Tuition, Room, Board and Fees Up 7% Next Year at Tech – Zero Cuts in Massive Administrative Overhead

Letitia “Tish” Long

by James C. Sherlock

From The Roanoke Times

Faced with inflationary pressures and state budget uncertainty, the school’s Board of Visitors voted unanimously to markup overall student costs by about 7%, increasing tuition and fees, plus room and board.

It was not an easy decision, said Rector Tish Long.

”This is one of the most important and most difficult decisions that this board has had to make,’ Long said. ‘This is a very difficult decision, and we did and continue to take everyone’s comments into account.’

Rector Long did not mention how easy it was to not cut administrative overhead:

  • No data required;
  • No difficult discussions;
  • No strained decisions;
  • No dispirited looks from the University President;
  • Let’s break for lunch. Early.

Tech’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, who would be the one to recommend cuts, is enthusiastic about that school’s “Administrative Transformation” project.

He notes that he has an Administrative and Professional (A/P) Faculty job architecture project underway. Alas, the obstacles include:

Currently there are over 2,400 A/P faculty positions with over 1,800 unique titles. This lack of structure creates inconsistent pay and titling practices — which can unintentionally create pay equity issues — as well as makes it difficult to benchmark salaries to the external market.

It makes it quite difficult to make cuts when the University COO has no idea what all those people do.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry when reading:

What the (architecture) project will do[Read it at the link – sharing it here is embarrassing].

What the project will not do

  • Reorganize organizational units;
  • Change salary or benefits of existing A/P faculty;
  • Change working titles of existing A/P faculty;
  • Change duties or responsibilities of existing A/P faculty positions;
  • Change reporting lines or supervisors of existing A/P faculty. [Emphasis added.]

Even that is a “multi-year effort.” To change nothing that matters to anybody drawing breath at Tech.

The Tech board is apparently satisfied by the multi-year deflection of their attention.

There is not a term acceptable in polite company to describe either the Tech administration or its board for such actions.

Bottom line. Until Virginia colleges and universities cut the costs of administration, which have been skyrocketing for decades, statements like the one from Rector Long mislead by omission.

Faux enterprise architecture projects, like the Tech shell game above, that guarantee up front that nothing will change are nothing more than measures to distract the boards and the taxpayers.

At great expense.

Ask next year’s Tech students and their parents.