Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who Matters More, Educators or Administrators?

Educators are being constantly admonishes to cut costs. Funding for conferences is almost impossible to obtain. Library collections don't get updated for years. Some universities remove telephones from professor's offices. In many colleges, teaching faculty have to purchase class supplies with their own money. Many academics buy into this narrative of scarcity and accede to measures that are supposed to save their institutions by cutting corners on vital things. This, of course, is completely silly because all that money we save by depriving our students, ourselves and our universities from crucial education-related materials only goes to feed a growing army of bureaucrats:
 Even at nonprofit schools, top-level administrators and financial managers pull down six- and seven-figure salaries, more on par with their industry counterparts than with their fellow faculty members. And while the proportion of tenure-track teaching faculty has dwindled, the number of managers has skyrocketed in both relative and absolute terms. If current trends continue, the Department of Education estimates that by 2014 there will be more administrators than instructors at American four-year nonprofit colleges. A bigger administration also consumes a larger portion of available funds, so it’s unsurprising that budget shares for instruction and student services have dipped over the past fifteen years.
This is worth being repeated because of how shocking it is: by 2014 there will be more administrators than educators at our nonprofit institutions of higher education. On what planet can this possibly make sense, people? How can we allow even our non-profit universities to become places where a bunch of useless bureaucrats proliferates parasitically by feeding off the hard work of students and teachers? Why are we letting this happen? Why do we sit there like patient dummies while some semi-literate idiot du jour explains to us that we need to drop everything that we are doing and fill out yet another bunch of ridiculous paperwork? Why are we letting these bureaucrats squeeze us out of academia? 


Pagan Topologist said...

My answer to the question in your title is: Teaching faculty. Administrators often call themselves 'educators' for purposes of obfuscation of such questions.

el said...

May be you'll be interested in this article about England's university system: