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UO administrative bloat

Last updated on 02/09/2014

2/5/2014: The Chronicle story is here, and the Delta Cost report here.

Our administration has not posted the 2013 data yet, but casual empiricism suggests continued bloat under President Gottfredson, particularly at the higher levels, e.g. RIGE, the General Counsel’s office, “strategic communications”, and his own byzantine org chart. Keep in mind that we would all be lost without the many competent mid-level OA’s that actually run this place, and who are included in the 55% figure below.

From 2000 to 2012:

38% increase in students: from 17,843 to 24,591.

18% increase in tenure track faculty: from 605 to 715.

55% increase in administrators: from 726 to 1126.

25% increase in GTFs: from 1172 to 1470.

72% increase in non tenure track full-time faculty: from 380 to 655.

34% increase in classified staff: from 973 to 1304.

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Full data on employee counts are here, student numbers here.

Thanks to Honest Uncle Bernie for raising the question. I have some more recent data on the latest costs for executive administrators, but I don’t have time to dig into it.

2/7/2013 update: Here are a few more numbers to chew on. From Nathan Tublitz’s Transparency Tool, on Duckweb, under the Employee Information tab.

Overall VPFA budgets are up 50% over two years, Moffitt’s office is up 60%:

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VP for Budget Brad Shelton’s office has also shown remarkable growth:

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  1. Anas Clypeata 02/06/2014

    Classifed+Admin, 2000: 1,699
    Classifed+Admin, 2012: 2,430
    Increase: 43%

    TTF+NTTF, 2000: 985
    TTF+NTTF, 2012: 1,370
    Increase: 39%

    Each of these increase percentages is reasonably close to the increase in the student population of 38%. Not exactly bloat, but no apparent economies of scale either.

    Note that all of the above numbers, including the UOM numbers, do not include the part-time employees in the table. The increase in part-time staff (21%) and admin (7%) is lower than the increase in full-time employees, so it’s reasonable to assume that the overall increase in FTE is close enough to the 38% increase in students to be statistically equal.

    Corrections welcome.

    • Anas Clypeata 02/06/2014

      One more note: There are hundreds of OAs that could reasonably be slotted into classified staff positions — an issue that is a long-time thorn in the side of the SEIU staff union — so looking at OAs and staff as separate categories does not make sense. Leaving aside the TTF/NTTF changes, which are a separate discussion, it makes more sense to think about “teachers and researchers”, “students”, and “support personnel” as the three basic categories of university citizens.

      • Big Bean Beamer Burnisher 02/07/2014

        As an OA … ummm, no. I have no data to support this statement, but I’d bet that many OA’s share my feelings on the matter. SEIU folks don’t have a particularly good reputation amongst the OA co-conspirators in my little universe.

      • uomatters Post author | 02/07/2014

        Where do “coaches and boosters” fit in?

    • honest Uncle Bernie 02/07/2014

      Not necessarily a correction, but a critical note: so the Administration expands with full-timers — full benefits, probably good salaries — the Faculty gets to make due with many more part-timers and correspondingly fewer full timers — probably lousy benefits (no health insurance, no PERS not even Tier 3) — this is a good picture?

      • uomatters Post author | 02/07/2014

        Perhaps the Senate should charge Brad Shelton with preparing a report on administrative bloat at UO?

        • honest Uncle Bernie 02/07/2014

          Excellent idea. I would probably couch it more neutrally, like “analysis of budgetary priorities and trends.”

          Good old Brad, much as we love him, now inevitably a Tool, so others with the time and some expertise, should look with a critical eye at whatever Brad would come up with.

  2. honest Uncle Bernie 02/07/2014

    If you want some good laughs — read this more than half serious proposal by a Johns Hopkins professor on how to deal with administrative bloat — you may not like the website in general, but read this story — I believe it made the top of their charts last year:

    “Forget MOOCs–Let’s Use MOOA”

    A good chant for bargaining sessions and senate meetings — “MOOA”

  3. honest Uncle Bernie 02/07/2014

    If I raised the questions about UO addressed in this blog, I’ve forgotten, but glad to see the focus here — it’s a very common trend in both higher and K-12 education to blame the teaching staff for rising costs, while growing administration (which is largely things like “student services” that are non-instructional expenditure) is actually much more to blame.

    (The Delta Cost Project is an excellent source, some of their figures about the state of Oregon, others more general, well worth following.)

    At UO, I’ve said more than once — my impression (having casually followed this stuff for many years, but not so much lately) is that Administration was growing rapidly under Frohnmayer — no insult meant to Dave, but facts is facts if they is facts — while The Hat put more or less put a halt to this (maybe he figured out that people were catching on). So it would be instructive to look at the figures for The Dave era and The Hat and Post-Hat eras. This is something that concerned parties — UO senate, the budget committee, the faculty union — should DEFINITELY watch very closely — follow the numbers, they tell what the priorities are, whatever people say.

    • pedestrian 02/14/2014

      DF’s “era” was over 15 years. LaRivierre’s “era” was about a year. Fair to compare the growth under their different “eras”?

  4. OVA 02/07/2014

    I raised the question to both Berine and UOM by hijacking another post.

    I think I remember hearing that the private board would only cost us something like a dozen new administrators and less than half a million bucks. Forget that if you add the costs of a dozen admin it will far exceed that dollar value, not including the added workload on classified staff who must babysit them.

    How much of this bloat, especially seen in the last couple of years is because of the new board? Should the we look at joining with the states flagship school OSU, to get some economics of scale and reduce bloat? I heard that their Police costs a lot less than the ours and they are state troopers not rent a cops sitting in running cars in empty parking lots watching youtube. Or is it more important for a booster board to hide all financial and foundation dealings and deny transparency to not only the state taxpayers who currently still foot about 30% of the bill for core academics but also the students who pay the other 80% PLUS pay for all the non-academic waste (like a couple million in student fees for tickets to games and the EMU rebuild), as well as the faculty who have to FOIA the admin just to try try to get financials and budgets for bargaining that should have been public?

  5. anonymous 02/10/2014

    Sometimes a little easy target practice is fun.

    Hoping to see UOM do a little feature on the new UO Ombudsman. Interested in both function and cost of this position (and associated accessories).

  6. anonymous 02/12/2014

    If you are going to look at “non-instructional bloat” then don’t forget to look at all the institutes and centers.

    • ScienceDuck 02/12/2014

      What do you mean by that, exactly? Science institutes have cut staff in recent years as federal funding levels drop and less money is sent their way. Institute administration seems not very germane to the discussion here since operational funds come from return of grant F & A, not tuition, and those funds are not used for faculty salaries. Have centers in other research areas been expanding and diverting funds that could be used for faculty hiring?

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