Comments on: The “crisis” in higher ed? truffula sniffs out “administrative bloat.” http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-908754 Mon, 21 Nov 2011 14:55:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-908754 And rereading: great post Truffula. Still thinking about.

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By: Z http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906563 Thu, 17 Nov 2011 09:50:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906563 Indyanna, I’m for this stand-down, yes!

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906216 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:57:14 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906216 It’s faculties that will have to do the “just say no’ing” on what Sagebrush Rebels once called “unfunded mandates.” The universities in their corporate capacities will never stop being obedient lapdogs until the last appropriated dollar is withheld by the last demented legislature. There should be a massive faculty-led Arab Spring stand-down on “assessment,” which is a function best left to biographers and obituary-writers. I have a picture of me being dropped off at college in a madras sport jacket and brush cut, and another, forty-five months later, in cap and gown, long-haired and draped in a raggedy paper peace symbol. And I can authoritatively attest there wasn’t a single “outcome” sloshing around inside of me in the latter. That fact didn’t stop me from beginning to generate outcomes about ten days later and continuing uninterrupted until now. Including the realization that the “assessment” bandwagon will someday be determined to have been our generation’s academic equivalent of the laetrile therapy enchantment in medical science. Saying “it’s out there, it’s coming, let’s get out in front of it and make it our own, so we can control it and put it to our uses” isn’t going to save us from that historical judgement.

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906213 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:54:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906213 H’ann: Word. I was thinking the exact same thing. Why do we see the increase in oversight/accountability at the same time as disinvestment? I also don’t advocate for the privatization of universities, but we’re there anyway. (UC is going to jack up tuition again – in the next five years, it will be up in the $20,000s.) What’s public about my state u that gets less than 10% of its budget from the state? As far as I can tell, it’s that the state is up in our grill about how to do our business. I guess we’re part of state insurance and pension systems, too. I wonder if flagships started revolting if it would force grandstanding state legislatures to back down – for godsake, if they aren’t going to pony up with some cash, they should least back off.

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By: Stephen Karlson http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906202 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:23:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906202 To some extent the recently departed chancellor at Wisconsin in Madison had been making moves in that direction, and readers from Michigan might be able to provide the status of a similar idea at Ann Arbor.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906160 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:39:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906160 Wini–that’s a good point. I think it’s the same my state. It strikes me that public universities should be bolder than they have been. Why not say, “You can either subsidize us reasonably & appropriately and demand compliance, or you can withdraw support and let us go our own way.” I haven’t supported the privatization of state institutions until now, but the sad fact is that what we’ve got is political & public oversight without any support: the worst of all possible worlds.

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By: Comrade PhysioProf http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906113 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 16:12:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906113

But you know what they say: wish in one hand, $hit in the other, see which one fills up first.

HAHAHAH. I never heard that before. Excellent quip!

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By: wini http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906097 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:37:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906097 I haven’t seen a discussion of this anywhere, but in my state, many of the layers of admin are the direct result of new laws passed by our state government. Many of these yearly changes also add a lot of work for our staff, since our budgets are being cut over and over. A layer of admin to make sure everyone complies, no new staff to do the work, often less.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906077 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:04:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906077 sophiabrooks: the first rule of administration is that administrators must generate sufficient work to supervise to justify their salaries and office support. That said, a lot of what administrators and their support staff do at my uni is real work and it means that faculty can focus (for the most part) on teaching, research, and service to their disciplines.

Much of this admin work has value, but much of it is a huge waste of time and money. I find myself fantasizing about the day a prestigious public university (Berkeley, Michigan, or in my wildest dreams, Texas) says, “f^uck this assessment $hit. We assess our students all the time with ‘instruments’ that we call grades.” If a really prestigious public uni did that–and dared people to call their bluffs and not send their children there, thus proving their value in the vaunted marketplace, which should shut up conservative state legislators–then it might give lower-ranked public unis the stones to get the assessment monkey off of our backs.

But you know what they say: wish in one hand, $hit in the other, see which one fills up first.

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By: sophiabrooks http://www.historiann.com/2011/11/15/the-crisis-in-higher-ed-truffula-sniffs-out-administrative-bloat/comment-page-1/#comment-906033 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 13:43:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=17184#comment-906033 I am an administrative assistant for a continuing education department within a school, within a University. 50% of my time is spent marketing, 40% is spent supporting class offerings and 10% is as an assistant to the department head.

The bloat is real, even at the lower levels, but I have no idea how to solve it. I spend much of my day chasing other staff members who do things like supply ordering, human resources, space allocation, IT, accounting in order to make sure things my department needs are getting done. And those people, in turn, are chasing people at the university levels. The amount of work and sign offs it takes to do simple things like order class materials is unreal. At our school, each and every purchase needs to be OK’d by both the Dean of the School and the Dean of Finance and administration, even if it is not going beyond the budgeted amounts.

For a long time, I thought it was about incompetent people, but it seems like the bureaucracy itself rewards incompetent people and also people who make their job seem like it is very difficult and only they can do it.

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