So, welcome back to installation #2 in The case for independent scholarship, the new series where I explain why you should quit assuming that scholarly research needs to be limited to the university system. In fact, independent scholarship provides a number of advantages over the standard model.
Today, we’re going to focus on the administrative bloat that has overcome the university system. Specifically, I want to draw your attention to statistics on the California State University system. These data have been collected and written about by Ralph Westphal, a Professor in the Computer Information Systems Department at California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Before I show you the statistics, though, I want you to ask yourself, how many administrators and other, non-academic professionals does a university need for each faculty member? What would be a reasonable ratio of academic to non-academic employees?
Clearly, there is a certain amount of support required to maintain facilities, to manage offices and accounts, and so on. But how many, would you say? Here are the numbers (from this document) for the entire California State University system for the 1975-76 academic year:
- Faculty (all ranks): 18,406
- Service and maintenance: 3,260
- Skilled crafts: 883
- Technical and paraprofessional: 3,246
- Clerical and secretarial: 6,920
- Managerial and professional: 3,800
So, what do you think? Does this seem reasonable? Roughly speaking, for every four faculty members, there are three non-faculty employees doing all of the jobs that keep the university running smoothly, and therefore allowing the faculty to pursue the fundamental goals of the university: teaching and research.
- Faculty (all ranks): 23,581
- Service and maintenance: 2,170
- Skilled crafts: 1,045
- Technical and paraprofessional: 3,105
- Clerical and secretarial: 4,145
- Managerial and professional: 12,183
He said administrative functions will be reviewed and probably pared, but he rejects the argument that significant cuts can be made in that area. “The lights have to stay on, and someone has to maintain the computer system,” he said. “These are people who work very hard and have to be properly compensated.”