By: Don Bunker
A clear historical picture of productivity in Higher Education would change most people’s perception of what is needed to fix the cost problems chronicled about Higher Education.
During a recent debate in a Colorado State Legislative campaign, it was stated by the conservative candidate that the productivity for the average professor at the University of Colorado, had reduced from 15 credit hours taught per semester in 1955 to 5.5 credit hours per professor in 2005. As a Colorado resident I wondered how true this “statistic” really was?
If the average bricklayer’s productivity was recorded to lay 600 bricks per day in 1955, even the most uneducated person can appreciate that a brick layer, laying 220 bricks in 2005 is unacceptable and think new management is in order.
Teaching 5-three credit hour classes seems reasonable, it requires 15 hours of being in the class room per week and allows 25 hours for preparation, meetings and testing. Frequently the 5 courses taught would actually be the same course taught multiple times or similar courses taught multiple times. 5.5 credit hours per semester sounds like 220 bricks a day.
So why don’t we find out what the historical productivity trend really is, since productivity translates to number of employees and number of employees equals cost in a labor-intensive activity such as education?
Mr. Bunker is a former Vice President of Operations for a major computer equipment manufacturer.