Friday, January 27, 2012

What Obama Won't Mention Today in Michigan: Campus Has 53% More Administrators Than Faculty

From an open letter to President Obama on December 16, 2011 from University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman:

"Higher education is a public good currently lacking public support. There is no stronger trigger for rising costs at public universities and colleges than declining state support."

According to the Washington Post, "President Barack Obama will announce a plan to shift some federal dollars away from colleges and universities that don’t control tuition costs and new competitions in higher education to encourage efficiency as part of an effort to contain soaring college costs. Obama will spell out his plans Friday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor."

One issue that will probably not receive a lot of attention today from either President Obama or President Coleman is the contribution of rising administrative positions and salaries to the rising cost of college tuition.  For example:

1. According to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education (also available from IPEDS), the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has 53% more full-time "administrators and professionals" (9,652) than full-time faculty (6,305), or a ratio of 1.53 administrative and professional positions for every full-time faculty member.  Couldn't those administrative/professional expenses have something to do with rising tuition?

2. In a front page article on March 27, 2011, the Detroit Free Press reported that:

"Michigan public universities increased their spending on administrative positions by nearly 30% on average in the last five years, even as university leaders say they've slashed expenses to keep college affordable for families. The number of administrative jobs grew 19% over that period at the state's public universities, according to data submitted by the schools to the state budget office.

The increases took place from the 2005-06 school year through 2009-10 -- a period in which both student enrollment and state funding of universities remained about the same, state data show. The higher administrative costs were slightly exceeded by tuition hikes over this period."

3. From this Detroit Free Press database that accompanied the article above, administrative salaries at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor increased by almost 27% in the five-year period between 2005-2006 and  2009-2010, compared to an 18.2% increase in faculty pay during the same period.   

4. From a related March 13, 2011 story in the Flint Journal:

"The University of Michigan-Flint’s administrative ranks has grown the fastest among the 15 public universities in the state, according to figures from the Michigan Higher Education Institutional Data Inventory released earlier this year. The data showed that the percentage growth in full time administrative and professional staff positions swelled 74 percent between 2005 and 2009, although the percent of administrative positions on campus remains average compared to other universities.

As the number of deans, associate deans and program directors grew at the Flint campus over the last five years, so have administrative paychecks. Six-figure salaries more than doubled on campus since 2006, according to the newest faculty and staff salary information recently released by UM. Nearly 50 of the roughly 1,000 employees made $100,000 or more at UM-Flint, compared to about 20 four years earlier."

5. It's not just Michigan universities that have added administrators, it's a national phenomenon, here's a story from a few years ago about the growth in administrative positions in the University of North Carolina system.

Update 1: According to IPEDS data from the U.S. Department of Education, here are the headcounts for the Univeristy of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2010 (most recent year available):

Full Time Faculty: 5,693
Full Time Executive/Managerial: 1,711
Full Time Professionals: 6,772
Total Executive/Managerial/Professional: 8,483

Therefore, in 2010, there were 49% more full-time administrative/professional staff than full-time faculty.

Update 2: Examples of positions in the Executive/Managerial category include: Deans (including Associates and Assistants), Program Directors, Office Managers, Supervisors, Registrar, Provost, President, Chancellor, Vice-Chancellors, etc.

Positions in the Professional category include Coordinators, Trainers, Graphic Artist, Program Manager, Analyst, Benefits Representative, Accountant, Associate Librarian, Financial Aid Administrator, Major Gifts Officer, Counselor, etc.  


At 1/27/2012 9:56 AM, Blogger juandos said...

What do all these college administrators do?

At 1/27/2012 10:08 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: "what do all those admins do"?

count money, of course! and figure out how to spend it!

Ron Paul said something last night that I agree with.

He said that when you have policies to make it easier to get money for college - it increases the price more than it increases access.

Given the fact that the chances of taking all incentives off the table are snowball in hell .. the Prez heart is in the right place but I can just imagine what a game his plan will cause.

The Colleges will hire teams of people whose job it is to "adjust" the colleges numbers so that they continue to suck on the govt teat at the 100% level.

Colleges and Universities in the US are basically giant sucking scams for poor suckers trying to get into them.

But these folks are also to blame for this... they and their kids want to get a degree from a major branded college/university, preferably one that is big, big, big in College Sports.

the Universities know this.. crank up the costs.. the parents/kids complain that college is becoming "unaffordable" and lobby their elected officials and VOILA.. you can borrow all the money you ever wanted... with interest of course and the universities love it the same way that payday loan companies love their businesses.

