I’ve recently heard more than a few folks suggest that the number of administrators at Augustana College is going up at the expense of faculty positions. This seems to be a particularly popular hypothesis, one that has been around at both the national level and on our campus for a long time. I’ve tested this assertion with our local data several years ago and, to be fair, it’s worth retesting hypotheses every once in a while to make sure that previous findings, and more importantly previous conclusions, still hold true.
Below I’ve laid out a table of our own Augustana data over the last ten years that includes instructional faculty numbers, non-instructional staff numbers, student enrollment, and ratios that give some sense of the relationships between a variety of combinations. Please note that the first column is the academic year 2014-15; data moves back in the time from left to right.
|Tenure Track Professors||33||42||52||51||62||64||55||35||46||41|
|Total Tenure and Tenure-Track||147||144||150||155||164||158||145||137||136||135|
|Full-Time Instructors Off the Tenure Track||50||44||36||27||20||16||35||36||28||14|
|Proportion of Full-Time Instruction Workforce Off the Tenure Track||25.4||23.4||19.4||14.8||10.9||9.2||19.4||20.8||17.1||9.4|
|Academic Administration/Salaried Operations Administration||*||153||135||171||158||172||183||172||167||159|
|Total Full-Time Non-Instructional Employees||*||323||313||329||316||343||380||362||359||349|
|Student Enrollment FTE||2483||2514||2538||2506||2529||2455||2531||2516||2450||2371|
|Ratio of Non-Instructional Employees to Full-Time Instructors||*||1.7||1.7||1.8||1.7||2.0||2.1||2.1||2.2||2.3|
|Ratio of “Administrators” to Full-Time Instructors||*||0.8||0.7||0.9||0.9||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.1|
|Ratio of “Administrators” to Total Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty||*||1.1||0.9||1.1||1.0||1.1||1.3||1.3||1.2||1.2|
|Ratio of Students to Full-Time Instructors||12.6||13.4||13.6||13.8||13.7||14.1||14.1||14.5||14.9||15.9|
|Ratio of Students to Non-Instructional Employees||*||7.8||8.1||7.6||8.0||7.2||6.7||7.0||6.8||6.8|
|Ratio of Students to “Administrators”||*||16.4||18.8||14.7||16.0||14.3||13.8||14.6||14.7||14.9|
|*not reported to IPEDS until April, 2015|
First, while the number of tenured professors has gone up and the number of tenure-track professors has gone down over the last ten years, the total number of traditional faculty (i.e., faculty within the tenure system) has gone up 9%. Moreover, the overall number of full-time instructional faculty has increased over the last ten years by 32%. (Although it’s a somewhat separate issue for a separate post, I couldn’t help but note the increase in the proportion of our full-time instructional workforce that is not a part of the tenure system.)
Second, the number of administrators and the number of hourly employees has dropped over the last ten years, from 159 to 153 and from 190 to 170, respectively. This change strikes me as particularly interesting given the increase in student enrollment over the same period, especially for the hourly employees who often are on the front lines of serving students’ non-academic needs.
Finally, I’ve included six lines of ratios that put these relationships between numbers of faculty, administrators, staff, and students into context over the past ten years. As you can see, there are now fewer non-instructional employees for every full-time instructor, fewer administrators for every full-time instructor, and fewer administrators for every tenured or tenure track faculty member. Moreover, even though the total number of students has increased, the number of students per instructor has dropped while the number of students per non-instructional employee and number of students per administrator has gone up.
So no matter how you slice it, asserting that the total number of administrators has gone up while the total number of faculty has gone down is, well, hogwash. Even in the context of the relationships between administrators and faculty, administrators and students, or faculty and students, this assertion is, well, hogwash. Nationally this assertion might hold some water, but at Augustana College . . . it just ain’t so.
Certainly, within those big-picture numbers there are lots of positions that have been moved from one office to another or faculty lines that have been moved from one department to another. You might not agree with one or more of those moves, but that sounds to me like a separate issue entirely – one worth a robust discussion no doubt, but a separate issue nonetheless.
Make it a good day,