This article was published back in February but a friend just brought it to my attention. It goes right along with my post questioning the strategy and fiscal decision making at University of Idaho as it builds a new $50million lab without a plan.

The thrust of the article is based on a study from the American Institutes of Research showing that only a single university was able to increase hiring of full time teachers while decreasing it's hiring of administration. The article is pretty alarming, but it does gloss over that nationwide the growth in non-teaching jobs was largely for staff that deal directly with students as support staff, not for purely administrative and executive positions, and a couple of other important nuances. Still, it got me thinking; where did University of Idaho fall on this list?

So, I looked up the information in the first box in this article about the study. University of Idaho is exactly opposite of the national trends…they have decreased their professional and non-professional staff as much as 20% while Administrative and Executive jobs have jumped a whopping 40%! All this while full time faculty hires have grown anemically by comparison at 7.8% as attendance has risen. In short, University is doing exactly what the Slate article was warning of, bloating the ranks of back-office administration while neglecting the full time teachers that are at the heart of the colleges mission…all while state funding has decreased over the same period. Given the facts of my last post it doesn't surprise me one bit that University of Idaho hasn't been particularly frugal in their zeal for more administrative oversight and less emphasis on teaching.

These data aren't the whole story though. Washington State University, ten minutes from University of Idaho across the Washington Border, is home to one of the most wasteful and dysfunctional administrative cultures I have ever witnessed and yet has decreased administrative positions almost 10%. This is offset by an ambitious slashing of their teaching staff, cutting 16% of their full time faculty and not replacing all those positions with adjuncts resulting in an overall loss of teaching.

As a future professor these numbers emphasize the fact that there are quite a few schools that I would have a difficult time accepting a job at. Schools that put their scant money toward administrators to oversee, rather than the professors and direct student support staff that actually contribute to the colleges first mission, are not a recipe for a happy and long career in a tenure track position. The facts are depressing but I know that as I look for jobs I will consult this list to inform my decisions about where to find a stable position that I will enjoy. Unfortunately, my alma mater Macalester College has slashed full time faculty by 35% while hiring a nearly equal number of administrators. I will sing 'Dear old Macalester" while shedding a tear. For shame!