AuthorMarks, Joseph L.
AdvisorLeslie, Larry L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the steady-state 1970's institutional reactions to downturns in enrollment and financial growth were theoretically expected to have damaged the humanities in public two-year colleges. But, at the same time, the humanities were expected to respond, counteracting detrimental consequences. A nationwide sample of public two-year colleges, comprising about fourteen percent of the total was selected for study. Three sets of variables were used. Institutional conditions were measured by four financial and enrollment change variables. Humanities conditions were measured by six financial, enrollment, and staffing variables. Humanities responsiveness was measured by constructing an indicator from seventeen variables representing adaptive responses. Descriptive statistics and canonical correlation analysis results were produced to test the research questions. Insititutional conditions changed substantially, revealing markedly reduced instructional and per student expenditures while overall enrollments and expenditures increased dramatically. Three circumstances appeared to explain these discrepant changes. Institutions probably realized economies of scale through enrollment growth. While expenditures did increase dramatically over inflation, inflation contributed to widening the gap between proportional enrollment and income growth. Increased costs may have resulted from the support service demands of the greatly expanded number of students, and from cost increases due to increased organizational complexity. Probably, as a result of these three influences, per student expenditures declined so markedly. Possibly the impact of inflation, increased support service costs, and complexity costs, reduced severely the potential for cost savings through economies of scale and as a result the growth of the 1970's brought financial strain, which would be expected to heighten pressures on the humanities. Humanities conditions, however, appeared suprisingly strong. Enrollments and FTE faculty increases were observed. The enrollment share declined while the FTE faculty proportion remained stable. On institutional comparative measure the humanities full-time to part-time faculty ratio increased while the humanities student to faculty ratio decreased. Thus, compared to changes in conditions outside the humanities, the humanities had enrollment growth coupled with increased full-time faculty that resulted in favorable, from the standpoint of quality, instructional conditions. However, from the standpoint of relative costs, humanities conditions may be unfavorable. The humanities FTE faculty share was stable while they served proportionally fewer students. Also, the relatively increasing proportion of full-time faculty is relatively more costly to support than the relatively decreasing proportion outside the humanities. Finally, the relatively decreasing class size is relatively more costly than the relatively increasing class size outside the humanities. Paradoxically the humanities appeared strong at the same time unfavorable cost comparisons and possibly strained institutional conditions were emerging. This paradox may be explained by the principle that incrementally earned support shares are maintained by strong inertial forces and that humanities courses are an integral, and historically central, part of the two-year college curriculum. Possibly the degree of humanities responsiveness, which appeared low, was partially responsible for the strong showing of the humanities. The hypothesis that institutional reactions to changing financial and enrollment conditions would be clearly damaging to the humanities was not supported. However, given the eroding enrollment share base in the humanities and the relatively increasing costs in the humanities, detrimental consequences may not be too far over the horizon. With the apparently strong inertial forces promoting the maintenance of the humanities and rededicated efforts to respond to the threatening forces, the humanities in public two-year colleges can probably be maintained and enhanced.
Degree ProgramGraduate College