Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ohio State Has 6.3 Full-Time Non-Teaching Employees for Every One Full-Time Professor

From the NY Times article "Slowly, as Student Debt Rises, Colleges Confront Costs": 

"At a time of diminished state funding for higher education and uncertain federal dollars, Ohio State University president Mr. E. Gordon Gee [MP: Highest paid public-university college president at almost $2 million per year] says that public colleges and universities need to devise a new business model to pay for the costs of education, beyond sticking students with higher tuition and greater debt. 

“The notion that universities can do business the very same way has to stop,” said Mr. Gee, who is also the chairman of a commission studying college attainment, including the impact of student debt.

College presidents across the country are confronting the same realization, trying to manage their institutions with fewer state dollars without sacrificing quality or all-important academic rankings. Tuition increases had been a relatively easy fix but now — with the balance of student debt topping $1 trillion and an increasing number of borrowers struggling to pay — some administrators acknowledge that they cannot keep putting the financial onus on students and their families.

Increasingly, they are looking for other ways to pay for education, stepping up private fund-raising, privatizing services, cutting staff, eliminating departments — even saving millions of dollars by standardizing things like expense forms. 

Colleges can be top-heavy with administrators and woefully inefficient, some critics say, and some have only recently taken a harder look at ways to streamline their operations."

MP: Ohio State University might provide a good example of an institution "top-heavy with administrators" and other full-time non-teaching personnel. 

The chart above displays the number of non-teaching full-time employees at Ohio State, which totaled 21,178 in 2010 including 1,634 Executive/Administrative/Managerial, 11,143 Other Professional (Support/Service), 3,502 Technical and Paraprofessionals, 2,794 Clerical and Secretarial, 602 Skill Crafts and 1,503 Service/Maintenance, according to U.S. Department of Education IPEDS data.  In contrast, Ohio State employed 3,359 full-time faculty in 2010, for a ratio of 6.3 non-instructional full-time employees per one full-time faculty.  

A comparison over time at OSU and a comparison to other institutions would be illustrative, but the 6.30-to-1 ratio documented above would seem prima facie to indicate a high degree of "administrative top-heaviness/bloat."  It's also consistent with documented growth over time in administrative ranks at most public universities, see this CD post and this Goldwater Institute study, "Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education."


27 Comments:

At 5/23/2012 10:01 AM, Blogger rjs said...

you have to know what they do to tell if they're integral or not...

unless you think profs should also clean the toilets...

 
At 5/23/2012 10:08 AM, Blogger john_d said...

Does this count grad students (who do the vast majority of teaching) in either column?

 
At 5/23/2012 10:10 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Does this count grad students (who do the vast majority of teaching) in either column?

No. Grad students aren't full-time. TAs and RAs are financial aid recipients.

you have to know what they do to tell if they're integral or not...

unless you think profs should also clean the toilets...


Maintainers account for 1,503 of those jobs. If you assume each one is necessary, you still have a ratio of 5.9-to-1.

 
At 5/23/2012 10:25 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

That's right, graduate assistants are listed as Part-Time, and there are more of them (4,324) than full-time faculty.

 
At 5/23/2012 10:29 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Oh boy, here we go again.

Ohio State University is a VERY research heavy institution, 7th amongst all public universities in the US.

Secondly, counting all instructional and instructional/research positions at the entire university system, I end up with 5,455.

Third, at the 5 other branches of that university, not the main campus, the are 471 instructional faculty, vs 459 for EVERYONE else.

Fourth, it is only the main campus of the university that has a different distribution. The main campus has 4,604 instructional and research faculty. It also has 4,324 grad assistants.

---------

So again we see that research heavy institutions DO have a different type of composition than institutions focused only on "instruction". Look at the different ratios between the main campus, and the 5 other branches.

Secondly, WHY would a research institution NOT be heavy on...other types of professionals? That's what they do. Their product is not instruction. Since their product is not instruction, WHY should they have more instructors than "others"?