At 1/27/2012 10:17 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Student-Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Cards

At 1/27/2012 10:34 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

He said that when you have policies to make it easier to get money for college - it increases the price more than it increases access.

Absolutely right, Larry. Whenever the price system is distorted like this, this outcome is the predictable result.

At 1/27/2012 10:43 AM, Blogger juandos said...

From the American blog: Colleges are the effective originators, the promoters, and the chief financial beneficiaries of student loans...

At 1/27/2012 10:50 AM, Blogger AIG said...

"Colleges and Universities in the US are basically giant sucking scams for poor suckers trying to get into them."

Oh God, not another one of these! Don't let the facts distort your point of view. Facts are for them college folks.

Of course there is one tiny "error" (?) in the numbers given here. 53% administrators...AND professionals. So who/what are these "professionals"? I've never heard of a university that consists entirely of administrators and faculty. Somewhere in there, there's maintenance folks, cafeteria workers, janitorial staff etc etc. So of this 53%, are they all "administrators", or is this number counting (as it almost certainly does), all support staff in a college?

If the latter is true, than its disingenuous to say "53% are administrators". They most certainly aren't. Some of them may be people who do...administrative work, ie secretaries, TAs etc. But I'd bet most of them are "support staff" of various non-administrative related activities.

Now, its entirely a different issue to question why this number has increased. There's many reasons why that could have happened.

At 1/27/2012 11:14 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

too bad these organizations can't go through bankruptcy and cut the dead weight

At 1/27/2012 11:22 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

I would venture to argue that the chief reason for insane increases in college tuition is that tuition increases are inevitably justified not by increases in cost or loss of funding but by comparison to other states.

In any location where they are below the median amount, these days, that fact is generally cited as justification for raising tuition.

So -- hypothetically -- if, say, Michigan's tuition place the state 43rd out of 50, while Georgia's place them 30th out of 50, and Kansas' are 26th out of 50 -- then they each raise their tuition. So Michigan bounces to 33rd, Georgia bounces to 23rd, and Kansas to 15th.

Suddenly, Iowa (24th) is now 26th, Tennessee (28th) is now 30th, and Utah (31st) is now 33rd. Nothing has changed... but now they start agitating for a tuition increase.

It's a vicious, ratcheting cycle and I argue it's at least partly, if not completely, responsible for why tuition has been rising far faster than inflation for the last 30-odd years.

At 1/27/2012 11:49 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I think there are many reasons for increasing costs for college, and some of them realistic. As technology becomes more complex, so do classrooms and labs. Dormitories have to be heated and run electricity. The need for campus police.

However, this artificial demand for higher education isn't helping either. The subsidies and government-sponsored loans going towards education are terrifyingly similar to those that fueled the housing bubble.

Mark my words, ladies and gentlemen: this is a bubble. When the bubble bursts, it will be ugly. The ranks of OWS (or, as I imagine it will be called then, Occupy Campus) will swell with people who got a raw deal from the very people claiming to help them: government. Taxpayers will be hosed once again. It's like watching it in slow motion.

At 1/27/2012 12:01 PM, Blogger Tom said...

It seems that colleges, like K-12 government schools, have priced themselves to death. They are ripe for competition to come eat their lunch. If only there were some enterprising people left in academia who could and would mount a challenge.

At 1/27/2012 12:05 PM, Blogger AIG said... after going to the UM site which lists all the employees and salaries of UM Ann Arbor, there is only 1 conclusion one can reach:

The figures given here are a gross misrepresentation of reality.

Here is why:

1- UM Ann Arbor has 41,104 people employed in it.

2- UM Ann Arbor is the home of UMH, University of Michigan Health Systems, which employs 14,133 people (not counting the medical schools faculty or various other medical departments)

3- There are literally tens of thousands of nurses, medical technicians, clinical specialists, clinical researchers etc etc in this pool.

4 - There are 760 CUSTODIANS

5- There are 114 cooks


IE...the lesson: 53% is NOT ADMINISTRATIVE. 53% is only what is left over after the "faculty" is counted. Of this 53%, the VAST MAJORITY are medical professionals working at the hospital, or associated with the hospital in various ways.

This is why it is very important to look at the data and not try to summarize it in a simple tiny graph to appeal to the folks who say that "college is overrated and a scam".


We are looking at a UNIQUE example here which has a very specific circumstance.

At 1/27/2012 12:06 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

If only there were some enterprising people left in academia who could and would mount a challenge.

