Think, Know, Prove–Administration Proliferation

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

This summer I read an essay by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus adapted from their forthcoming book, Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids–and What We Can Do about It.

In the essay (which you can read HERE), they write:

In 1976, for every 1,000 full-time students, there were 42 professional administrative staff members, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2008, the most recent year available, there were 84. At the same time, the number of full-time faculty members for every 1,000 students has declined, from 65 to 55, due to the greater use of adjuncts and teaching assistants.

While fewer undergraduates are being taught by full-time professors, the number of administrators keeps growing.

I read another piece, about the same time, about the number of administrators at UM-Flint, in which a student was quoted as saying, “It seems like a contradiction. They talk about how tight budgets are but then they’re increasing the number of figure heads. I understand they’re going through growth but this still isn’t a large university. That’s why I went here…I don’t see any effect of this spending on students, other than having to pay more.”

This week another report came out from The Goldwater Institute titled provocatively enough,  “Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education.” You can guess what it reports, I’m sure. Check it out HERE if you’d like.

I was reminded of the aforementioned essay during DWFDW, when, while searching for some information about the Chancellor’s New Vision for the Reinvention of the City Colleges of Chicago, I spent some quality time with the recently proposed 2011 Budget. You should CHECK IT OUT when you have the chance. In it, you’ll find a section on the Chancellor’s findings in her first 100 days as well as an entire chapter (ok, it’s only two pages, but still–it’s a chapter–on the Reinvention (starting on Page 24).

You’ll also find a proposed organizational chart. (You know where this is going, right?)

Page 27 of the Tentative Budget released just a few weeks ago in late July/early August, lists five Vice Chancellors:

~Academic Affairs, Planning and Research

~HR

~Development

~Information Technology/CIO, and

~Finance/CFO.

It is the same org chart and structure that Central Office had in 2007,  as published in our self study (along with an assortment of Associate Vice Chancellors for Administrative Services, Arts and Science, Workforce Development, etc.)

As of August 5th, not 14 days after the proposed and tentative budget for next year came out, mind you, CCC had a grand total of EIGHT Vice Chancellors AND a Provost, as well as a handful of new Associate Vice Chancellors, Directors and the like.

Our Current District Leadership reporting to the Chancellor includes:

~Provost and Chief Academic Officer

~Vice Chancellor of HR

~Vice Chancellor of Development

~Vice Chancellor of Information Technology/CIO

~Vice Chancellor of Finance/CFO

as well as

~Vice Chancellor of Client Services and Student Engagement

~Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Institutional Intelligence

~Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services and Procurement

~Vice Chancellor of Business Enterprises

If Angela Henderson’s old position is kept and replaced in September, then the Chancellor will have a nice round number for a cabinet (10) led by our Provost. At $135,000 to $150,000 per new VC position, I am left wondering how much efficiency is going to have to be found at the local levels to pay for all that accountability up at the top of the ladder.

Anywhoo, spend some time with the Budget and consider your own thoughts about this coming Reinvention. What do you think of these new positions? Wise investments for the new and improved future City Colleges? Necessary steps to “rebuilding and strengthening the senior leadership team?” Folly and administrative bloat?

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

CPS Budget Shenannigans (and Associated Grumblings)

Just in case you missed it in last week’s Reader, this is a pretty fascinating look at the tensions between the teachers and the admins over in CPS-land.

A sample:

In effect Huberman and these other bureaucrats got their salaries jacked up to insulate themselves against any voluntary pay cuts they might take. It’s like the department store that doubles its prices and then announces a half-off sale.

And another:

This year the board increased its allowance for “non professional services” to $243,000 from about $91,200. The budget for “seminars, fees, subscriptions and professional memberships” went up to $120,000 from $45,000. Travel expenses rose to $80,000 from $30,000, and “miscellaneous contingent projects” to $83,000 from $31,000.

On the bright side, the board did cut its allowance for “telephone and telegraph” from $6,647 to $6,565. Maybe that’s what Daley meant by dieting.

I asked Bond what all these accounts are supposed to cover and why the board boosted funding for them—as opposed to spending the money on something that would directly benefit students, like sports or art. Again, she said she would get back to me, but by press time she hadn’t.

And one more:

I know that eliminating raises in the central office wouldn’t fill the budget gap, especially if it really is approaching $1 billion. But it’s hard to justify, say, eliminating sophomore sports—a move that affects thousands of kids—when the board (a) hasn’t announced how much that will save and (b) somehow or other can find more money for seminars, subscriptions, and professional membership fees.

Great reporting, I’d say.