the teaching, research and public service commitments of the University of Texas System and its intuitions. Sincerely,

Rick O‟Donnell

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