Week 3

By Adrianna

For me, it was easier to engage with the 2023 CUNY document than the 2021 version. I guess that has to do with the intended audience. One is advocating for the institution and requesting money from funders while the other is simply a financial audit. I noticed how funds are not distributed equitably between senior and community colleges. In particular, I’m curious to know the reason behind why there is more full time faculty allotted to senior colleges while community colleges still have many adjuncts. Another thing that stood out was that most of the money comes from the State and the students. This made me question how come is the city (and perhaps the federal government) not as involved in supporting senior colleges? Their involvement could potentially ease the burden of tuition for many students (considering that many CUNY students come from underprivileged backgrounds).

The line that gave me the most to think about when reading the 2023 document was in the Student Success section under Graduate Success. It reads, “The University will also invest additional funds for doctoral stipends to remain competitive nationally by ensuring our PhD graduate-level students are compensated to meet their living and academic-related expenses while they complete their studies” (4). Unfortunately, our funds are not enough. I understand that the university is only a “middleman” between the funders and us. However, after reading the Teagle document I wonder how would things look like if funds were distributed differently.

I’d like to hear thoughts on the 2021 version and what others made of the comparison. Also, I’d like to know about your experiences with the payroll website.

4 thoughts on “Week 3

  1. Jen Hoyer (she/her)

    Adrianna, you sent me down a rabbit hole of CUNY funding history that I’ve always taken for granted but didn’t know all the details on. The PSC CUNY website spells out the breakdown between state and city funding (https://psc-cuny.org/cunys-funding-sources/), but the CUNY History LibGuide is also super useful (https://libguides.gc.cuny.edu/cuny-history). But as far as I can tell, in a nutshell: the community colleges were initially an initiative of the NYC Board of Education (even though some state money and a lot of state planning went into them), and so the state legislation that paved the way for them back in the late 1940s laid out the funding formula of the state only paying 1/3 of operating funds, with the local government + tuition making up the difference (that’s on page 50 of this thesis: http://ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/transformation-city-university-new-york-1945-1970/docview/302751597/se-2?accountid=7287). The senior colleges don’t fall under that same legislation, and so I guess…here we are :-/

    In terms of my experience with the payroll website: while working at CUNY, I have to admit that I haven’t used it much because I’ve found other sources — like the union website — to be just as transparent and easier to use. But when I worked at the public library, there was a lot less transparency overall — from the union and from HR — and so having access to SeeThroughNY was really important as a tool for helping us advocate for ourselves as employees. It’s not a perfect website at all, but I’ve definitely appreciated having access to the information.

  2. Sean Patrick Palmer

    I did my first master’s at the University of Illinois, and I have friends who have done graduate work at various universities across the country, and one thing they all have in common is that grad students are never funded enough.

    At Illinois, my research assistant position came with a tuition/service fee waiver and a stipend of $700/month. Good luck surviving on that.

    A friend at Michigan was given a scholarship for $10,000 and was told that should be enough to last two years.

    In terms of budgeting, grad students always get the short end of the stick.

  3. Katina Rogers (she/her)

    Adrianna, thanks for these questions and comments. It’s so interesting to me that a document outlining “what we want” (as an institution) is so much easier to read than a document that actually reports on what was done—and you’re right that intended audience (and desired outcomes) are a big reason why.

    Your question about faculty reminded me of another resource that I’m now having a hard time tracking down: a searchable aggregate database of CUNY students, faculty, and staff that shows demographic categories (as reported to the institution) and employment category. I can’t find it anymore, which is interesting in itself; it used to live here: https://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/oira/includes/cuny-interactive-factbook/.

    I do see other resources through the OIRA page, including a student factbook (https://insights.cuny.edu/t/CUNYGuest/views/StudentDataBook/Enrollment?%3Aembed=y&%3AisGuestRedirectFromVizportal=y) and static reports on workforce (https://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/hr/recruitment-diversity/statistics-and-reports/).

    But the bottom line is that you are right to pick up on patterns of employment at the community colleges / senior colleges / GC. What also becomes apparent in the data that I can’t find is that the demographics also change as you move “up” this academic hierarchy, with the GC being on average whiter and more male than the senior colleges or, in turn, the community colleges. Whose work is prioritized and supported? Which students benefit? All good questions to ask.

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