The Allocation of Resources and Degrees Awarded

Publication, Education, Rodney Clifton

Accountability, measured by results rather than inputs, is fast becoming a reality in Canadian universities, but administrators still claim they need more resources and fewer constraints on their spending. Over a seven-year period from 2001 to 2008, the resources for Canadian universities increased substantially, but the number of degrees awarded did not increase at the same rate. At the University of Manitoba (U of M), for example, some faculties and schools received substantially
more resources during a time when the number of degrees awarded decreased. In fact, the evidence shows that there is virtually no relationship between resources allocated to faculties and schools and the number of degrees awarded. For this reason, this paper proposes five incentive-based policies to ensure that the U of M and other universities are held more accountable for the way they use resources. If these policies were adopted, students, particularly undergraduate students, would be treated more fairly.

In many colleges and universities, students are increasingly complaining about rising tuition fees. Parents are questioning the quality of their children’s education. University administrators are concerned about uncertain revenue. Professors are worried about renewing collective agreements and the new universities that are based on computer technology and online courses (MOOCs) that are rapidly overtaking universities built with bricks and mortar.1 At the same time, university administrators claim they need more money and more people, but, surprisingly, they want fewer constraints on the resources they receive.2

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