January 09, 2014
The Kids Aren't Alright
VDH has some words about what's wrong with my profession and higher education in general. Go read it all, but this part especially stood out to me:
5. Administration. Much of the recent explosion in annual costs is due to administrative bloat — special assistants to this and deputy associates of that. Left unspoken is that many of these trumped-up six-figure positions are to promote “diversity” and “technology” that have little to do with mastery of reasoning, prose, and scientific knowledge. Most administrative jobs require less formal expertise than does a faculty position, and it is generally recognized that full professors who take on administrative positions are sometimes welcomed out of the classroom given their poor teaching and research records. But why should those who dreamed up exploitative part-time teaching positions be exempt from their own logic? Private enterprise could supply all sorts of part-time administrative clerks to the university at a fraction of the present in-house costs. If a PhD in French can be hired as a lecturer for $800 a month, surely the Associate Provost for Diversity Affairs can be part-timed and outsourced for $600?Indeed. In the unit where I work we haven't added a new faculty member in years. The only new position has been an extra layer of administration added on to one of the subunits -- a "director" of a unit that only has two full time instructors. This "director" who only oversees two faculty members is so busy in their "work" that they've been excused from 1/2 of their teaching load.
And if you were to walk over to the administration building it would be worse. Far, far worse. I can't count the number of Dean-of-this-or-that and Assistant-Vice-Chancellor-of-obscure-little-fiefdom who have sprung up over the past 12 years.