How Many Administrators Does it Take to Run a University?

The answer, in Staffing Trends in Public Colleges and Universities, might surprise you.

The report used human resources data from 2001-2009 in the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to identify trends in staffing at public colleges and universities. It breaks numbers down by institutional Carnegie classification, and by the area of employment and full- or part-time status of staff.

said an Inside Higher Ed article by Allie Grasgreen.

The analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers shows that over the last decade, the biggest staffing growth actually came in areas like faculty, graduate assistants and academic support and student services. And while staffs grew, they did not keep pace with rapidly expanding enrollments, suggesting that institutions were striving to become more efficient.

So who are these growing staff persons?

Colleges across the board are relying more on part-time faculty members, a group that grew 2 percent per 100 FTE since 2001, while full-time faculty declined 9 percent. Graduate assistants also increased in number by 1 percent. And “other professionals” — including staff in academic support, student services and institutional support — grew by 6 percent.

I’d say that academic support (IT, etc), student services, and institutional support are all administrators. Apparently those who did the study would disagree.

What do you think?

Perhaps I have over-simplified the divisions of labor in higher education. I think of faculty and their administrative assistants as one group and everyone else as a different group.

Am I wrong?

One thought on “How Many Administrators Does it Take to Run a University?”

  1. From an article by the authors of Academically Adrift:

    [F]rom 1970 to 2000, as colleges increasingly hired additional staff to attend to student social and personal needs, the percentage of professional employees in higher education who were faculty decreased from about two-thirds to around one-half. At the same time, through their professional advancement and tenure policies, schools encouraged faculty to focus more on research rather than teaching.

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