Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, has a sharp column up at USA Today. It's about out-of-control administrators who outnumber full-time faculty at most colleges and universities and are largely responsible for the climate of close-mindedness and repressive policies. Reynolds runs through several recent, high-profile examples of Dean Wormer-level stupidity before
In his book, The Fall of the Faculty, Johns Hopkins Professor Benjamin Ginsberg talks about the profusion of "deanlets" that has overtaken higher education. But it's even worse when those deanlets not only eat up the substance of institutions, but also command armed force. It's extremely doubtful that any outside law enforcement agency would have responded to any of the "threats" listed above, but campus police, called in by insecure deanlets, have little choice. This sort of behavior, though, is unfair, bad for morale, and likely to spur expensive and embarrassing litigation….
Full-time administrators now outnumber full-time faculty. And when times get tough, schools have a disturbing tendency to shrink faculty numbers while keeping administrators on the payroll. Teaching gets done by low-paid, nontenured adjuncts, but nobody ever heard of an "adjunct administrator."…
With college enrollment falling and budgets under pressure, legislatures, donors and alumni will be looking at ways to restructure schools in the future. The profusion of self-important deanlets and the abuse of campus police forces ought to be looked at as part of this process. It's just another symptom of the now-imploding higher education bubble.
I support the move toward "adjunct administrators." It used to be widely understood that a college or university travels on the quality of its faculty, not its climbing walls, dining halls, or number of administrators. The University of Arkansas' Jay Greene found that between 1993 and 2007, the number of administrators at research universities grew by 39 percent per 100 students while the number of employees directly involved in research and teaching grew by just 18 percent. More damning, spending on administration grew 50 percent faster than spending on instruction. Administrators don't just add to the open-air prison climate on many campuses, they directly add to rising costs.
Reason TV's Alexis Garcia interviewed Reynolds a few weeks back about his important book The New School and many other topics. Watch below or go here for downloadable versions, full text, and links.