THE latest health reports say it's good to cut back. Our...

Salmagundi

August 16, 1993

THE latest health reports say it's good to cut back. Our bodies can benefit from cutting back on fat, calorie and cholesterol intake, but if we cut back too much we will lose muscle in addition to unwanted fat.

It seems that American institutions for higher learning have been forced to cut back, too -- to retain their fiscal health. Since the recession began, they have been reducing enrollment as well as faculty -- so much so that the cutbacks could could be affecting the muscles of universities.

"At a time when our global competitiveness is in question and the need for a skilled work force is greater than ever, the appearance of restrictive enrollment policies is a most disturbing trend," says Elaine El-Khawas, vice president and director of American Council on Education's (ACE) Division of Policy Analysis and Research.

ACE recently released its 10th annual survey of changes in academic and administrative practices in American colleges, noting that most of these changes are due to financial problems.

Enrollment cuts and faculty cuts go hand-in-hand. One in four institutions has reduced the number of faculty on campus, usually by not filling vacant positions.

The report notes that women and minorities are being hurt most. The advancement of minorities on faculties has been stagnant since 1990; only 44 percent of universities reported an increase in hiring women, down from 61 percent in 1990.

Losing unwanted fat is a good idea, but at some point dieters have to quit. The same applies to U.S. colleges and universities that have slimmed down since 1990.

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