A recent study revealed that public universities across the country have hired more and more administrators over the years, with UC Davis having the third largest administration bloat.
The numbers are shocking.
The Goldwater Institute found that between 1993 and 2007 UC Davis experienced a growth from 3.2 full-time administrators per 100 students to 13.5 – a 318.8 percent increase. Meanwhile, full-time employees in instruction, research and service dropped 4.5 percent from 9.6 to 9.1 per 100 students.
UC Davis quadrupled its administrators while at the same time cutting staff dedicated to teaching and research. The imbalance is unnecessary, and with rising student fees partially going toward administration costs, it’s disturbing.
However, UC Davis is taking steps to remedy the situation. The university already cut 342 of 4,251 positions in administrative units. Out of academic units, the university cut 402 of 5,796 positions.
In an effort to streamline and consolidate administrative functions, Chancellor Linda Katehi introduced the Organizational Excellence Initiative in August.
Services such as employee hiring and termination, time reporting and salary transactions can all occur in one shared service center.
If the consolidation is successful, the university can save $9 to 16 million in administrative costs over the next two to four years.
In her announcement, Katehi said cost savings would be redirected to academic programs, student programs and high priority administrative initiatives.
The intention is appreciated, but the administration will need to be more transparent about where money is allocated. While the initiative may address the administration bloat, it does not address the implications of it – that the university values its administrators more than its students’ educations.
The growth of administration is certainly unnerving, but if well executed, the Organizational Excellence Initiative can make the administration more efficient and help our valued academic and student programs.