C. Gibaldi

Harvard & St. John's University (UNITED STATES)
This paper and presentation will examine how the enormous growth of administration combined with the contracting number of full-time faculty at U.S. institutions of higher education is leading to the decline of the U.S. higher education system. During the last 20 years, the number of administrators at U.S. institutions has grown at a staggering pace, while the number of tenured or tenure track faculty has been reduced to approximately 30% of faculty. Many college administrators most prized academic credential is an MBA, in addition to having business experience. Corporate like headhunters are used (which control the recruitment of senior administrators) generally know nothing about academic life. And most boards at colleges and universities are more attracted to individuals that have experience on the business side rather than the academic side of colleges and universities. Individuals that have worked at a college or university in such areas as enrollment management, or financial aid are being chosen to lead colleges with a very narrow view and limited understanding of the sector, and more importantly only view faculty as a cost - their labor force.
The narrow and limited view brought by "business side" presidents not only reduces the importance of faculty, but also adversely affects the student experience. When most students reflect on their college experiences, they speak of great classes, great professors, discussions in classes, experiencing ideas, thoughts, disciplines, cultures, etc that they never considered before. They are grateful for the faculty that mentored them, offered advice, support, and encouragement, as well as concrete assistance in entering the work force, graduate school, or professional school. All of this is being lost at the majority of U.S. colleges and universities. "Business Side" administrators lack knowledge and insight into the university's core, which is teaching and research missions. All the blame that is being written about regarding rising tuition in the U.S. is being placed on the shrinking ranks of tenured full-time faculty. This is illogical given that this problem of rising tuition coincides with the swelling of administrative/managerial ranks and the reduction of tenured full-time faculty. University president's salaries have been rising for well over a decade at an incredible rate, with some earning well over $1million, plus a home, and benefits, and many other top administrators earning in the high 6 figure range. The connection is easy to make and the evidence is clear; The Decline of U.S. Higher Education is rooted in a bad dynamic of Dramatically Increasing Numbers of Administrators/Managers combined with A Significant Reduction in the Number of Tenured or Tenure track Full-Time faculty. Colleges and Universities must once again be run by individuals that "come from" higher education, and especially the "academic side", and not professional administrators/managers. The bottom line is that university administration should not be left to administrators - we must return to Shared Governance.