Boston University employs 9.5 administrators for every 7.9 students enrolled but only 33.7 instructors and researchers for every 100 students. Doesn’t this sound like bloated bureaucracy steering the institution away from its core mission?
The Goldwater Institute thinks so. The Arizona-based libertarian organization released a report called Administrative Bloat at American Universities. It points out that between 1993 and 2007 the number of full-time administrators at U.S. universities rose by 39% but the number of educators and investigators rose by only 18%. And BU did relatively well in their survey. Vanderbilt University has over 60 administrators per 100 students!
As someone invested in higher education, I share the Institute’s concern with the growing ranks of administrators. But as someone who recently shifted to an administrative role, I can see the value in having competent support staff. When I talk to faculty, they rarely mention they’d like more colleagues to teach classes. What they say is they want more help with writing grants or creating syllabi and more protected time to think creatively. To achieve all these goals, more administrators are needed to lessen the burden on faculty.