December 27, 2012
Dean Dan Rodriguez thinks making faculty work harder is the solution
By: Stephen Bainbridge
As reformists and irritants likewise insist, we are going to increase our expectations of full-time faculty members in order to realize cost savings and take our foots off the tution pedal.
As a faculty member, I think Deans like Rodriguez should put their administrative house in order first. At my school, and I'm sure at many others, the number of administrators, program directors, and other bureaucrats has increased dramatically. See Roland A. Cass & John H. Garvey, Law School Leviathan: Expanding Administrative Growth, 35 U. Tol. L. Rev. 37 (2003), which notes that the growth in the numbers of law school administrators has outpaced growth in those of faculty and students. Of course, the problem is not limited to law schools:
J. Paul Robinson, chairman of the Purdue University faculty senate, walks the halls of a 10-story tower, pointing out a row of offices for administrators. “I have no idea what these people do,” says the biomedical engineering professor. Purdue has a $313,000-a-year acting provost and six vice and associate vice provosts, including a $198,000-a-year chief diversity officer. Among its 16 deans and 11 vice presidents are a $253,000 marketing officer and a $433,000 business school chief. The average full professor at the public university in West Lafayette, Ind., makes $125,000.
The number of Purdue administrators has jumped 54 percent in the past decade—almost eight times the growth rate of tenured and tenure-track faculty. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible,” says Robinson. “Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?”
Purdue is among the U.S. colleges layering up at the top at a time when budgets are tight, students are amassing record debt, and tuition is skyrocketing.
But that's no excuse for law school deans like Rodriguez to ignore the problem of administrator bloat. To paraphrase the Bible, deans ought to take the bloat out of their administrative budget before trying to balance the budget on the bank of their faculty.