The faculty senate came together Thursday the 19th for its monthly meeting in Shepard Hall. The agenda was fairly typical and when the budget talks began it was all I could do to stay awake. Until College Resource Committee Chair Kevin Foster took the stage and posed an interesting problem: should the budget be allocated according to enrollment numbers?
Foster claimed, “Our budget is determined more and more by enrollment”. In other words, the philosophy department, with 2,362 students, is allocated a smaller budget than the psychology department, with 8,917 students, based on these numbers.
The problem is “we are not a private institution, so enrollment cannot drive everything”, said Provost Trevisan. The academic budget and revenue from enrollment is pretty much equal, so the question is not only how to allocate that revenue but also is it worth driving enrollment numbers up when we cannot adequately provide for that? Professor Foster says, “I could increase enrollment in my department but I don’t have enough faculty as it is so I won’t do that”.
It is no secret that CUNY is vastly underfunded. According to Provost Trevisan, “the State gives CUNY the same amount of money per FTE (full time enrolled) student as University of Washington gets”. But U of Washington charges $12,394 to our measly $3,015.
The faculty senate decided to pick the issue back up once our legislators up in Albany officially pass the state budget. So, stay tuned.