CAS needs to be funded differently

Staff Editorial

Incentive-based budgeting, or IBB, poses a threat to humanities and other programs and drives infighting instead of looking for other spending choices.

IBB, as used by UVM, is similar to running a business. It prioritizes funding to the most popular programs, encouraging competition between programs.

Enrollment in the College of Arts and Sciences has been declining since 2008, according to a Feb. 9 email from the UVM administration. The funds it gets have followed suit.

One reason enrollment in CAS has decreased is because UVM became more selective over the years, accepting 66 percent of all applicants last year as opposed to 77.6 percent in 2013 according to U.S. News and World Report.

In addition, several programs with small enrollments, such as Arabic, have lost funding or been cut altogether, decreasing the enrollment of students interested in such programs and bringing down overall numbers.

Beyond the areas where we’re spending less, we must look carefully at where we spend more.

An assistant professor in the Grossman School of Business makes nearly $20,000 more per year than a tenured professor in CAS, according to UVM’s Average Faculty Salary ranking.

We don’t need an expensive retention specialist or unnecessary branding consultant to tell us why students aren’t returning to UVM — if programs they are interested in get cut or are reduced, they will leave.

Furthermore, UVM is shooting itself in the foot by reducing the budget for CAS and hurting students in the process. Its reputation as a “public Ivy” rests on its appreciation of the liberal arts as well as its cutting-edge research.

Because CAS is UVM’s largest school that houses a wide variety of disciplines, no one is exempt from the consequences. Many misunderstand the debate as being humanities vs. STEM, but that is misguided.

CAS is not the College of Arts and Humanities.

If we pit majors against each other we continue the harmful trend of IBB.

Students should not be sharing paints in Studio Art or packed into lecture halls when they’re promised small classes. It’s not just wrong — it is a poor business model to promise students services and fail to provide them.

Staff editorials officially reflect the views of the Vermont Cynic. Signed opinion pieces and columns do not necessarily do so.

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