Letter to the Editor

Thanks for giving your time and space to thoughtful coverage of the Department of Labor Relations’ 15 percent decision in your April 17, 2015 article, “Administration to reduce part-time faculty.”

We were puzzled by Dale Hamel’s citation of 1.7 percent as the rate of growth of the student body at FSU. In the article, the time frame he was using was not clear, but it was juxtaposed with a four-year growth rate – 2011-2015 – for faculty of 6 percent (full-time) – 9.7 percent (part-time).

We were so surprised about what sounded like a lower rate of growth in our student body that we did what we ask our students to do – go directly to the data – and we examined the FSU NEASC  report. The NEASC report is compiled by the faculty and administration to reflect the facts and figures of our institution, from rate of growth to expenditures by division.

The most recent numbers for the NEASC report only go to 2013. But, we were relieved to see that between 2009 and 2013, the undergraduate student body increased 24.8 percent. This translates to an annual rate of growth of 5.7 percent, more than three times faster than Dale’s estimate. For undergrad and grad combined, the total growth over the same period was 17.3 percent, or a 4.1 percent annual rate. All data comes from page 89 of the NEASC report.

Our hope is that Dale really does understand that our student body growth has outpaced the growth of our faculty. Similarly, we hope that Dale understands that our expenditures on instruction during 2009-2013 (per the FSU NEASC report for undergrad) declined by 8.5 percent. Specifically, the report shows a rate of $624 per student in 2009 and $571 per student in 2013. Since these expenditures don’t appear to be adjusted for inflation, the inflation-adjusted decline would be even steeper.

If we misunderstood anything that Dale said or we are misreading the NEASC numbers, that’s our bad. We were motivated, however, to set forth a clearer airing of growth of our outstanding student body.

Virgina Rutter

Ben Alberti

Department of Sociology