Higher Education and Economic Growth: Recruitment and Retention of Quality Personnel During the Economic Downturn<br />Daniel J. O’Meara<br />Drexel University – Sacramento, CA<br />BUSN 502<br />June 4-5/2010<br />
The financial crises that started in 2007, the worst since World War II, has created financial hardships on American Higher Education. Drops in state tax revenue have resulted in less government spending on education. This budgetary shortfall is affecting how institutions recruit, hire, and retain quality personnel. <br />
American higher education is being deeply affected by the current economic downturn<br />The recession:<br />State and federal budgetary constraints = less public spending on higher education.<br />Education is an investment in human capital which conveys a positive externality.<br />
A Little History<br />Traditional rural revenue streams are either decreasing or being cut altogether.<br />Rural community colleges are facing challenges in how to support existing programs and projects.<br />
The American Rural Community College<br /><ul><li>Rural community colleges are the fastest-growing of all community colleges in the United States (The Chronicle of Higher Education Feb 24, 2010)
Without quality personnel, at all levels, rural community colleges will face considerable problems in providing the program delivery options needed to promote economic opportunity in their communities. </li></li></ul><li>Rural Economy<br /><ul><li>Traditional rural enterprises such as agriculture, mining, and other extraction activities have been on the decline since before the current recession.
Rural community colleges in Arizona are funded from several sources:
(Arizona State Senate, February 16, 2009)</li></li></ul><li>The Knowledge Based Economy<br />Knowledge based activity accounts for half of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Western industrialized countries (Henderson & Abaraham, 2004). <br />The role of rural community colleges in developing the human capital needed to contend with meeting the demands of the knowledge based economy is crucial.<br />Rural community colleges are poised to supply and train this human capital by educating a labor force that could lead to new firms and products. <br />
How Rural Community Colleges Can Contribute<br />The importance of a highly educated workforce for sustained growth is widely acknowledged and as such, rural community colleges play a key role in fueling this growth (Doug Hart; D.W. Livingstone, 2009).<br />
Spillover - The availability of high skilled labor can influence the location of high-knowledge occupations<br />By hiring quality employees, colleges can have an impact on the quality of their graduates by assuring that they learn to high standards. <br />The high quality of a college graduate can affect a college’s standing and benefit the institution through higher ranking, thus increasing its’ enrollment and status. <br />With increased enrollment, business opportunities increase as well. <br />
Difficulties in Recruiting and Retaining Qualified Faculty <br />Lack of cultural, social, shopping, and recreational amenities in rural areas.<br />Poverty in rural areas is exacerbated by the loss of industry and the consequent loss of employment opportunities.<br /><ul><li>Knowledge based activity accounts for half of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Western industrialized countries (Henderson & Abaraham, 2004). </li></li></ul><li>Solutions<br />Develop programs and recruiting materials that give prospective faculty a realistic understanding of the environment in which they will be working in (Murray, Meeting the Needs of New Faculty at Rural Community Colleges, 2005). <br />Enhanced professional development opportunities<br />Improved marketing strategies.<br />It ain’t for everyone but it is for us.<br />
Should education be considered a public good, in that a well educated labor pool could conceivably increase efficiency and produce other important external benefits to include lower unemployment, then by realizing the increased returns on the investment in its’ human capital rural community colleges should carefully budget toward recruitment and retention policies. <br />The expansion of higher education funding and enrollment capacity may be as important as any other policy lever to cope with an economic downturn, including funding for infrastructure (Douglass, 2008).<br />
Conclusion<br /><ul><li>After the student, the most important element in the community college is the faculty (Monroe, 1972).
Rural community colleges are in a bind. The question and eventual solutions to the issue of recruiting, hiring, and retaining quality personnel in an economic downturn are many. It costs money to hire quality personnel. The effects that community colleges have in training skilled workers to meet the demands of the knowledge based economy are critical. Idaho Senator John Goedde says that community colleges are one of the best economic development tools (Goedde). </li></li></ul><li>Sources<br /><ul><li>Doug Hart; D.W. Livingstone. (2009). RisingEducationalExpectations: Trends and Limits in Times of EconomicDownturn. Canadian EducationAssociation , 4-7.
Douglass, J. A. (2008). College vs. Unemployment: Expanding Accesasa to Higher Education Is the Smart Investment During Economic Downturns. Research and Occupational Series: CSHE.21.08 Center For Studies in Higher Education UC Berkley , 1-7.
Goedde, J. (n.d.). From a comment to President Obama's Macomb Community College Speech.
Henderson, J., & Abaraham, B. (2004). Can Rural America Support A Knowledge Economy? Kansas City: Economic Review-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
(2009). Higher Education: The Engine of Economic Opportunity. Boulder.</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>Murray, J. P. (2005). Meeting the Needs of New Faculty at Rural Community Colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice , 215-232.
Murray, J. P. (2007). Recruiting and Retaining Rural Community College Faculty. New Directions For Community Colleges , 57-64.
Phillips, S. (1983). Problems of the rural community college in Florida in providing vocational education (as perceived by administrators in nine community colleges). Tallahassee: ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 242363.</li>