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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The New Administratively Centered University: Administrative Bloat At UT and Elsewhere

Apparently some animals are more equal than others when it comes to improving the human condition.

Below please find a summary of a report on Administrative Bloat as the real reason behind high costs at American universities.  You might wish to consider this in light of such facts as the UT Strategic Organization Committee proposal that is being rammed down our collective throat along with the multiple layers of  new high level administrator bureaucrat positions it creates; and the arbitrary $100 fee that is now being charged to Communication majors that goes to the general fund; and the $130 fee that new students are forced to take for so called orientation classes; and the perpetual administrative bonuses for friends of Jake; and so forth and so forth. 

You can use the links  provided to access the report itself. 

Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education

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Enrollment at America’s leading universities has been increasing dramatically, rising 

nearly 15 percent between 1993 and 2007. But unlike almost every other growing 

industry, higher education has not become more efficient. Instead, universities now 

have more administrative employees and spend more on administration to educate 

each student. In short, universities are suffering from “administrative bloat,” 

expanding the resources devoted to administration significantly faster than 

spending on instruction, research and service.

Between 1993 and 2007, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students

 at America’s leading universities grew by 39 percent, while the number 

of employees engaged in teaching, research or service only grew by 18 percent. 

Inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student increased by 61 

percent during the same period, while instructional spending per student

 rose 39 percent. Arizona State University, for example, increased the number 

of administrators per 100 students by 94 percent during this period while 

actually reducing the number of employees engaged in instruction, research

 and service by 2 percent. Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona 

State University are administrators.

A significant reason for the administrative bloat is that students pay only a 

small portion of administrative costs. The lion’s share of university resources

 comes from the federal and state governments, as well as private gifts and 

fees for non-educational services. The large and increasing rate of government 

subsidy for higher education facilitates administrative bloat by insulating students 

from the costs. Reducing government subsidies would do much to make 

universities more efficient.

We base our conclusions on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education

 Data System (IPEDS), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Higher education institutions report basic information about enrollment, 

employment and spending in various categories to IPEDS, which then makes 

this systematically collected information publicly available. In this report, we 

focus on the 198 leading universities in the United States. They are the ones

 in IPEDS identified as four year colleges that also grant doctorates and engage

 in a high or very high level of research. This set includes all state flagship 

public universities as well as elite private institutions.

Read Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education here

Read Appendix B here

Media Coverage of Administrative Bloat in American Universities

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Anonymous said...

Oh well, you all complain about Big Jake, but don't you realize that now UT is ranked 13th in a national ranking, and this due to the hard work of Big Jake & Co.? We are 13th in the nation for administrative bloat!!! YEAHHH! CHEER UP! (See Appendix B).

Finally something to be proud of. And guess what, we are even ahead of our role model, the queen of sustainability called ASU! YEAAAH!

Not to mention that very BAAAAD school like MIT and University of Michigan have been put rightly at the bottom, around position 190th for having reduced the number of sacred administrative gods. For instance MIT reduced the number of administrative super-humans by a scandalous 44%, while at the same time it hired 340% more people for instruction, research and service, BAAAD MIT, very BAAAAD! According to our senior administrators and BOT, MIT will NEVER EVER reach tier one if it continues like this. Certainly it will never reach tier one in administrative bloat.
But wait, one of the goals of this administration was to make UT a tier one institution, but they did not specify by which standards. So YEAAHHHA! we are ALREADY tier one now!!! CHEERS!!! CELEBRATIONS! Tier one in administrative bloat, among the top 15th in the country.

For sure we can not say anymore that UT is not among the first institutions in the country AT LEAST for something. So let's thank BIG JAKE and send him our most heartfelt apologizes for failing to recognize his administrative greatness.

New Faculty said...

The UT president says that some people are getting in the way of improving the human condition. How else can you interpret the following broadcast sent out Friday August 27?


AFSCME members are valued and important colleagues, who are essential to our
mission of improving the human condition.

This evening, during a special meeting of The University of Toledo Board of
Trustees, members voted to reject a fact-finders report that outlined one
potential option for a new collective bargaining agreement. However, citing
concerns about a lack of clarity in the report, the board felt it best to
return to the bargaining table and negotiate further.

It is a well documented, fact that these are challenging times for hospitals
and higher education. Only by putting aside our differences and finding a
mutually beneficial agreement can we hope to fulfill our mission of
improving the human condition.

Now more than ever, our patients are seeking the highest quality healthcare
and safety standards. We must arrive at an agreement that enables us to
continue forward with our mission of improving the human condition, without
sacrificing the promise that only university quality care can deliver.


