As the cost of higher education increases significantly and without fail each year, it is undoubtedly time to make big changes in America’s colleges and universities to help remedy, and hopefully eventually eliminate, this monetary problem.  Fortunately, I have devised the perfect solution to fix this growing epidemic.

Let’s use Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania as an example.  The biggest issue at this prestigious establishment is the huge number of faculty and staff who are employed there.  With more than 50 majors and 65 minors, Bucknell has an innumerable amount of professors currently working in the various departments.  In addition to all of these qualified professors, Bucknell employs hundreds of staff members working in the finance office, the registrar’s office, dining services, on the athletic field, etc.  While there is no doubt that each of these functions needs to be accomplished for the business that is Bucknell to run successfully, Bucknell is simply paying too many salaries.

Here is what we need to do: eliminate the extra staff members working at Bucknell so that only the professors remain.  Who will do all of the administrative, dining and coaching duties?  The professors, of course!  Fortunately, most professors only teach one or two courses, leaving the rest of their day open for other activities.  I propose that professors in colleges and universities across the country use this free time in their days to take on the duties of the staff members at each respective school so that tuition prices will fall from the exorbitant levels that they currently are stationed.

While professors will be able to apply to the positions of their choice, professors from certain departments will fit naturally into certain positions.  For example, the management and accounting professors will obviously fill the finance positions as well as the positions that require a strong business background.  Engineering professors know how to build and fix things, so naturally will fit into custodial and facilities roles.  From the various science departments we can fill the health and dining positions: chemistry professors teach students about what will result from mixing certain substances, so they will make delicious food as chefs, cooks, and food service providers; who would be better doctors at health services than biology professors?  Psychology professors have the perfect skill set to deal with athletes and lead to domination and championship wins on the sports courts and fields.  While a set of professors are teaching their classes during the day, the ones who are not teaching will be working in other areas, making the school run like a well-oiled machine!

In conclusion, colleges and universities should not be wasting money on unnecessary staff members, when there are hundreds of perfectly capable and intelligent professors who will fill the positions and run the school without struggle.  Each professor has a skill set that can be easily applied to each of the staff positions… and more importantly, they have the time!  And what more economical use of their time could there be than further contributing to their places of employment?

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5 responses »

  1. Mike says:

    I think this is a good idea. Having the professors teach and also work in a staff position would attract those who actually want to teach for the right reasons. It isn’t helpful to have professors who’s passion is in their own research and then use the professor title to obtain funding and resources to support their research. Don’t get me wrong, research from these professionals are beneficial to society, but not when it provides students with mediocre teaching because it is something the “professor” sees as a job instead of a passion. Having them interact with students outside of the classroom would help develop deeper connection with the students, giving the professors more reasons to help guide them to success. This idea would change the professor’s focus on their research, or whatever else they do outside the classroom, to concentrate solely on the progress of the students’ overall education.

  2. Paul Martin says:

    I also think this is a pretty appealing idea. You could put an end to the old saying “Those who can’t do, teach.” You could even take this a step farther by adding an incentive for the teachers such as an increased salary based on all the money saved from decreased staff. Additionally, the position of a TA could be broadened to have the TA’s or even students in general get some hands on experience in some of the areas that Kelly mentioned, such as the finance office. It’s understandable that a teacher might not want to take on extra work, or feel like their expertise might be being taken advantage of, but I think the benefits might legitimately outweigh the costs. Especially at a school such as Bucknell, which is already pretty tight-knit, you might see an even heightened sense of community. Also, although it might be a steep learning curve, I think eventually you might see students become much more active on campus. Perhaps without some of the staff around to set up events such as intramurals, concerts, and public speakers, students would pick up the slack and being to organize these things themselves. Could be a pretty neat experience.

  3. Jordi says:

    My next one is going to be about how to _really_ change student attitudes towards grades. Or maybe drinking behaviors. Or both… 🙂

    What about the religion, language, English, history, and philosophy departments, to name a few?

    Ever heard of Warren Wilson or Deep Springs college?

  4. Cheryl says:

    I find this a very interesting idea. I agree with everyone that having professors take on the specified staff duties would definitely further tighten our community as a whole. Students and professors would have more interactions outside of classroom and from that, develop a stronger connection which might potentially help students to achieve and succeed more in terms of academic and careers.
    There is, however, one downside that I can think of. Some students might take advantage of these out-of-classroom connections with their professors to obtain better grades without actually learning and putting effort in their studying. Im my high school, a lot of the professors are also coaches for the school’s sport teams, and I have heard of many stories about some professors being more biased and giving better grades to those students that they coached.
    Another problem is that having professors taking on these duties might not necessarily decrease the tuition. Even though we no longer need to hire staff members for those jobs, some professors would want to raise their salaries higher because they are doing multiple jobs, and not just giving lectures and grading homework tests like they used to.Therefore, professors would be more expensive to hire, and I’m not sure whether it can have any effect on reducing the tuition.

  5. Hannah says:

    This is actually something that I’ve thought about before, but forgot about it until now. My dad was a Dean at a University very similar to Bucknell, and even he agreed that professors make too much money given the actual amount of work they do. I’m not saying that professors aren’t valuable…clearly they are because they are the ones that give us our education, but if society expects us as 21 year olds to be able to multi-task a million things while searching for jobs while staying healthy while maintaining some aspect of a social life while having on-campus jobs, why can’t our professors? If professors are getting paid thousands of dollars a year and have tenure, they should be held responsible for doing more and giving more back to the University. Maybe not necessarily have the professors work in dining services, but have the professors teach more than one or two classes so you don’t have to hire as many professors and save the University (as well as us when it comes to tuition) thousands and thousands of dollars per year!

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