Well, you do have the for-profit schools, like University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Hesser College, Kaplan Career Institute.

At 1/27/2012 12:08 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

We are looking at a UNIQUE example here which has a very specific circumstance.

But it's not unique. Look at the UNC article linked at the bottom of the post.

The figures given here are a gross misrepresentation of reality.

Incorrect conclusion. Re-read the original post and the linked articles.

At 1/27/2012 12:11 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Dr Perry is very perceptive when discussing campus administration--and all public agencies. They get fatter all the time, usually at the top, from the Department of Defense, to the USDA, to HUD, Labor Department, the Los Angeles Police Department.

All public pensions have to be eliminated. All of them, from US military to the local dogcatcher. They are time bombs for taxpayers.

At 1/27/2012 12:14 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Let's look at the University of Michigan Organization Chart.

If one is considered a minority, then what specialized office might be in contact with you at Michigan?





Or, what about sustainability?


Does anyone think that any of these offices and their administrative staffs, will be reduced or eliminated?

At 1/27/2012 12:25 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

They get fatter all the time...

The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

At 1/27/2012 12:30 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

AIG: I have a link to the data source for my chart, which is the Chronicle of Higher Education website. I'll try to find other data as well.

At 1/27/2012 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of administrators are doing the jobs that faculty used to do.

The upward trend toward part-time faculty and giving tasks to the technology and process-oriented positions (administration) is forecasted to continue as educational delivery models change. Your next college class might be delivered by cell phone or a mobile classroom that travels in a region for occasional face-to-face contact meetings from online courses. The college classroom might be parked behind the mobile food truck for one-stop shopping.

At 1/27/2012 12:47 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Here's another office (large) that deals with minority issues of the majority (women).


The center sponsors Women of Color Task Force.

The Women of Color Task Force will be holding its annual conference in March and: " the largest professional development event at the University of Michigan".

At 1/27/2012 12:51 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

there are quite a few good bricks & mortar places that are quite reasonable but they are not well known, do not have big time sports and in general focus on core academics.

there is still a ton of demand for the higher dollar places as long as student loans are easily available.

Take away the student loans except for those who are at poverty level and see what happens.

Higher Ed along with the corruptible influence of big time sports has turned into a money-eating monster; you know there are problems when the debt for college loans exceeds credit card debt.

At 1/27/2012 1:01 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


one of the other reasons that tuition at schools spikes so aggressively is that tuition at schools spikes so aggressively.

it's a little counter intuitive, but here's how it works:

price goes up. fewer people can afford to pay the rate. schools offer more scholarships as a result. this drives price up. so you need yet more scholarships and the ones you already offer become more expensive. lather, rinse, repeat.

the irony is that without such scholarships, you would not need so many scholarships.

i am still pretty close with my high school. it was $15k/year when i graduated in 1990. it's now $47k.

much of this has been driven by a scholarship/tuition spiral.

this has some unfortunate effects on the student body.

it tends to barbell the students by income. the rich can afford to pay and the poor can get scholarships, but the middle class is just screwed. they do not qualify for aid, but trying to pay $47k a year with after tax dollars is pretty rough if you earn $65 or even 100k.

starting college $200k in debt is pretty rough too.

it's yet another of these well intentioned policies that is having serious negative effects.

At 1/27/2012 1:04 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"AIG: I have a link to the data source for my chart, which is the Chronicle of Higher Education website. I'll try to find other data as well."

I have no doubt. The issue is what is "administration". From What I can see, UM Ann Arbor certainly does not have 53% "administration".

- 34% of the staff works at the hospital. Almost none are "faculty", but certainly a majority are medical professionals of various types.

- Just looking at the medical schools in the university (not part of the 34% above), there are 11,176 people employed by the various medical schools; 27% of total staff (ie the total medical-related staff in the school is 61%)

- Majority, or a very large % of people employed in the medical schools are not faculty, but are various types of researchers

- I'd assume a very large % of that 53% are various types of researchers, given that UM Ann Arbor is a intensively focused on research

- If we remove the 34% that works at UMH, of the remaining people, 2756 work at various miscellaneous jobs such as maintainace, facilities, ground keeping, security, housing and dining, child well as things like library and athletics.

- This represents 7% of the total work force, or 10% of the work force minus UMH. Just miscellaneous jobs like these.

- So the unique situation here is that UM Ann Arbor is more hospital than school. hospitals clearly have a very different type of structure, and are more "administrative" heavy. There are, for example, about 1,562 "administrative assistants" in the medical side.

