Study Shows Unionization Good for Universities

Good for shared governance, enrollments, graduation rates. What’s not to like?

Highlights? Faculty win, students win:

The paper says the higher spending on instruction at unionized public universities might help explain the finding that such institutions have significantly better student success rates, as measured by the share of students who graduate within six years, earn degrees, or complete some other academic program.

Stephen G. Katsinas, a professor of higher education and director of the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, said he suspects that having faculty unions might affect the composition of colleges’ academic work forces, leaving them with larger shares of full-time, not part-time, faculty members than colleges without faculty unions.

Such differences in work-force composition, he said, might help account for differences in student performance, considering that other research has found that being full time leaves faculty members better able to advise students. While saying he needed more time to review the new study’s methodology, Mr. Katsinas said Mr. Cassell “is to be commended for tackling a tough and important topic.”

When universities invest in their faculty, their faculty invest more in their students. 

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