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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Growth Trends in UC Administration

by Ákos Róna-Tas, UCSD

Here are several charts.

The first shows the number of ladder rank faculty vs. senior managers at UCSD. This ratio dropped from 5 to 2 to 1 to 1 in the last 15 years.

The second shows the same trend systemwide.

The third shows the size of UCOP over time. (It is not UCOP that caused the enormous systemwide rise in the size of the senior administration.)

The fourth shows that the drop is uniform across all campuses.

Therefore it is unlikely that anything unique to UCSD (such as its large medical establishment) would explain this. Campus specific factors may explain the differences in a given year across campuses but not the change for a particular campus across time.

The numbers of the senior administration that UCOP reports include two groups: the Senior Management Group (SMG) and the Management and Senior Professional (MSP) group.  I have just received an email from UCOP that says that the SMG group has been fluctuating between 275 and 305. So, it seems that most of the growth is due to the MSP group. MSPs are no small fry (most MSOs are not MSPs but Professional and Support Staff or PSSs).  MSPs have a pay-scale that stretches from 100K to 248K (207K if you exclude Medical Centers), so my guess is that the average MSP pay is probably above the average pay of the ladder rank faculty (albeit keep in mind that they are paid on an 11 month schedule).  This MSP group grew faster not just than ladder rank faculty, but faster
than most other categories.

further detail here


Anonymous said...

So-- simple question: who exactly are these these in the MSP group and WHY have their numbers grown so fast?

Anonymous said...

Here is an example. In a letter to the UCD community dated Dec 8, Chancellor Katehi makes the announcement:

"Our campus has been working for more than three years on the development of UC Davis' first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. I plan to announce the public phase of the campaign in the fall of 2010. As we move into the public phase of what will be an ambitious and aggressive fundraising effort, it is critical that we have a fortified structure in place that will allow our campus and our dedicated development staff to meet the fundraising goals I plan to establish and present to the UC Board of Regents next year for its required approval.

After considerable consultation, I have decided to create a new position of executive director for the comprehensive campaign that will report directly to the chancellor.

The selection and appointment of the executive director post will trigger a reorganization that will affect the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost and the Office of University Relations:

As I've already indicated, the new executive director will report directly to the chancellor. Under the reorganization, three units now in University Relations - Advancement Services, Foundation Accounting and University Development - will be reassigned to report to this new position."

Looks like this has been happening everywhere: a new function is identified, a position created, a national search launched. It seems like the main function of administrators is to reproduce.

The specific case is even more surreal: these fund-raising efforts ("development" in administratorese) have long been the holy grail of university funding, but they have special currency these days in the proceedings of UCOF. The idea is that there are people out there ready to give millions to UC, we just have to find them (which might just be a lot of wishful thinking).

ucstaffer said...




opentop said...

more examples:


Anonymous said...

This is an important issue. What would be the most effective way of organizing (at a minimum) against the *future relative growth* of this management sector as against core mission personnel?

Bob Samuels said...

I have written on the topic of bureaucratic growth where I have listed the biggest increases of administrative bloat: http://changinguniversities.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-on-executive-growth.html

nobody_reads said...

already mentioned there, lookie!

Unknown said...

The growth in administration is usually justified as an increased need for fund-raising/development due to a decline in state funding. Hence, it would be interesting to see, like with any organization involved in fund-raising, what percentage of each dollar is actually raised after expenses are factored in.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone called the UCOP and campus administrations on this? I seem to remember Yudof being asked about it but deflecting it by irrelevantly saying "our pay has been cut, too!" The phenomenon of administrative bloat is so stark, it seems like defenders of the core mission of the UC should be able to make headway on this issue. How about a demanding a hiring freeze in this category?

Anonymous said...

Using Berkeley as a clean example, i.e. no medical center, of the ~1,800 new FTE employees in 10 years, a net of 900 are 1) SMG&MSP and 2) FISCAL, MANAGEMENT & STAFF SVC. Unfortunately only about 100 new FTE of faculty at Berkeley over those same 10 years. It appears that probably $100 Million/yr has been added to Berkeley's payroll from 1) and 2) compared to 10 years ago. That is the equivalent of $4,000/yr per undergrad at Berkeley. Compare http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/uwnews/stat/headcount_fte/apr2009/er1bkf.pdf to http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/uwnews/stat/headcount_fte/apr1999/er1berk.html

Gerry Barnett said...