- The growth in the "non faculty" staff over this decade, and the growth in salary, is what one has observed more readily in the medical field. Its not necessarily related to the educational field.

- But ultimately it is not realistic to say that 53% of the school is made up of "administrators". The majority of those 53%, are not administrators.

The data I used is here:

PS: Please don't get me wrong. I love that you bring such things to light.

At 1/27/2012 1:06 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Well, you do have the for-profit schools, like University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Hesser College, Kaplan Career Institute."

Yes they have been around for 10 years. What is the result? What do you think the result has been?

At 1/27/2012 1:08 PM, Blogger Paul said...

The Center for College Affordability studied the Univ of Texas and found "...if the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach just half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, and if the savings were dedicated to tuition reduction, tuition could be cut by more than half (or, alternatively, state appropriations could be reduced even more—by as much as 75 percent). Moreover, other data suggest a strategy of reemphasizing the importance of the undergraduate teaching function can be done without importantly reducing outside research funding or productivity."

The study is here.

Other findings:

20 percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours. They also generate 18 percent of the campus’s research funding. This suggests that these faculty are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility.
 Conversely, the least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do other faculty segments.
 Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty; only 2 percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research.
 Non-tenured track faculty teach a majority of undergraduate enrollments and a surprising 31 percent of graduate enrollments.
 The most active researchers teach nearly the average of all faculty; increasing teaching loads of others would trivially impact outside research support.

At 1/27/2012 1:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


if you really want to see tuition levels explode, check out obama's new proposed policy for student loans.

he is looking to cap student loan payments at 10% of discretionary income for 20 years and then would write off any remaining balance entirely.

so, if you earn 100k and pay 30k in taxes, you have $70k in DI.

10% is 7k. 7k X 20 years = $140k max payment.

that is already well under what you would pay for 4 years at many universities. my alma mater is $53k a year.

but if i know i will have my payments capped at $140k, what the hell do i care what it costs? they could charge $200k a year and it would be all the same to me.

and note that 100k is almost twice us median income.

for an average american 10% of 41k of DI on 51k of income is $4100/year or a max of 82k.

thus, any fees over $20,500 a year for a 4 year college are going to be irrelevant to the median earner.

it would create medicaid type problems in student lending and wind up creating some of the largest debt write offs in us history. this is freddy and fannie part 2: this time it's deliberate.

At 1/27/2012 1:37 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

AIG: The salary database at your link has more than 43,000 lines, although some employees appear on multiple lines, so the data might represent about 35,000 individuals or more.

The data in my chart shows about 17,000 employees, which might be the number associated directly with the academic activities at UM, and not the medical school, etc., since the data came from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Note also that the Chronicle has comparable data for hundreds of universities, and reports the headcount numbers for: a) administrators and professionals vs. b) full-time and part-time faculty.

And I'm not saying the administrators are 53% of the employees, I'm saying that the number of administrators (9,652) is 53% MORE than the number of full-time faculty (6,305).

At 1/27/2012 1:45 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Yes, the increase in administrative costs are disturbing, especially so because they are borne by the taxpayers at a time when the nations economy and fiscal situation is so precarious. But instead of just complaining about the attendant causes relative to the increasing cost of higher education, perhaps, we should be seriously reconsidering higher educations actual value to society. Yes, training in the STEM fields are crucially important to our future, but what about the rest?:

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) has unearthed what I think is the single most scandalous statistic in higher education. It reveals many current problems and ones that will grow enormously as policymakers mindlessly push enrollment expansion amidst what must become greater public-sector resource limits.

Here it is: approximately 60 percent of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in jobs that the BLS considers relatively low skilled—occupations where many participants have only high school diplomas and often even less. Only a minority of the increment in our nation’s stock of college graduates is filling jobs historically considered as requiring a bachelor’s degree or more. ...

The data suggest a horrible decline in the productivity of American education in that the “inputs” used to achieve any given human capital (occupational) outcome have expanded enormously. More simply, it takes 18 years of schooling for persons to get an education to do jobs that a generation or two ago people did with 12-13 years of education ... All of this supports the notion that credential inflation arises from a perceived need by individuals to demonstrate potential employment competence through a piece of paper, i.e. a college diploma. Employers are using education as a screening and signaling device, at a low cost directly to them (although not costless because of the taxes they pay to sustain much of this), but at a high cost to the perspective employees and to society as a whole. -- The Chronicle of Higher Education

And just how did this massive misallocation of resources come about? It's rooted in the lefts disgusting preoccupation with race:

One aspect of all this that Vedder doesn't explore is the historic origins of the higher-ed industry's credential cartel. As we've explained before, it goes back to Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that companies could not administer IQ tests because they had a racially "disparate impact"--that is, it discriminates against blacks because they score more poorly on average than whites do.

