Re: Higher education is an evergreen topic

1

Apparently this isn't an evergreen topic.

Maybe everyone here who would have been passionately engaged on this topic in 2008 has either succeeded to some extent in the job market, or given up completely.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
2

We could talk generally about the limits of the belief-form that one institution/organization should be managed like another institution/organization, and why that belief-form appeals to stupid people.

I admit that I am thinking of Republicans who periodically argue that public schools should be run in accordance with the management tenets of some military branch or other.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
3

The basic research enterprise is a microcosm of this. I have it from a reliable source that, despite knowing that the NIH budget doubling was a temporary one time measure, people in the financial office blithely took the years of the greatest growth during the doubling and extrapolated forward as though that trend would continue indefinitely. Those were the "projected increases in grant revenue" numbers that were presented to the dean. Run like a business indeed...maybe if the business in Enron.

Meanwhile, while labs are shutting down all over for like of funds, yet another new research building is going up next door.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
4

I didn't post right away because I think the article is practically 100% correct. I used to sit on our institution's budget committee and was regularly appalled at how poorly business people could analyze and interpret data.


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
5

3: What budget doubled? The stimulus funding was nice, but it certainly was not an across the board doubling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
6

I didn't post right away because I think the article is practically 100% correct.

Yes.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
7

5: See here. As the graph indicates, the doubling completely reversed itself within a few years. There's an updated version that looks even worse, as it shows that we're now well below the projected trend based on inflation.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
8

When you said "one-time measure" I thought you were talking about the stimulus bump. This is something from before the recession. My memory doesn't go back that far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
9

That is, my NIH-specific memory doesn't go back that far. I can remember a variety of things from 2008, but was still relatively new here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
10

Seems right to me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
11

8: Here is the more depressing version that shows the stimulus bump and subsequent crash.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
12

I used to sit on our institution's budget committee and was regularly appalled at how poorly business people could analyze and interpret data.

It's not just in academia... two days ago I spent the morning figuring out how best to explain compounding. (Real question: "But if we just pay this in year 5, [instead of year 3 and year 5,] why is our increase higher [than year 3 percentage and year 5 percentage added together]?)

This from people who control literally billions of dollars.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
13

This from people who control literally billions of dollars.

Argh!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
14

11: That cheers me up a bit. My entire NIH-related career has been on the downward slope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
15

The NIH graph surprised me, because what I've heard anecdotally from Senior people (a biophysicist--maybe he got NSF funding in the past too?) is that the funding is the worst that it's been in his life time (40 years, I guess, post Ph.d. and conscientious objector work). Sitting on committees, he used to be able to fund about 30% of the grants, and 1/3 were great, 1/3 were crap and there were good ones in the middle. Now he struggles to figure out which of the great ones is better than the others.

The 80's and 90's were great for him. Partly, I suppose, that that's because everyone loved fMRIs then.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
16

15 to 7. I haven't looked at the link in 11.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
17

It's certainly harder to get grants. More people are chasing them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
18

We haven't had a new research building put up in ten years or more. Just dorms and sports facilities.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
19

I guess the school of public health got an addition put on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
20

Oh, huh, I had assumed that giant new building (Nordenberg Hall) was offices, but it's a dorm.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
21

18, there's a new bigger children's hospital in a new neighborhood. A lot of research there.

As for the NIH I am one of many recent PhDs who has always seen applying for grants as a lottery. Like BG says, the top 30% are all worth funding, you can't specify more than that, so then a randomly selected 1/3 or 1/4 of those actually get funded and everyone else is told "Um, not trendy enough. Or too trendy. Or something. Really, just rearrange a bunch of the sentences and reapply, you might get lucky."

The idea of having a job that depends on sending in 8 grant applications a year in order to have a good chance at funding seems ridiculous. Each of these applications is a proposal to fund 2 or 3 people to work for 4 or 5 years. Who has that many ideas? Where does the preliminary data come from? But, I've also seen no clear mechanism through which I could get a faculty job anyway.