This whole argument makes very little sense to me.

On one side we say that technology has been advancing greatly, and will continue to advance greatly etc etc. On the other hand, we complain that universities are focusing more on research. This is contradicting logic. And it is contradicting logic to say that OSU should somehow scrap its WORLD BEATING research programs, and focus on...instruction.

Anyone can compete on instruction.

Saying that universities should all behave the same and all have the same ratio of faculty to others, FOR NO APPARENT REASON, implies that there ought to be no research focus at universities.

That would be highly undesirable by anybody's measurement.

 
At 5/23/2012 10:32 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Just to clarify things for me, what is the REASON a research heavy institution, should NOT have a higher ratio of "other" types of professionals, to instructional faculty?

Ok, let's take your values. Where's the problem here? Why should it be different? What do you hope to gain? What's the justification that the main campus of OSU should have the same faculty to other ratio as...it's Newark Campus?

 
At 5/23/2012 10:32 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Actually, AIG, doing a quick look at the statistics, this ratio of 6-to-1 is fairly common among multiple state institutions. You have your OSUs and your local state colleges, they see about the same thing.

What we really need is a time series. Otherwise, we're just trying to extrapolate a trend from one data point.

 
At 5/23/2012 10:34 AM, Blogger bart said...

No organization, research based or not, will survive long term if the admin to producers (in this case, teachers) ratio is substantially over 2:1.

They're *extremely* vulnerable to competition.

 
At 5/23/2012 10:35 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Actually, AIG, doing a quick look at the statistics, this ratio of 6-to-1 is fairly common among multiple state institutions. You have your OSUs and your local state colleges, they see about the same thing.

1) No it's not
2) So what? What...SHOULD...it be?

What we really need is a time series. Otherwise, we're just trying to extrapolate a trend from one data point.
What does the "trend" tell us, if we still have no idea what these people do?

 
At 5/23/2012 10:36 AM, Blogger AIG said...

No organization, research based or not, will survive long term if the admin to producers (in this case, teachers) ratio is substantially over 2:1.
1) They're not "admins".
2) Which other research organizations are you comparing with?

 
At 5/23/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger bart said...

They're not "admins".
Bull

 
At 5/23/2012 10:52 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Read the Goldwater study linked.
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."

 
At 5/23/2012 10:55 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Bull
You make an excellent point, Bart.

Actually, AIG, doing a quick look at the statistics, this ratio of 6-to-1 is fairly common among multiple state institutions. You have your OSUs and your local state colleges, they see about the same thing.
If we look at other institutions in Ohio, which are not research-focused institutions, like Bowling Green State, we get 1109 faculty, 873 grad students, and 1403 "all else". That's a ratio of 1.2:1 if we leave out the grad students, or 0.7:1 if we include the grad assistants.

But the focus and product of the two institutions is very different. Why shouldn't the composition be?

 
At 5/23/2012 10:57 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona State University are administrators."

Well, they're lying. Nothing else to say about it. Purely not true. We can get a list of every single individual employed at ASU, and what their job title is.

 
At 5/23/2012 11:05 AM, Blogger Paul said...

AIG,

"Well, they're lying."

http://goldwaterinstitute.org/asu-statement-misses-mark

 
At 5/23/2012 11:06 AM, Blogger bart said...

You make an excellent point, Bart.


Of course I do, it's fact based.

History shows admin ratios substantially over 2:1 mean the institution will fail on the longer term.

Re-defining who is administrative, even in a research based organization, is basically Orwellian.

 
At 5/23/2012 11:47 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

As I suspected, a 6.3-to-1 ratio is a little "off the charts." By comparison, Michigan State has a 3-to-1 ratio, Michigan-Ann Arbor has a 2.24-to-1 ratio, Michigan-Flint has a 1.57-to-1 ratio and Michigan-Dearborn has a 1.36 ratio.

