Sometimes it’s just plain hard to not snicker, smirk, or just outright laugh. As our PASSHE officials and local managers preach about dire financial situations, as they strip away release time and pare down summer schools, as they arbitrarily increase class size, you might be thinking, “something here is just wrong.” Well, it is. Honing in on “faculty productivity,” they have conveniently overlooked managerial prodcutivity. But there is now substantial evidence that things are out of whack.
Last month the Goldwater Institute stirred up controversy with its report, “Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education.” While we don’t agree with its recomendations, the report convincingly demonstrates how at large public universities, growth of administration/management has grown disproportionately to the size of the student body and faculty.
But, what of PASSHE? The evidence is perhaps even more startling than you might have anticipated:
At not one of our Universities did tenure/tenure-track faculty keep pace with student growth.
Meanwhile, at five of our Universities, manangement growth kept pace with or exceeded student growth.
At eleven of our Universities, management growth outpaced tenured/tenure-track faculty, often by wide margins (Bloomsburg, Mansfield, and Lock Haven are the exceptions).
And at those same eleven Universities managerial growth surpasses total faculty growth, again often by wide margins.
Meanwhile, at Cheyney University, where there has been a decline in students and a decline in tenure/tenure-track faculty, management has grown over thirty percent! At Kutztown University, which has led the way with retrenchment and program moratoriums, management growth surpasses student growth by fifty percent!
At the Chancellor’s Office the the growth has been nothing short of incredible. Why, would the Dixon Center need to grow at a rate that is four times the rate of growth of our students? Nearly sixteen times the rate of growth of tenure/tenure-track faculty? To be fair, these numbers are from last year. But will much have changed since then?
As PASSHE prepares to retrench, as the Chancellor’s Office shuts down core programs, as they alter our very understanding of what a college education is, what has the Board of Governors done? At its last meeting, the Governors saw fit to congratulate the Presidents on their efforts to control costs!
At our local meetings, in our conversations with administration, in our contract discussions, we must put our collective feet down. We cannot and ought not be complicit in PASSHE’s bizarre priortities. Our students deserve better.
Further, this irresponsible growth provides dangerous fodder for those legislators, gubenatorial candidates, and outside groups (like the Goldwater Institute) to argue that our Universities can get by with even less public funds.
PASSHE has made much of its “workforce planning.” Thus far, little of this planning has been shared with APSCUF. It’s no wonder.