Administrative Bloat?

Confessions of a Community College Dean takes on one of my cherished beliefs, that “Administrative Bloat” drives skyrocketing tuition:

Never mind that this assertion has been empirically discredited, or that the “supervisory” ranks in colleges have shrunk even faster than the full-time faculty ranks.  The only actual growth has been in IT, services for students with disabilities, and financial aid.  Firebrands are invited to explain which of those they’d cut.

Notably, Community College Dean depends on “empirical discreditation” that only goes back to 2001, which ignores the beginning of the bloat during the 90s and takes advantage of the increases in enrollment from the significant “mini-baby boom” during the 00s. His perspective is at least partly biased by his specific experiences at community college, because in most universities the bloat has been particularly top-heavy:


CCD notes Baumol’s cost disease, which I covered in my “23 Things about Capitalism” post, but concludes:

Long-term, I’m convinced that the only way to break the spiral is to break free of time-bound measures.  The credit hour must die.

I’m generally sympathetic, but CCD is a dad, so I wonder if he’d advocate the same pursuit of efficiency for parenting or other care work. You can see why humanities advocates spend so much time fighting the instrumental approach to education. It’s practically a teleological paradox: you’ve got to pretend like time doesn’t matter, or else the education won’t work.





One response to “Administrative Bloat?”

  1. […] my brief response to Community College Dean a few weeks back, I said something that I think is pretty obvious, but that is often ignored: humanities advocates […]

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