As recently as 2004, the ratio of administrative/professional positions at Michigan-Flint was LESS THAN ONE, i.e. there once upon a recent time, MORE full-time faculty than full-time administrative/professional staff. And if you go back to 2001, the Full-Time Faculty to Full-Time Administrative/Professional Staff was 1.35, i.e. there were 216 full-time faculty vs. 160 full-time administrative/professional staff. In recent years, it reversed and there are now 288 administration/professional positions vs. 270 full-time faculty. Add if you add in the other non-teaching staff, you get up to a ratio of 425 full-time non-teaching positions to 270 full-time teaching, or 1.57-to-1.

 
At 5/23/2012 12:16 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Someone has to take care of the professors and clean up after them.

 
At 5/23/2012 12:34 PM, Blogger bart said...

http://www.nowandfutures.com/grins/g3/job-fails-a-clean-robot-is-a-happy-robot.jpg

 
At 5/23/2012 12:35 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

As I suspected, a 6.3-to-1 ratio is a little "off the charts."

Looks like I was wrong in what I said earlier. Let that be a lesson to you, folks! Never made a pronouncement based on a small sample size.

 
At 5/23/2012 12:40 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

It's too late now. The 19th century German paradigm introduced to the US as "higher education" has committed suicide. Trying to cut back the number of support staff and somehow lower the budget numbers is just as unrealistic as getting the Dept. of Agriculture out of the federal government bouquet. Private sector productivity growth will always be a necessity and people educated to get it done will need to be employed but in the not too distant future they'll come from places other than Ohio State University.

 
At 5/23/2012 2:37 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Trying to cut back the number of support staff and somehow lower the budget numbers is just as unrealistic as getting the Dept. of Agriculture out of the federal government bouquet.

Man, what is with all the pessimism? We talk about the problems we see in our economy or our country, then throw up our hands and say "oh well, c'est la vie." What the Hell is that? That's a cop-out.

"They're too big" you say. "They are too well entrenched. We'll never win." What kind of attitude is that?

Surely for one day we can fight and we can win. We can insist upon the impossible.

We've been a good few hours talking, so I'm going to say what every one is thinking: if we're stuck on this ship and it's sinking, then we might as well have a parade.

If it's still going to hurt in the morning and no one has a better idea, then where's the harm in spending an evening in manning the old barricades?

C'mon, my friends, to the streets! Let's be 1905, but not 1917. Let's be heroes, let's be martyrs, let's be radical thinkers who never have to test drive the least of their dreams!

Let's divide up the world into the damned and the saved, then ride into the valley like the old Light Brigade! Let's straighten our backs and not be afraid; they'll celebrate our deaths with a national parade! C'mon, let's be young! Let's be crass enough to care! Let's make all our mistakes again! And maybe, just maybe, we can achieve the impossible.

 
At 5/23/2012 2:53 PM, Blogger bart said...

http://www.nowandfutures.com/grins/RideOfTheValkyries.mp3

http://www.nowandfutures.com/grins/yeehaaa.wav

-g-

 
At 5/23/2012 2:57 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Lol thanks Bart! Not quite the theme song I had in mind, but close!

 
At 5/23/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Bleyaert said...

I am guessing that OSU has about 50K students. That would equates to one employee per every two students. Can you imagine the service you would receive at, say, a luxury hotel or a high end retailer that had that same ratio of employees to guests/customers?

 
At 5/23/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Bleyaert said...

I am guessing that OSU has about 50K students. That would equates to one employee per every two students. Can you imagine the service you would receive at, say, a luxury hotel or a high end retailer that had that same ratio of employees to guests/customers?

 
At 5/23/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Bleyaert said...

I am guessing that OSU has about 50K students. That would equates to one employee per every two students. Can you imagine the service you would receive at, say, a luxury hotel or a high end retailer that had that same ratio of employees to guests/customers?

 

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