How Many Administrators Does It Take To…

How many administrators does it take to support a full time faculty member at a university? If you think about it, you have to wonder why it should take more than a handful to support an entire school.

But that would be wrong, of course, and obviously so once you add in librarians, professional office staff for each department, football coaches… So maybe, two very large handfuls. Um, no. Then there’s some full time custodial and infrastructure professionals, and communications/IT professionals and advertising professionals and… Hey, wait! Haven’t many schools started to rely on part-time faculty, which keeps down the numbers of full-time faculty?

You start to see that the number of administrators becomes nearly as large as the full-time faculty. And the number of administrators is growing. Rapidly.

Erin O’Conner at Critical Mass tells us that, not counting medical schools, less than 50% of the full time higher-education employees were faculty in 2006. Apparently, that wasn’t true only a mere two years earlier.

And if you were to compare public to private schools, which would you expect to have the higher ratio of faculty to administrators? When I guessed “private” (you pay higher tuition at private schools, after all), I guessed wrong.

[I]n 2004, 50.6 percent of full-time higher ed employees were faculty (this doesn’t count med schools); in 2006, that number had sunk to 48.6. Interesting, too, is a comparison between public and private four-year institutions. In the one, the faculty figure has gone from 53.1 percent to 51.1 percent. In the other, it has gone from 45.6 percent to 44 percent.

Erin links to the data at Inside Higher Ed.

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