Faculty members at the University of Toledo are speaking out against the expensive rebooting of UT’s tech business arm in the wake of major budget cuts and a spike in tuition costs.
Last year the university paid over $300,000 — at $1,200 a day — to Rick Stansley, Jr., head of UT Innovation Enterprises (UTIE). This revelation comes at a time when the university has faced multimillion dollar shortfalls year after year, and now faces an estimated $30M to $36M budget gap for fiscal 2014.
After a recent proposal to increase teaching loads for full-time professors, bringing with it larger class sizes and reduced course offerings, some faculty members have expressed concern. “Is providing funding for Rick Stansley’s activities a higher priority than providing the resources for the instructional mission of the university?” poses Mike Dowd, president of the UT Faculty Senate.
Linda Marie Rouillard, vice president of the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors, asks a similar question: “Exactly what has [Stansley] produced, who has benefited, how much revenue has he generated for the university?”
UT President Lloyd Lacobs originally hired Stansley to run UTIE as a paid contract employee. Today he defends his decision, saying that investing in companies to create jobs is now an integral part of the university’s mission, along with educating. Jacobs describes Stansley as “energetic, interested, committed, hard working, smart… has great business sense, and is an entrepreneur himself.
“What he earns for this work,” adds Jacobs, “is pretty much the middle of the road for that type of executive.” It was also stressed that funding for UTIE, which totaled $10M in 2008, would come from “auxiliary sources” like vending machine profits, as opposed to tuition money or student fees.
Under Stansley’s tenure, one start-up company in UTIE’s portfolio — Incenu — has been profitable, and according to Stansley about 35 jobs have been created. UT Trustee William Koester, who also sits on the UTIE board, expects to see a return on the millions the university has invested in UTIE and the companies it has launched. “Before Rick was made the president, [UTIE] floundered and wasn’t doing anything,” says Koester. “Rick has grabbed a hold of it and made things happen.”
Source: Toledo Blade