Tuesday, April 11, 2006

UNC Dean Search Makes MSNBC

Not a welcome development!  An excerpt:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is spending millions of dollars less to operate its law school than some of its peers - a financial drawback that has stymied attempts to hire a new dean.

UNC has been forced to reopen its search for a dean after it offered the job to Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, an academic star who said no.

Chemerinsky set off alarm bells, not mincing words in explaining his reason. "I think it's a terrific school, but it's a very underfunded school," he says. "I think any candidate will be concerned over money."

Chemerinsky isn't talking about the dean's salary. In fact, he was happy with the school's "generous" contract offer. What troubled him is the dearth of resources available for necessities such as financial aid, salaries and clinics.

Chemerinsky thinks the financial situation is causing the UNC law school serious problems and that the school needs to raise more money by increasing tuition or by lobbying the General Assembly.

He says the alternative is having to accept not being a top law school.

The law school's budget reveals that the school plans to spend about $15 million in the 2005-06 school year. The school has 39 permanent faculty members, 36 adjunct faculty members and two visiting faculty members.

UNC's law school...has endowed funds totaling $33 million.

Those numbers don't stack up well when compared to law schools at some other public universities.

  • The University of Virginia's law school spends more than $50 million each year and has an endowment of $250 million.
  • The University of Michigan's law school boasts a $60 million budget and has a $252 million endowment.
  • The law school at UCLA has an operating budget of $37 million and an endowment of $44 million.
  • The law school at the University of Georgia has a budget of $19 million and an endowment of $48 million.

I'm surprised, I confess, at how small the UCLA endowment is (it's roughly one-quarter UT Law School's, for example), though given the relative youth of the school, I guess that should not be so surprising. 


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