Maybe 20 or 30 years ago I wouldn't have gotten a PhD. So many more people are doing it now, a lot of us must be among the mediocre types who were just pulled into graduate programs by the increased number of graduate programs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
22

I've always thought somebody should do a study randomly assigning freshmen to the dorms on the flat part of campus or the dorms clear up the hill and see who gains more weight.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
23

21: I was just there yesterday. It's mostly clinical. I went to see if I was eligible to participate in a study. The research space was just the staff conference or break room.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
24

The terrible NSF/NIH funding climate was a factor in IF's decision to take the position she did. Given macroeconomic comparisons, it's certainly counterintuitive that things could be better in Europe, but that's how it seemed.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
25

But this isn't really talking about "higher education". A "professor" whose job is to apply for grants and maybe give 12 lectures a year is something different.

My perception of how colleges act is certainly not this "perpetual crisis" idea. That is how they're seen by the members of a different labor force, the disaffected people who teach lots of classes and get paid barely anything. The "crisis" is an excuse for not paying money to the people who teach the classes, because we just can't afford it anymore... but students and people with other relationships to universities aren't subjected to this crisis talk. To most of us it looks like they keep building new buildings, and increasing their endowments, and the future looks bright unless you're a mediocre liberal arts college within 200 miles of several other mediocre liberal arts colleges.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
26

Sometimes, I think nostalgically about the cold war (and then I shudder, because it was awful). But here's what was so appealing: scientists and linguists could have reasonably satisfying, secure jobs pretty much for life.

The father of a friend of mine got his Ph.D. in Physics in 1973. He's been back in academia since 1996 and done quite well, but he spent 20 years (1976-1996) at Bell Labs where he never had to worry about a grant, and he got bought out for early retirement when he left them. If he'd been 15 years older, he could have spent his entire career at Bell Labs.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
27

I think the linked essay is great, but there is one area of legitimate (and unpredictable) crisis, namely the sudden defunding of state universities by insane state legislatures. My friends in Louisiana tell me that their governor is demanding that the university system cut its budget by a sum greater than the combined operating expenses of all the community colleges and technical colleges put together. There's no planning for something like that.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
28

27 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
29

24: things are so much better in Europe it's ridiculous.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
30

It's funny that just as California finally got tired of destroying it's state university system, various places like Wisconsin and Louisiana have jumped at the chance to destroy theirs.

Maryland is at least reasonably secure in that, despite the overwhelming stupidity of electing a republican governor, the legislature is solidly democratic and so will reign in the worst of the craziness.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
31

I think you meant "rein" there.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
32

But possibly you didn't!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
33

I always use "rain".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
34

Is it just Wisconsin and Louisiana? I guess that's just a new manifestation of the "Destroy the lives of government employees" tactic for delighting Republican primary voters.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
35

How's Ohio on that front? I see my friend's Dad left California for Ohio in the early oughts.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
36

34: Also South Carolina.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
37

24: things are so much better in Europe it's ridiculous.

Which is pretty strange, given the ongoing crisis. I suppose it's one upside of the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of EU institutions, which I normally deplore; the ERC is more cushioned from populist attacks than the NSF.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
38

27 - While she was on the market, Rft got a not-terribly-appealing job offer from a state university in Louisiana that has, as far as I can tell, come two steps short of being burned to the ground and the earth salted. Who needs higher education anyway?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
39

36, SCSU seems to be a unique scenario. Margaret Soltan has been pointing to stories about corruption and criminal mismanagement there since at least 2010. Of course, being a HBCU means they get less than zero benefit of the doubt from the South Carolina government.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
40

39: I figured it was worse than usual mismanagement, but "scatter an HBCU to the four winds" still seems beyond sketchy to me.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
41

as California finally got tired of destroying it's state university system

Make no mistake, the destruction of the UC system is ongoing. And things are much, much worse for the CSUs.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
42

Illinois also just jumped on the gut the universities bandwagon. State legislatures really have gone nuts: huge cuts, combined with tuition freezes and caps on out-of-state students, plus micromanaging at a silly level of detail. It'll be interesting to see whether any states buck the trend and decide to keep their universities good.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
43

37, 24: Things are indeed much better in Europe, as long as you exclude the UK, whose higher education and research infrastructure has been captured by the MBA wanker class just as it has in the US. We used to get less than 10% of our grants in the UK, but since we moved our show to Berlin it's more like half.