The disparate-impact test in Griggs, written into law in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, applies only to employers. Educational institutions are free to administer IQ tests, which is essentially what the SAT and other entrance exams are. -- WSJ


At 1/27/2012 1:45 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...


The author, James Taranto, goes on to explain how higher-ed is gearing up to fend off this challenge to it's credential monopoly by screaming "racism" as just as loudly as it can:

That's where ETS and CAE come in. They will offer two tests. One, called iSkills, "measures the ability of a student to navigate and critically evaluate information from digital technology." The other, the CLA, "assesses critical learning and writing skills through use of cognitively challenging problems." As Vedder explains: "Students can tell employers, 'I did very well on the CLA and iSkills test, strong predictors of future positive work performance,' and, implicitly 'you can hire me for less than you pay college graduates who score less well on these tests.' "

If the practice became widespread, it would drive college costs down and force cost-cutting and downsizing within the higher-ed industry. So you can expect the industry to fight hard against it.


Now, as Vedder reports, there is a competitive threat as well. We can expect that the higher-ed industry will do whatever it can to crush this threat. The obvious point of attack would be to claim that the new skills tests have a racially disparate impact. ETS and CAE would be well-advised to take strong defensive measures.

At 1/27/2012 1:48 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Reminds me of St Edward's Hospital from Yes Minister… a hospital with 500 administrators, no doctors, no nurses, and no patients. It won the Florence Nightingale Award for most hygienic hospital in the UK.

Sir Humphrey called it the "best run hospital in all of the NHS".

After the episode aired, the show's staff discovered that there were actual hospitals (or wings) like that:

"An example of the latter would be the episode on the National Health Service in which we invented a hospital with five hundred administrative staff but no doctors, nurses or patients. This hospital won the Florence Nightingale Award for the most hygienic hospital in the country. After inventing this absurdity, we discovered there were six such hospitals (or very large empty wings of hospitals) exactly as we had described them in our episode, notably one in Cambridgeshire in which there was only one patient: the Matron (head of nursing staff) who had fallen over some scaffolding and broken her leg." — Yes Minister Q & A (#5).

At 1/27/2012 1:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

... it is true that college-educated people normally earn more than non-college-educated folks. But over the past two decades the costs of university education--tuition, room, board and fees--have increased at a rate six times greater than the increase in the average earnings of college graduates. And in the past decade college graduates' earnings have actually fallen. The value proposition is on a downward trajectory ...

If the salaries of college graduates are not rising, but student debt is, can the tuition increases continue? Is there any data to suggest college students today learn more than their predecessors? Or is there any evidence that what today's students learn is retained longer than earlier generations? In business terms we'd ask, "Is the value proposition getting better?" It's difficult to find any such evidence. -- Forbes

At 1/27/2012 2:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

for many... before they work their first day - they are 20, 30, 40K in debt.

That's debt that directly affects their ability to save up for a home or afford other expenses.

It appears that the govt is allowing people to walk away from the debt also.

If you owed taxes, the IRS would rip you a new one. If you owe a student loan.. walking away seems to have far less consequences.

At 1/27/2012 2:20 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Consider computer technology. In 2009 the U.S. graduated 37,994 students with bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science. This is not bad, but we graduated more students with computer science degrees 25 years ago! The story is the same in other technology fields such as chemical engineering, math and statistics. Few fields have changed as much in recent years as microbiology, but in 2009 we graduated just 2,480 students with bachelor’s degrees in microbiology — about the same number as 25 years ago. Who will solve the problem of antibiotic resistance?

If students aren’t studying science, technology, engineering and math, what are they studying?

In 2009 the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts, more than in computer science, math and chemical engineering combined and more than double the number of visual and performing arts graduates in 1985. -- Marginal Revolution

At 1/27/2012 2:27 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

one very simple thing they could do is grant loans ONLY to college tracks for jobs that BLS says there is a deficit for in the workplace.

all others, you're on your own.

