Winter for Higher-Ed
Admin Hiring in Higher Ed: How Many Is Too Many?
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  • DirtyJobsGuy

    If you look at most University Departments (even highly technical ones) it’s Profs, one or two administrators/secretaries, a few lab managers/tech staff. This has been pretty stable since I was in school 40 years ago. The admissions, compliance, financial aid/etc., buildings and grounds staff, development etc. have all grown tremendously. Long ago the bursar simply was a bank teller that took money and gave receipts. Now it is a huge system approaching mid size bank complexity. (Think GM and GM Finance). The campus IT network has grown a lot, but it should have reduced costs not increased them much. Interestingly few schools have a campus infirmary anymore since I guess compliance and liability costs are way too high. The insane privacy rules have really added costs to the areas that should be simplest (bursar and registrar).

    The rest I think is the need to differentiate what for most students is a very commodity product. If you are going for your basic BA in Psychology, Poly Sci or Business (at least 50% of many schools) the quality of the program is not top of most students list. So fancy dorms, gyms, recreation/entertainment are things admissions/development worry about a lot and all cost money and staff time. At the top, PR and endowment management require constant attention to trendy news and perception.

    The bottom line is to really revamp both the need and the quality of the academic programs for the average non-academic oriented student. If they feel they need to come to the school for the academics, the rest of the costly items can be reduced.

  • Kavanna

    Yes, go back 20+ years. These trends started around 1990 and have led to an explosion of costs. But it’s one of the main factors destroying the value of higher education, even as tuition keeps rising (three times faster than general prices).

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