I suppose it's one upside of the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of EU institutions, which I normally deplore; the ERC is more cushioned from populist attacks than the NSF.

I don't think this is it. Populist witchhunts against unis/egghead academics are largely an American thing. I cannot ever recall seeing anything like that on the continent, at least, though I haven't been here terribly long...


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
44

My impression is that the situation in the UK is not just as bad as here, but actually significantly worse.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
45

44: They seem to be hell bent on leaving Europe right now. They want to out-American the Americans.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
46

Yes, in the UK they base a lot of funding on bizarre metrics for "measuring" productivity of the sort that you associate with charter elementary schools or provincial Chinese colleges, such that the only way to get money is to follow the transparently obvious mechanisms for gaming the metrics. This also means lack of secure funding for established faculty is followed by lack of job security.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
47

Yes, in the UK they base a lot of funding on bizarre metrics for "measuring" productivity

Christ, yes. Around the time I left in 2011 they were actually starting to make staff (including senior scientists) fill out spreadsheets quantifying how they spent their day.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
48

This is making me really sad. Please talk about something else. Maybe actual evergreens.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
49

46,47: It's been my impression that the attitude of the UK towards its research enterprise in recent years has been marked by a degree of gleeful malice that's shocking even by US standards.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
50

49: It's just the same contempt management has always had for labour. All that's new this time is it's being translated out of the private sector into higher education/research.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
51

36/39: That article makes it sound like SC State is a total basket case. Which could be true! But I will note that it ranks 34th nationally in the Washington Monthly college rankings, which attempts to measure how much value an institution adds given its inputs.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
52

48 - They're not using evergreens, but you might enjoy this article on manmade micro-forests.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
53

Manmade macro-forest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
54

26: My dad rode that wave for his long comfortable career. He always referred to defense spending as "white-collar welfare".


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
55

Looking at the pictures in 53, maybe they should have tried a bit of diversity when picking the trees to plant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
56

Being the very lowest kind of commenter I have not read the link but my thought on university management this morning is: I have an internet sorta-friend who is in administration at Berkeley in some very vague sounding job that requires him to spend a lot of time in meetings about Leadership and I think he makes six figures (just barely, admittedly) and I sometimes think "um so you're the problem, right?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
57

Basically!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
58

here is one area of legitimate (and unpredictable) crisis, namely the sudden defunding of state universities by insane state legislatures

Very true.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
59

56: Ask him to quantify his contribution in units of leadering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
60

I wouldn't think administrators in the barely-six-figure range would be the ones going up against the wall when the revolution comes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
61

It'll be a big wall.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
62

They can use the side of the giant sports facilities.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
63

Some high profile high ranked administrators seem to have gone into university administration already thinking the university has failed and see their roles as anticipating and welcoming the cuts from all sources. They're not blindsided by the crisis; they're agents of it.

To be clear, I'm thinking of only a few people, like the administrators quoted during peak mooc craze who responded to questions about retention and learning outcomes by saying, basically: "Look at our current graduation rates. It's not like we can do worse, amirite?"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
64

63: If I'm remembering correctly, the worst offender in this regard, the guy at San Jose State University, was receiving a big payout from the MOOC company in question as a "consultant". This apparently isn't considered corruption.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
65

60 No, they get sent to work camps. In central Nevada.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
66

So far, "run it like a business" means I make 75% of what my counterpart at our counterpart institution in the state makes (so this isn't "cost of living is just cheaper here in Zion than NYC", but just completely maddening), while being told to be inspiring so that students graduate within six years. Yeah, me being inspiring is going to solve their bad life choices.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
67

65: Is there work that needs to be done in central Nevada? Veterinary care for the vultures circling that one dead mule?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
68