Lloyd A. Jacobs, MD
The University of Toledo

Anonymous said...

It's the very thinking of the administration and the BOT that has destroyed our nation. Shit can workers, the middle-class, outsource this, offshore that, cut here, skrimp there, put more on the little guy, make him more fearful for losing his job....and because WE the adminstrators did such a wonderful job at this, let's pat ourselves on the back and give ourselves a big round of bonuses and raises and a celebration at some nice and expensive restaurant on UT's tab.

Anonymous said...

How is it even possible for the Committee of 12 to propose such comprehensive and sweeping organizational changes to CAS and to then literally hide from any accountability and avoid any direct meetings or formal explanations or Q&A whatsoever with their colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences?

Especially given that serious questions have been raised and such a meeting between A&S faculty and the CSO has been specifically requested.

Are not certain formal academic protocols legally required?

Many of the 12 CSO members are tenured CAS faculty.

Do these 12 CSO members consider their colleagues in CAS to be beneath contempt and unworthy of any collegial respect or consideration whatsoever?

Do none of them have the integrity and common decency to stand before their CAS collegues and explain the CSO's proposed reorganization of the CAS?

umbraged said...

I don't think there are many, but have any of The 12 who are also on A&S Council even attended Council meetings since this started? And if not, why not? (I don't recall hearing anything to the effect that they shouldn't go to Council meetings for the duration of this process.)

Anonymous said...

Many of you saw the recent letter that President Jacobs sent out regarding the BOT rejecting the fact finder's report regarding AFSCME negotiations. Apparently, the fact finder recommended that salaries be increased for AFSCME members something of the order of 5% over the next three years, in other words, less than 2% per year. President Jacobs and the BOT gave the administration a raise of 7% for this year. The rich are getting richer while the poor, poorer. Our bloated administration is not only growing in numbers but also in the costs of the positions!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, actually if you read the article, people in ASCFME would be what the author considers bloat. According to the author, everyone who isn't faculty is an administrator. I'm not sure using that broad a brush is the way to go. I wouldn't call CWA, ASCFME, or the police union administration, nor are the majority of PSA folks. The broader the brush, the easier to paint, but often the less precise and accurate the criticisms.

Anonymous said...

Some might be, but it appears more to focus on what are typically considered administrators. Even if administration is loosely defined, your "broad brush," the universities with more administrators are still going to be ranked higher because this is a relativistic assessment of proportions, i.e., a ranking. Try to interpret it how you will, but being in the top tier here is no educational accomplishment and less than desireable.

Anonymous said...

Directly from the document:

'The “Administration” column in the
following employment figures consists of the IPEDS categories of “Administration/Executive” and “Other Professionals,” defined by IPEDS as “persons employed for the primary purpose of performing
academic support, student service, and institutional support"'

We suffer from Administrative / Executive bloat. The Reorganization Plan proposed would further increase that bloat. "Administrative/Executive" positions have been granted salary increases that at least double the raises given in other categories.

Obfuscate, BS, mis-inform, lie or do what ever you will to hide the truth, this university is going broke solely because of our administrators and for no other reason. Their pet projects, their bonuses and their salaries prevent the University of Toledo from becoming a better university for students. It also has directly to fear and low morale.

These are hard times made harder by the unbridled greed of the Administration. They are unempathetic and unsympathetic to the lower paid but far more productive people on this campus.

Anonymous said...

10:22 Anon, either you did not read the article or you are directly attempting to engage in disinformation. The article clearly spells out what it defines as administration, and clearly neither AFSCME nor CWA employees fit into these categories. Read what it specifically says:

"Th e “Administration” column in the
following employment fi gures consists of
the IPEDS categories of “Administration/
Executive” and “Other Professionals,”
defined by IPEDS as “persons employed
for the primary purpose of performing
academic support, student service, and
institutional support…. Included in this
category are all employees holding titles
such as business operations specialists;
buyers and purchasing agents; human
resources, training, and labor relations
specialists; management analysts; meeting
and convention planners; miscellaneous
business operations specialists; financial
specialists; accountants and auditors;
budget analysts; fi nancial analysts and
advisors; fi nancial examiners; loan
counselors and offi cers; [etc.].”

None of the CWA or AFSCME employees I know fit into the categories in the study.

