Monday, June 9, 2008

The costs of instruction - a few goals and numbers

It's difficult to quantify what our education costs but this budget crisis has forced us to do just that. And as we conduct outreach to our friends, families, local communities, and the public at large, we often need to break down the larger figures into numbers that connect directly to our everyday experiences in class.

Our fundraising goals are divided into the long-term and the short-term. For the long term (on a scale of years), we seek endowments and other (more) secure, budget-item sources of funding for language instruction at Berkeley, for the languages within the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and especially for languages that have been traditionally marginalized in their larger institutional contexts, like Korean. The costs of attaining these goals are in the range of millions of dollars; discussing these goals is one of the tasks of our committee for the summer and fall this year.

In the short-term, we're trying to raise $500,000 for the 13 lecturers in Korean, Japanese and Chinese who have been informed that their jobs may not be renewed for the Fall 2008 semester. While figures are not exact, we have the most clarity about the how the number of lost instructional positions translates into class cuts for the Korean language program; it is probably similar for Chinese, Japanese and other languages as well.

Because 3 out of 5 of the returning Korean lecturer positions are threatened, we have been told that the Department of EALC may only be able to sustain 5 semester-long Korean language classes in the 2008-9 academic year. This is a drop of 22 classes from the 2007-8 academic year, when there were 27 class sections. The cost of preserving the three instruction positions and saving 22 sections of Korean language instruction has been estimated at $200,000. This means that the cost of preserving one class is about $9,100. Since each class lasts approximately 15 weeks and is taught 5 days per week, saving one hour of instruction would cost about $120--or, assuming a class of 20 students, $6 per student for each hour of instruction.

Of course, these figures are quite rough--if you have information that helps to clarify or expand upon them, please do share it. Please also feel free to use these numbers in your own fund-raising efforts.


Stephanie said...

This is Stephanie Lin writing from CalTV. I'm a reporter working with the station, and have expressed interest in covering your story. If you plan any more media events, please let me know.



Stephanie said...

Contact information:

My e-mail: sylin [at] berkeley . edu
You may facebook me also.