We hear suggestions that all kinds of facts and numbers are pertinent to the budget crisis affecting the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. We also hear that much depends on our ability to marshall the right facts and cite the right numbers. One fact that gets cited often: the Faculty of Arts has the second highest number of majors in the University. There were over 6,200 undergraduate students enrolled in the Faculty of Arts (for example) in the last academic year. This number translates into serious base funding for the University. (Perhaps someone could do the math for us there or point us towards the relevant line item in a University budget document.)
* Data from the University of Alberta’s “Data Book” for 2010-2011 prepared by the Strategic Analysis Office. http://www.ualberta.ca/~idosa/databook/
We have also heard talk about how rebates on the salaries of our senior administrators could save the Faculty from this crisis.
On a lighter note, there has been some talk of the kind of money that might be raised from a bake sale on the lawn of the President’s house (along with talk of how the money that the University paid for that house is almost the same dollar figure currently being demanded of the Faculty of Arts in the form of a cut to its operating budgets for this year and next).
We find that when we crunch even the most basic data, common sense tells us that the Dean and the President’s claims that all faculties are receiving the same budget cut (2%), and the Faculty of Arts is therefore being hurt no more than other Faculty at the University, cannot be right. Take 2% out of the bank account of a postal worker (for example) and the hurt to that person cannot possibly be the same as 2% taken from the pocket of a billionaire entrepreneur such as Daryl Katz. Sure, one number is the same, but others related to it are not. And one thing’s for sure: there is little correspondence in the effects.
What numbers and what facts do you believe are relevant to our situation? What statistics do you think we should be able to cite as we make our case to the Dean, Provost, President, and all Albertans about how important it is to fund the Faculty of Arts at their flagship research university? What data do you think is pertinent to our own “strategic analysis”? One statistic we’re particularly fond of: in just one of our departments, our staff collectively bring to our crucial daily operations 196 years of experience.