96% bloat and rising?

8/17/2010: We’ve reported before on the fact that UO spends 96% of the public research university average on Central Administration, versus only 63% on research. Insidehighered.com discusses several studies of the general trend:

“Administrative bloat” is the cause of rising costs in American higher education, according to a report being released today by the Goldwater Institute, a think tank that advocates for a limited government role. The report cites federal data finding a significantly larger percentage increase in full-time administrators per 100 students at leading universities than of faculty jobs. Based on this finding, the report suggests that reducing government spending on higher education would make higher education “more efficient.” The report is not the first to draw attention to the growth in college spending on areas other than instruction, but college leaders who have seen the Goldwater study are questioning its methodology. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, told The Phoenix Business Journal that the study counts all non-faculty professionals as administrators, including many positions — such as librarians — that relate directly to universities’ teaching and research missions. As a result, he said that the report’s suggestion that administrative spending was the cause of colleges’ growing costs was “simplistic.”

Note that the 96% number we cite for UO, from the Delta Project, does not include librarians etc. No time to dig up more numbers now, but my impression is that UO has seen a pretty big increase in the number of VP’s and assorted support staff in recent years. The VP for Diversity’s office alone has a $900,000 budget. Meanwhile President Eldon Floyd at WSU announces *cuts* in the number of his VPs: 

The Office of Enrollment Management and the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity will be combined into the Office of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity, and Enrollment Management. The Student Recreation Center, Housing and Dining Services, and the Compton Union Building will be added to this division for administrative purposes. With this change, all of the programs and services for our students will be centrally managed and supported. This unit will be led by John Fraire.

Our UO numbers are from 2007-08. I’m guessing with recent growth we are probably already spending more than 100% of the average on central administration. Anyone got details?

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