In fact, the ranks of the CWA have been very sharply thinned out over the years. Also, their rates of pay have not even kept up with inflation, especially if you consider the increasingly higher costs for health care that the administration has saddled them with. Please do not try to lump AFSCME and CWA as being included as "administrators" in this study, it is a gross error because along with the faculty, these employees have born the brunt of the "administration" excesses.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's not true. If you cut admins down to say $150K each, what some of the top professors make, that'd get you what, maybe 10 million dollars? It's a lot of money, absolutely, but certainly not enough to cure all or even most of the university's ills.

It's terrible symbolism and I agree with you on the lack of sympathy and empathy, but there's just not enough money there for what you're claiming. And the university isn't going broke; the budget is balanced every year. In fact that's the issue and the main reason for the layoffs. I know you're speaking emotionally, but unless you speak the language of business that they understand, you'll not get their attention.

And the original point I was trying to make was how the author says at ASU there are more administrators than faculty. The only way for that to be true is for every support staff person to be called an administrator. There's no possible way that ASU could have some 2000-plus (or however many faculty they have) executive administrators. That's all I meant. You don't need to call everyone a liar. I agree with 90 % of what you're saying...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:19: Cutting down the number of administrators, the amount of their salaries and their pet projects such as the "Alternative Energy School" which duplicates talents in Engineering and A&S, and the STIE which should not be a University Function, you will get a lot more than just $10 million. I don't know the numbers but I would estimate at least four to six times the $10 million that you estimated.

I am not calling you, per se, a liar but there several on campus that do lie about where the money is and what it is being spent on! If the shoe fits, wear it!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:19: You suggest that that top professors get $150K per year. That is a obfuscation!. In certain Departs and in the College of Medicine, that is true: they make even more. But in most Colleges, the top professors are no where near $150K.

But more to the point, the key conclusion from the report is, verbatim,

"Universities are suffering from administrative bloat. Higher education has been adding more administrative employees and spending more on administration per student, and increases in administrative employment and spending far exceed those in instruction, research and service. This trend is especially egregious because as universities increase their enrollments, one would expect that administrative costs per student would go down. The relatively fixed cost of administering a university should be spread over a larger base of students."

Anonymous said...

$40 to $60 million based on what? For my $10 million figure I looked at the various VPs and the president and lopped off the extra from $150K.

Anonymous said...

How is it obfuscation when in the same sentence you agree that I'm correct? The top earning professors make about $150K. I didn't say it was good or bad or that they deserved it or didn't deserve it. I stated it because it is true and in your rebuttal to me you agree it is true but somehow that's me obfuscating?

To obfuscate is to deliberately confuse. If you and I agree on the same facts to be true - that the top earning professors make about 150K - how can that be deliberately confusing?

The only point I was making is also taken verbatim for the report:

"Arizona State University, for example, increased the number of administrators per 100 students by 94 percent during this period while actually reducing the number of employees engaged in instruction, research and service by 2 percent. Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona State University are administrators."

If half of all full-time employees are administrators, that can only be true if you assume the support staff from janitors all the way up to the president are all defined as administrators.

I'm baffled how you can state you agree on the salary figure I mentioned then say that by mentioning it it is obfuscation. No where did I claim that most faculty make that - I would guess most faculty make between 60K and 80K. But senior administrators will always make more than most other people and matching their salaries to the salaries of those few top-earning faculty seemed a reasonable compromise for what is a hypothetical argument in any case.

Are we unable to talk even as we agree on most of what we're saying?

Anonymous said...

And higher education is now quoting the Cato Institute to make its points? Cato make Ann Coulter seem liberal.

Anonymous said...

150K isn't a bad guess at a maximum, but if you look at the Blade's list of salaries you'll see plenty o main campus profs making at least that.

Anonymous said...

On the Blade listing, if you go to the job title "professor" and click between 100K and 200K, you get 322 names. There are a number who also serve as chairs or in other administrative roles, but there are probably 30-40 that are just in a professorial role. I didn't look at assoc. profs. No comment good or bad.

Anonymous said...

The Blade listing for me makes it seems as if I earn $10K more than I do annually because of an retroactive adjustment to make up for the previous year.

And I only earn about $80K and that assumes I am able to earn extra by teaching summer, if classes are available. So where all these 150K professors may be I have no idea, but they aren't in my department nor in the department down the hall.

Plus professors, unlike administrators, actually bring in money by teaching . I more than compensate for my salary plus any indirect costs plus some on top of that. Not so with all these administrators--who suck up the money for themselves and who also spend it on questionable projects to build their resumes--and who then blame faculty for costing too much.

Anonymous said...

Where's the Blade listing? I can't find it. Thanks!