One might also look at how UC outsources via personal services contracts. The total expenditure on administrative work is likely underestimated looking only at salaried positions.

The issue, though, is not only whether there is expanded administrative expenditure, but whether that expenditure accomplishes desired academic objectives. If it does, that's good. What's needed is an audit against the academic objectives that matter.

Following Charles Schwartz's approach, one might separate administrative expenditures relative to undergraduate education from other core functions, and among those other functions, perhaps distinguish graduate and professional education, core research commitments, and extramural research commitments. Then see whether there is a pattern of distribution that indicates anything about what has driven the expansion.

I'm thinking that at some point, the number of administrators requires more administrators to administrate the other administrators. Perhaps there's an inflection point beyond which one finds a compulsion to exponentially add administrators-- for compliance, for development, even for auditing the growth in administration.

Given the administration of administrators may much more nearly resemble "management", it's a quick jump from there to an organizational orientation that looks increasingly like a "corporate" structure, with command and control rather than governance as the primary means of deploying authority.

Anonymous said...

Could this be--or become, or be made-- a point of agreement between the privatizers and the defenders of the core mission of the UC: the need to stop this bureaucratic bloat? It seems so "inefficient."

Or am I being naive?

Anonymous said...

Obviously there is huge growth in the non-faculty side of the house -- all you have to do is look at growth in fund sources -- the research and medical enterprises have grown faster than students. But I think this analysis may be skewed by other factors:

First, I think there has been huge changes in job classifications over this period. Many MSP jobs are really what used to be PSS jobs. Entry level analysts are now hired in at MSP I and even MSP II levels -- MSPs today are not "senior administrators" Someone should re-do this analysis with PSS or else by limiting it to MSP VI and above

Second, there has been an aging of the workforce. Just as the faculty are now heavily skewed to higher classifications, I think some of these results are due to the age profile of the staff.

Gerry Barnett said...

The UCOF began with an appeal for real data on UC budgets. Perhaps that will still happen. Until it does, there's really no analysis that can be done, nor can we know if anything we suggest is skewed, or wasteful, or academically essential.

Proposing reasons for the growth of MSP positions is useful. No doubt it will be a complex set of factors. What if PSS positions haven't been reduced? Then does would it matter that some PSS jobs may have become MSPs? Is it that UC must pay more, and older, administrators because no one young and junior can afford to move to the state? Without some reliable data in context, can anyone say anything with confidence? Maybe UCOP really doesn't know. That would be a fair starting position. It wouldn't be unexpected.

That's why I like Charles Schwartz's approach. He runs some numbers. He asks UCOP to check his work and explain what's going on. He looks at a particular sector that's important (or ought to be important)--undergraduate education--and he asks for some accounting. That's what's good about Ákos Róna-Tas's post, too. More of that.

We might also then ask which administrative positions depend on increases in tuition rather than, say, on state funding or program income or donations. That might show what the undergraduates are being asked by UCOP to support. It might be a gesture, at least, for UCOP to explain it nice and slow to the undergraduates and their families. If it's a crisis for undergraduate education that drives up tuition, then folks no doubt will see the rationale. If it's to fund more administrators to create white papers on the metrics by which to evaluate the performance of other administrators who are hired to train administrators responsible for planning for future administrators, then it would appear to be a tougher bit of explaining UCOP has to do.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the faculty numbers also lower than they should be because so many budgeted faculty positions were left unfilled to pay the senior faculty off-scale?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:24: If so, then where was the decision made to keep the outlays for faculty too small to compete for the top scholars and teachers in the country?--in favor of allowing an astonishing ballooning of the administrative bureaucracy. I think it was made by an administrator, not an educator.

Anonymous said...

Contrarian Anonymous here.

At my UC, the Administration and top faculty are very cozy. One hand washes the other.

TB said...

