It's relatively easy to think of administrative bloat in the universities in the abstract, and what good might be done by turfing a few deanlets out.  Hence an American Interest bon mot. "Few things would help students so much, or harm the core functions of education so little, as a 50% across the board cut in higher ed bureaucracy costs." If you want the red meat, read Glenn "Insta Pundit" Reynolds in USA Today.

But let's get down to cases. What happens as the ratio of administrators to students expands? In the limit, you get Chicago State University.
To emphasize the excessive administrative presence on the Chicago State campus, I compared our administrative complement with three other schools: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago and Northern Illinois. These three schools all enrolled more than 20,000 students in fall 2014. These three schools all employed at least 296 administrators in fiscal 2014. Chicago State’s fall 2014 enrollment was 25.3 percent of Northern Illinois’s, 18.6 percent of University of Illinois Chicago’s, and 11.5 percent of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s. Chicago State’s fiscal 2014 administrative component was 125 percent of Northern Illinois’s, 80.6 percent of University of Illinois Chicago’s, and 75.5 percent of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s.
Chicago State is unique among the state's public universities, as an expense-preference playground for diversity hustlers, and as a cautionary tale for an all-administrative university with no students.
Although Chicago State has the lowest enrollment of any of the 12 schools, its 370 administrators ranks it third in the state, behind only [Urbana’s] 490 and [Illinois-Chicago’s] 459. As far as student-administrator ratios, Chicago State is far and away the highest, with 14 students for every administrator, with Governors State and its 53 to 1 student/administrator ratio a distant second. For those who are wondering, between 2011 and 2014, Chicago State has cut its unit “A” faculty ranks by 13.7 percent.
By contrast, Northern Illinois checked in with 67 students per administrator. We'll see how "program prioritization" plays out.


Dave Tufte said...

Is there a uniform data source used for the ratios you cite?

Stephen Karlson said...

The numbers are calculated by the Chicago State faculty member. There is no single state reckoning of administrator to faculty or administrator to student ratios, these are reported by the universities (sometimes according to a system rule, as in the case of anything with a "University of Illinois at ..." designation.)