At 1/27/2012 2:45 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Many colleges and universities, which used to focus on training students in fields vital to the nations future, are being gradually turned into grotesque leftist vanity projects which will offer little on no value to society as a whole:

UC San Diego just lost a trio of prestigious cancer researchers to Rice University. Rice had offered them 40 percent pay raises over their total compensation packages, which at UCSD ranged from $187,000 to $330,000 a year. They take with them many times that amount in government grants. Scrapping the new Vice Chancellorship for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion could have saved at least one, if not two, of those biologists’ positions, depending on how greedily the new VC for EDI defines his realm. UCSD is not disclosing how much the VC for EDI will pull in or how large his staff will be: “We expect that [budget/staffing] will be part of the negotiation with the successful candidate at the end of our search process,” says Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Judy Piercey. Since the new UCSD vice chancellor will be responsible for equity, inclusion, and diversity—unlike the Berkeley vice chancellor, who is responsible only for equity and inclusion—the salary at UCSD will presumably reflect that infinitely greater mandate.

UCSD is by no means the only campus bullish on the diversity business, despite budgetary shortfalls hitting the UC system everywhere else. In 2010, Berkeley announced the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, funded in part by a $16 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The “new” initiative duplicates existing “equity” projects, not least the Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative, established by Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau in 2006. This latest initiative boasts five new faculty chairs in “diversity-related research”—one of which will be “focused on equity rights affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” according to the press release, and “will be one of the first endowed chairs on this subject in the United States.” (Sorry, Berkeley, Yale got there first.)

The main purpose of the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion seems to be to buy for the academic identity racket the respectability that no amount of campus mau-mauing has yet been able to achieve. “Area studies such as ethnic studies, queer studies and gender studies tend to be marginalized and viewed as less essential to the university than such fields as engineering, law or biology,” glumly noted the press release. (The use of the term “area studies” to refer to the solipsist’s curriculum is a novel appropriation of a phrase originally referring to geopolitical specialization.) According to a campus administrator on the Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative’s executive committee, the new initiative will change the character of Berkeley’s area studies by “asserting [sic] them squarely into the main life and importance of the campus.”

Conferring academic legitimacy on narcissism studies is apparently a superhuman task deserving of superhuman remuneration. The salary and expense account of the likely new director of the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, John Powell—who is currently the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University’s law school—will likely dwarf anything seen so far among diversocrats, according to inside sources. -- City Journal

Do we really want to squander valuable national resources on this nonsense?

At 1/27/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

AIG: See the updated post, I have confirmed the data in the chart with the previous year's (2010) data from the Department of Education. In 2010, there were 49% more full-time admin/professional staff than full-time faculty, which is close to the 53% reported for 2011 (it's been getting worse year by year).

Note also that the UM hospitals have about 15,000 employees and those positions are NOT counted for the academic headcounts and data reported to the Dept. of Education, or by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

I stand by my original data and chart.

At 1/27/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"And I'm not saying the administrators are 53% of the employees, I'm saying that the number of administrators (9,652) is 53% MORE than the number of full-time faculty (6,305)."

Yes I should have paid more attention and read your comment more carefully. My mistake.

However, my observations still stand. This university is more hospital than school. Plus, it is a research university, so besides faculty there are also researchers. There are 3,503 researchers (not professors) in the university, not counting UMH.

- If they are saying that there are 9652 "administrators and professionals, this number clearly doesn't include just administrators. It includes all other non-faculty staff. but if that's the case, then about 36% of those are "researchers"

- Are these 9652 "administrators" counted from the UMH as well?

- What is considered an "administrator"?

- For a research institution, and an institution where 61% of the employees work in a hospital or a medical department, are there generally more "administrative support" staff? I'd think considerably so.

- A research based institution, which counts 3,500 researchers + 500 research professors; ie an institution which naturally has a lower % of "faculty" vs others, would we expect that the "others" would outnumber the faculty?


IE the important thing here is to explain what is an administrator, what is a professional, and why the ration of the two vs "full time and part time faculty" is consequential?

Also, this:

"or a ratio of 1.53 administrators for every full-time faculty member."

Administrators and professionals is not equal to just "administrators".

My only concern here is that some individuals here will read those words, and immediately jump to their pre-disposed conclusions (the is a bubble and a scam type of discussions that some members have here), without thinking through what these numbers really show.

At 1/27/2012 2:59 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"AIG: See the updated post, I have confirmed the data in the chart with the previous year's (2010) data from the Department of Education. In 2010, there were 49% more full-time admin/professional staff than full-time faculty, which is close to the 53% reported for 2011 (it's been getting worse year by year).

Note also that the UM hospitals have about 15,000 employees and those positions are NOT counted for the academic headcounts and data reported to the Dept. of Education, or by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

I stand by my original data and chart."

