Friday, January 16, 2009
  Different cultures
Mary Hess had a post (which youi should read, as she suggests thoughts about churches from this material ;) in which she quotes from what she says "was a fascinating piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed recently (sorry, it’s locked behind their firewall)", it included a list of twenty signs an institution might be at risk. It is fascinating reading, at least from down here. Most do not apply, or apply to every theological training institution (including the two Universities that teach theology)
  • Tuition discounting is more than 35 percent.
No one here gives fees discounts, we set the fees and then students live with them.
  • Tuition dependency is more than 85 percent.
Though most places would be borderline if you count government funding tied to students as "tuition dependency".
  • Student default rate is more than 5 percent.
  • Debt service is more than 10 percent of annual operating budget.
Not sure what these mean, but I don't see how anyone can opperate if students are enrolled without paying fees, just signing an IOU (which seems to be what they mean).
  • The ratio between endowment and operating budget is less than 1-to-3.
No theological training institution in NZ has better than that, "endowments" are simply not part of the scene - Kiwis seldom give to investment funds!
  • Average annual tuition increase has been greater than 8 percent for five years.
Crikey they must have been low five years ago - you should all have studied then ;)
  • Deferred maintenance is at least 40 percent unfinanced.
Surely deferred maintenance is just pushes something off next year's list?
  • Short-term bridge financing is regularly required in the final quarter of each fiscal year.
Oops, this would be a disaster, there have been a few years when Carey would have been in trouble without the Union, and some when the reverse is true ;) it sure helps being owned by a denomination.
  • Less than 10 percent of operating budget is dedicated to technology.
Oh, yes! I must show this to Graeme 10% just think what we could do with that size of budget ;)
  • Average alumni gift is less than $75, and less than 20 percent of alumni give annually.
Alumni gifts? You mean in the USA past students send you money, where do they get it from, do you teach pop music or bank robbery at your seminaries?
  • Enrollment is 1,000 students or fewer.
If you added the 5 or six largest institutions in NZ together you would not make this threshold.
  • The conversion yield — the percentage of students who attend
    the college after applying — is 20 percent lower than that of primary
  • Student retention is 10 percent behind that of primary competitors.
  • The institution is on probation with a regional accreditor.
These make good sense.
  • The majority of faculty members do not hold terminal degrees.
I did not know degrees could be "terminal", I never thought of my PhD as an illness, if it was since I have had it for 25 years I suspect that it is not terminal and I'll survive. The others have had theirs less long, but they all LOOK healthy enough.
  • Average age of full-time faculty is 58 or higher.
This is a problem in NZ, not that actual figure, but a somewhat chronologically over-endowed character to theological teachers. Though at Carey the average has slowly been dropping, and in a couple of years will shoot down again...
  • The leadership team averages more than 12 years, or fewer than three years, of service.
  • No complete online program has been developed.
  • No new degree or certificate program has been developed for at least two years.
These all make sense.
  • It takes more than a year to approve a new degree program.
This is out of our hands, NZQA (or the Vice-Chancellors' committee for the Universities) decide both the result and the time taken.

Conclusion, either all theological education in NZ is terminal, or the situation is so different only a few criteria are common to the two contexts.

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