Now if only it were good news. It seems we’re the victim of bureaucratic excess.
College administrators have found an interesting new way to strike it rich: quitting their jobs. Upon leaving his role as executive vice president of NYU for a job with Citigroup in 2006, Jacob J. Lew (the current Secretary of the Treasury) took a $685,000 bonus from the university. Harold S. Koplewicz, an executive at the NYU Medical Center, got a $1.2 million severance after choosing to leave voluntarily. Given that NYU’s tuition and fees are among the highest in the nation, we’re curious how students who took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans feel about their money going towards generous benefits and severance packages for administrators.
At least NYU is a private institution, so tax dollars are not spent to cover its inflated costs. As the New York Times notes, public universities are just as guilty of letting a bloated and inefficient administration drive up tuition costs. The University of Minnesota employs 19,000 administrative officials employees, and administrative personnel account for 24 percent of its total payroll, compared with only 20 percent in 2001. At Purdue, the number of administrative employees grew by 54 percent in the last decade.
Overall, the number of administrators hired by colleges and universities increased 50 percent faster than the number of instructors hired between 2001 and 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
We’ve felt the pain down here in the trenches, too. Our core biology curriculum was disrupted a bit by the reluctance of our administration to hire replacement faculty — they saved a few pennies by bringing in temporary faculty as replacements and deferring filling tenure track lines. The replacements were good people, but when you’ve got students coming up through a curriculum pipeline, you really want stability and continuity at the base.
The good news, though, is that the blockages have been uncorked and we’re finally expanding our biology faculty from 8 to 9 — a big boost at a small college.