Ok. And So far I have no problem with the data. The issue arises when "administrators and professionals" are not defined more discretely.

ie...those 3,500 researchers which do not fall under the faculty definition, are they counted in this "administration and professionals" category? If so, is the growth in this category necessarily a "bad thing"?

IE...when you say 'administrators", people here get a certain meaning. When instead those "administrators" turn out to be researchers, groundskeepers, cooks, IT specialists and accountants...its a little different.

- As top universities, like Um Ann Arbor, focus more and more on research, their non-faculty rations are certainly going to rise. Is this necessarily an undesirable thing, and is this necessarily a "driver" of costs?

At 1/27/2012 3:09 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

another way to go about this is to COMPARE the percent of administrators across Universities if for no other reason to understand what some have for minimums and others in terms of averages.

finally -a chart showing percent of administrators vs tuition costs could be interesting.

At 1/27/2012 3:16 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

AIG: You can review the IPEDS data and see that:

a) Researchers are NOT included in the administrative/professional categories. There are NO positions for "primarily research" counted for the data in my chart, those are probably all in the medical hospitals, if you found those positions in the salary database.

b) Clerical and secretarial are counted separately, and those 2,282 positions were NOT included in my chart.

c) Service and maintenance are also counted separately and those 1,144 positions are NOT included.

d) I am only counting the two categories: a) "executive/administrative/managerial" and b) "other professional."

At 1/27/2012 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This administrators vs faculty stuff is just yet another worthless academic turf war, academics fiddling while Rome burns. The notion that you can slim down the university enough to compete by getting rid of administrators is the fatuous one, as even most of the faculty are superfluous, now that online learning is on the cusp of taking off. In addition, I find it ludicrous that anyone would pay $47k/year to attend Morganovich's high school or even $53k to attend his college. There is simply no way a high schooler's mind is advanced enough to even absorb that much value, it's like those NYC kindergartens you hear about that charge $30k/year. There is literally no way you can stuff that much value or advancement into a baby's head, yet that is what they sell the parents on.

All this just goes to show "education" has just become a luxury good. If you simply want to get around town, all you need is a Honda Accord for $18k that you could drive for 20 years. But if your real goal is to show everyone how much you spent on your car, you buy a Cadillac Escalade for $70k, an "SUV" that is more a brand than anything else. That is what most high-priced "education" has become, an intrinsically worthless brand and nothing else.

At 1/27/2012 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for Paul's notion of research vs teaching, the fact is that you don't need researchers to teach. The notion that you will learn better from world-class researchers is one of the most ridiculous aspects of the university scam. I "learnt" from these engineering researchers when I got my university degree and they were almost universally incompetent at teaching. They usually simply mailed in their lectures, largely regurgitating what was in the textbook whole, which is the main reason I'd usually stop going to lectures after the first couple weeks. The fact is that a good researcher is almost never a good teacher, but one wouldn't expect those running universities to know this simple fact of human nature. ;)

As for Che's notion that "training in the STEM fields are crucially important to our future," if that's the case why do "only a third of science and engineering college graduates actually take jobs in science and tech fields, according to a 2007 study?" STEM is also highly overrated, as you will only ever need so many scientists and engineers. Also, I think your Griggs testing stuff is probably irrelevant. Over the years, I've had a couple of tech companies make me take a test before being considered for a position, whether engineering subject matter or even basic SAT-style math/logic/verbal questions. Perhaps they are just ignorant of the legal liability, but I doubt it. I agree with you that most of the rest of the degrees are even more worthless, which is why there should be zero taxpayer aid for education, zilch, but the fact remains that even STEM is largely worthless, largely because they continue teaching the same outdated technical crap and are too dumb to realize that software has completely transformed STEM and all work.

At 1/27/2012 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me add one oddity that I noticed while taking that last SAT-style test for a job. One of the questions on the verbal section of the test essentially asked if Milton's contributions were in science or literature, etc, a multiple-choice question. It was jarring to see this question in what was ostensibly a vocabulary section, as it's really a history question. While this was only one question out of hundreds and had little weight on the outcome, it does show why people talk about bias, as many schools aren't going to touch Milton. I doubt I encountered more than an odd poem or two of his, possibly during some English class in high school. This doesn't mean there is widespread bias or that it's a big deal, but it does highlight that some small bias can creep into these tests.

At 1/27/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger geoih said...

As AIG has pointed out, I'd take these numbers with a grain of salt. Also, I don't know why you're depending on Dept of Ed. numbers for your analysis. The University provides a by name by job classification listing for every employee, along with salaries, once a year to the local media.

