NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Faculty Productivity and Costs at the University of Texas at Austin

June 1, 2011

Recently released preliminary data from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin strongly suggest that the state of Texas could move toward making college more affordable by moderately increasing faculty emphasis on teaching.  Looking only at the UT Austin campus, if the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach just half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, and if the savings were dedicated to tuition reduction, tuition could be cut by more than half, says the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Other highlights of the study:

  • Twenty percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours.
  • They also generate 18 percent of the campus's research funding.
  • This suggests that these faculty members are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility.
  • Conversely, the least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do other faculty segments.
  • Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty; only 2 percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research.
  • Non-tenured track faculty teach a majority of undergraduate enrollments and a surprising 31 percent of graduate enrollments.
  • The most active researchers teach nearly the average of all faculty; increasing teaching loads of others would trivially impact outside research support.

Source: Richard Vedder, Christopher Matgouranis, and Jonathan Robe, "Faculty Productivity and Costs at the University of Texas at Austin," Center For College Affordability and Productivity, May 2011.

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