This is a bit off-topic, but it is something that has been bothering me for quite some time now. I am talking about the sentiment often voiced on this blog -- the sentiment that the importance of positions, departments, colleges etc. should be measured by their contribution to the undergraduate education. (It is present in this thread -- concerning the accounting approach advocated by Charles Schwartz, but also, quite prominently in the post about the bloodbath of the Humanities and the follow-up comments, as well as in few other places). In the interest of full disclosure, I am a science prof, who understands the importance of educating well-rounded individuals rather than narrowly trained specialists. I am bothered, as many on this blog, by the fact that the future of the UC seems to be in the hands of people like Dean Edley who quite likely hasn't seen a live undergraduate student in years (OK, perhaps from a window of his car). But I also like the fact that we are a *research* university. This necessarily means a strong emphasis on the *graduate* education and research as well. In fact, I wouldn't want to have it any other way and would look for employment elsewhere if all my teaching responsibilities were reduced to undergraduate teaching only. I am sure a number of my colleagues in the science departments would agree. In fact, talking to my colleagues, I get a feeling that a perceived push by the Humanities to define the University in terms of undergraduate teaching is a very effective way to split us. Point is case: in my UC, there is a resolutions up for a Senate vote that questions the wisdom of perusing AAU membership as stressing research and science education too much. Pardon me, but this is UC, not CSU. Stressing undergraduate education too much plays right into the hands of UCSD chairs who already advocated relegating most of the UCs to essentially a CSU status.
So please remember that UC is not only about undergraduates and measuring its contribution only in those terms is counterproductive if not just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

That really doesn't make much sense, Contrarian Anonymous: granted, top faculty act rationally in the market they are in, and are happy to have their hand washed by the administration, but they do not wash the hands of the administrators. The administrators wash their own hands. The point is that we do not need so many administrators. But we do need more professors, badly. We need the top professors and we need a lot of merely good ones, too, to deliver on the core mission academic excellence for the people of California.

Anonymous said...

Contrarian Anonymous here.

To TB:

I agree with you and have remarked several times that many of the postings on this blog do not recognize the tensions between the public education mission of UC and the research mission and, most of all, the goal of being a world leading university.

There are synergies between research and teaching, and we should certainly strive to be the best university possible.

But when resources become limited - or, as I believe is the case, when we are forced to admit that they always have been limited but we overspent because pretended we were flush - then conflicts and tradeoffs come to the surface.

We need to face these tensions and think strategically about them, or State officials intent on diminishing the university will tell us that UC's public education mission can be preserved with low fees by drastically curtailing research across all schools (yes, Humanities, too).

To Anonymous at 11:30PM, 12/13:

What doesn't make sense? It is a description of how things are, not how you and I want things to be.

There are too many administrators. We need more faculty. At my UC the Administration and top faculty are very close because they satisfy each others interests.

Faculty get hired and retained and promoted with six figure salaries and perks, the top administration is treated deferentially, and programmatic and promotional decisions are made on this basis to some extent (emph on to some extent). One hand washes the other. The faculty has not objected to the growth in administration. It is a problem, but it is not nonsense.

I am merely pointing out again that we faculty need to take a closer and more critical look at our collective selves. If we don't, what we don't see will blindside us.

Anonyouse said...


We can emphasize undergraduate education for any number of reasons -- ideals of liberal education, public service, etc. -- but one of the key reasons in the current debate is that undergraduates bring in money from the state. As the university increasingly turns to externally-funded research as a main revenue generator, folks like you in the sciences are more or less OK. In the social sciences, and especially humanities, external research money is far, far less abundant, which makes bringing in the millions a bit more difficult. However, social science and humanities departments often do a lot of the undergraduate teaching in general education classes, even of science majors, and that translates into more money from the state. This is a valid and valued source of revenue that is rapidly being taken away, and thus many of us are strategizing ways to keep it in play. If that goes away, the university as we know it does too.

I don't think anyone posting on this blog or its comments section is short-changing research or graduate training. Instead, people are pushing back against the dominance of "research as revenue" and advocating for a funding model that includes multiple sources and addresses the complex nature of the university's mission. Remember, in order for an R1 university to keep its R1 status, it MUST offer a wide range of undergraduate majors, including in the humanities. If we lose sight of the undergraduate education mission, it will affect everyone.