You also need to take into account all of the touchy-feely departments that are the norm at every University (e.g., sustainability, diversity, public relations, etc.). What University is going to get rid of these things simply to hire more professors?

At 1/27/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger geoih said...

As AIG has pointed out, I'd take these numbers with a grain of salt. Also, I don't know why you're depending on Dept of Ed. numbers for your analysis. The University provides a by name by job classification listing for every employee, along with salaries, once a year to the local media.

You also need to take into account all of the touchy-feely departments that are the norm at every University (e.g., sustainability, diversity, public relations, etc.). What University is going to get rid of these things simply to hire more professors?

At 1/27/2012 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the purpose of the post is to link the higher cost of college tuition to faculty and administration cost, maybe a comparison of total compensation over time of faculty and administration would be a better metric than headcount that does not count all the heads.

At least part of this argument is the implicit trend of employing more part-time faculty than in the past. That cost should be analyzed and counted because the student has to pay for it.

At 1/27/2012 5:45 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

If females now out number males, 51% to 49%, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor then: The Center for the Education of Women will surely be shut down by the end of the budget year -- won't it?

At least seventeen administrative positions would be eliminated.

At 1/27/2012 5:59 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Geoih: The Department of Education gets its data directly from the University of Michigan and other universities.

At 1/27/2012 6:53 PM, Blogger kleht said...

I'm a bit confused here. At first I thought the "professionals" were the researchers. You've excluded them. I assume the 1,711 executive/managerial are the administrators.

Maybe I just missed it, but who are the professionals (8,483)?

At 1/27/2012 6:54 PM, Blogger kleht said...

Excuse me. I meant 6,772 professionals.

At 1/28/2012 7:15 AM, Blogger cluemeister said...

Why is it that both health care and education costs are skyrocketing?

Could it be that the government controls and subsidizes both?

And all the while demonizing capitalism. It is so frustrating to watch them get away with it.

At 1/28/2012 7:31 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Mark, thanks for the link to the IPEDS.

I am still left confused as to what the specific definitions mean. I counted all the individuals containing professor or lecturer in their title, and came up with close to 7,000.

But there are still an additional 3,500 individuals which are in research. These are not from the UMH.

Either way, the definition IPEDS gives of the "professionals" category is very broad:, including things like athletics, nurses, IT etc.

Either way, we can see that it is the executive managerial segment that is the one that can be described as "administrative".


I looked up the data from my school. It shows a completely different pattern than Ann Arbor

There is something fishy going on in UM Ann Arbor's entry however, as there are about 7,000 people in the instruction/research/public service category, but 0 entries in instruction or in research categories. Most schools have these broken up.

UM Ann Arbor has an excessively large number of people in the "professionals" category, compared to other schools as a ratio. So we can see here that it is indeed a "special case". Whatever that special quality may be, it isn't "administrators"

At 1/28/2012 7:48 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Another way that we can represent this data is the ratio of "administration" to "other".

In the case of MIT, it is about 4.5% administration.

For Cornell it is 6.6%

For Johns Hopkins it is 3.7%

In the case of my school (mid-size private university), it is 9.2%

In the case of UM Minneapolis it is 11.9%

In the case of UM Ann Arbor it is 7.1%


Now my school and Cornell Johns Hopkins and MIT are both considerably more expensive than Minneapolis or Ann Arbor. Yet their rations of administration to "others" are much lower.

What do Minneapolis and Ann Arbor have in common? Both huge state schools. The others are all private.

At 1/28/2012 7:57 PM, Blogger AIG said...

But it is in the "professionals" category that Ann Arbor is different; it is considerably larger than the other institutions, except...

For example, the % of "professionals" at Ann Arbor is: 30.6%!!

At MIT it is: 15.8%
At my school it is: 23.5%
At Cornell it is: 19.2%
At Minneapolis it is: 19.2%

At Johns Hopkins however, it is: 35.5%!

Johns Hopkins and Ann Arbor both are huge medical universities. Maybe that explains why the "professionals" category is so large, and what comprises this category.

At 1/28/2012 8:03 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"I'm a bit confused here. At first I thought the "professionals" were the researchers. You've excluded them. "

That's the key question. As far as "administration", they don't seem to be a major block here.

The "professionals", whoever, include a lot of things. And as we can see from the Johns Hopkins example, it may be a trait of medical schools to have so many additional "professionals" in their staff.

Where those "researchers" falls, I have no idea. Some may be under "grad researchers".


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