*We're* not trying to transform UC into CSU. The UC, as it stands, is what it is precisely because it combines high-quality undergrad education with graduate education/training and top-notch research. But current plans being floated by the administration would in fact render the undergraduate teaching at UC a severely underfunded appendage to a highly funded research endeavor, probably just enough for most campuses to retain R1 status. That may sound OK to some people, but unquestionably the reputations of most UC campuses would deteriorate pretty quickly, and in the long run even research positions would suffer as the university loses standing.

The model we have been using up to now -- including a robust undergraduate education -- has worked wonders for the UC, and we're all reaping the benefits (the current situation notwithstanding). Why throw significant bits and pieces of that model under the bus simply because it seems like the easy solution to a tough problem?

Anonymouse said...

Also, Contrarian said:

"or State officials intent on diminishing the university will tell us that UC's public education mission can be preserved with low fees by drastically curtailing research across all schools (yes, Humanities, too)."

In which dimension of Bizarro World do you predict this will happen?

Anonymous said...

Contrarian: I think faculty have not been complaining about the ballooning of administration because they haven't really been aware of it. And still less have they been aware of the implicit cost to our ability to hire more faculty it entails. In any case, I'm glad you think we need more faculty. We also need to keep top faculty from leaving. The time to demand a systematic review and freeze of MSP hiring is NOW. I would think that this is something our none-too-effective Academic Council could actually be helpful with. How about a formal request to Yudof to use his emergency powers to start an immediate review and rectification of MSP bloat?

Michael Meranze said...

I think that you make an important point about not forgetting either research or graduate education in these discussions--although I don't think that that has been the position of most posters on the blog. Instead, as "Anonyouse" pointed out, given the myths that the administration puts forth about how the sciences and the "businesses" bring in money while the humanities and social sciences don't, people have been pushing back on the funding that comes from teaching undergrads. I don't think that anyone is arguing that that is why the teaching is important but that those students and those funds are central to the University and shouldn't be treated as a secondary issue (not that you are suggesting that). I also think that at least as far as my experience goes, some of the criticisms about faculty spending most of their time on grad teaching is overblown (at least in my parts of the campus). I am not sure how the science teaching loads are split up.

Om another matter I was wondering: we all know about faculty hiring freezes and near freezes, staff layoffs and cut hours etc. And it may get worse next year. But has anyone see any sign that this sort of hiring slow down has occurred amongst the managers? I would think that would be a very important thing to know. If in this crisis the categories that Akos has pointed to are still expanding... That would say a great deal.

Anonymous said...

These days every dollar counts. Yudof approves $3 million for UCB Chancellor to hire consultants when work can be done impartially and internally.
Contact your State Senator And Assembly representatives and save UC/UCB $ 3 million.
Together we can make a differnece

Gerry Barnett said...

UC has the opportunity to engage the cream of California high school graduates. If we are talking about making a case to the legislature and public that goes some way toward resetting the will to fund UC as it requires, then it makes sense to give undergraduates a clear, honest, primary commitment. To my poor mind it is political death to lose sight of that in arguments for UC's status or the priority of research.

I've worked on the research administration side of the house at UC. To anchor a public commitment to the cream of the state's youth is no dishonorable thing. It is not exclusive of other anchors as well, regarding research. Let's also not forget public service (which is not merely that there's instruction and research). What is the purpose of all that research, in the end, if it is not for youth? That's the big bargain. It appears to come out only fitfully, even grudgingly. I find that odd. It's like a spouse that can't say "I love you" any more.

Again, how is anyone at any public research university going to get at these issues by starting with a status quo that appears to the public to be more concerned with status and usual habits than anything else? UW and Oregon State are a year behind UC. Folks are watching and learning. Some leadership at UC would be heartening.

John Hall said...

The analysis so far strikes me as incomplete in the extreme, for the real story of the university over the past 4 to 5decades may not be [or be so much] the excessive growth of administration, but the relative decline of ladder faculty compared to the size of the institution. For years, the university has increasingly relied on lecturers and non tenure track faculty for teaching. Ladder tenure faculty ratio to students, I suspect, has declined significantly, so it's no benchmark by which to chart the growth in the size of administration.

Logo Design said...

These days every dollar counts. Yudof approves $3 million for UCB Chancellor to hire consultants when work can be done impartially and internally.
Contact your State Senator And Assembly representatives and save UC/UCB $ 3 million.
Together we can make a differnece

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