Speaking of Nevada, I have an old textbook from 1906 with maps of everything. On the map of the Western US there are about 30 towns identified in Nevada, and Las Vegas isn't one of them. This is a map that has Needles, CA on it. This was shocking.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
69

I hate everything. But I especially hate university administrators.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
70

I have a friend who is a high-level university administrator. She has a Ph.D. in a Humanities Subject with low job prospects. As administrators go, I think she's probably pretty good, because she certainly values scholarship and continues to teach during the summer as well as engage in research. In fact, she quietly recruited one of the top scholars in the department in which she got her Ph.D.

I think that her job would be necessary; it's been around a long time. Somebody has to smooth out the egos.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
71

67: Gold mining.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
72

Somebody has to smooth out the egos.

If only!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
73

72: She tries. Think how much worse Larry Summers could have been or some of the members of the Corporation.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
74

I hate everything. But I especially hate university administrators.

Together, we should lead the revolution, comrade! Or maybe we should just stay home and watch TV instead.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
75

Or maybe we should just stay home and watch TV instead.

I've been trying that method. It doesn't seem to be working.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
76

I've got tenure, but I'm an associate rather than full professor. So when the revolution comes, I guess the order in which people will be guillotined is administrators > Von Wafer > me > tenure track assistant professors. At that point will the adjuncts just start guillotining each other?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
77

Not before they've dug so holes in central Nevada and filled them back up again.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
78

76: It depends on whether essear or nosflow is in charge.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
79

75: How's your leg, now that you mention it? I've lost track as to whether you're post-surgery yet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
80

77: why would the adjuncts have to do that? Surely the adjuncts should be rewarded with the expropriated goods of the administrators.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
81

The administrators keep their goods buried in central Nevada and the adjuncts are conscientious about leaving as little trace as possible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
82

79 Long past surgery, a week away from getting the cast off starting to put weight on it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
83

Excellent. Walking's a good thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
84

80 Hey, they've decided which side they want to be on.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
85

83 And carrying stuff. I was in court Tuesday, and others had to carry my crap, the wife had to drive me & carry my suit to the hotel room, etc. etc. If this is what 90 ends up being like, no thank you.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
86

84: the side of … educating people? Are you basically just opposed to universities tout court?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
87

I'm an egalitarian. I believe everybody should be first against the wall when the revolution comes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
88

But then who will be left to shoot us all?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
89

But then who will be left to shoot us all?

That's what the drones are for.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
90

It's a circular wall.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
91

88: Academics have already done theoretical research into this problem.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
92

I agree with the article 100% too. I worry about the state of research as universities begin to gradually get destroyed, and then I think that it is going to be a race between our future robot overlords and the incompetence of the bureaucratic and political classes.


Posted by: tbf | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
93

Re: the rise of an administrative-managerial class at the expense of college faculty, one problem is that the contemporary university is only somewhat (only incidentally? only marginally?) about teaching students anymore.

Nowadays, it's all about strategic planning, alumni development, fundraising, and still more fundraising, and property management. The Dean of Parking (I'm just making this title up, btw, but it probably exists, or there's some title/position that comes close to its meaning, somewhere) is more important than, and has more power than, the Distinguished Chair of (insert research specialty here), because the number of available parking spaces on a college campus is a measurable problem that must be solved, or at least "managed."

It's not clear to me that teaching and research faculty, who already have their hands full pursuing research and teaching classes, have the time, the inclination, or even the relevant skill set, to take up property management, to manage the number of available parking spaces. Which is how/why the administrative-managerial class has arisen at the expense of faculty in the first place, of course. Not that this administrative-managerial class has been doing a good job, far from it, but they've been doing a job that faculty will not, or perhaps cannot, do.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
94

Take it away, Kotsko!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
95

Aren't most university administrators academics though? Like yeah the people doing the scut work in HR or Finance or whatever have MBAs but the guys making the big calls all look like academics to me - the VC, pro-VC, deans - they all seem to be current or former academics with that training and not actually products of management training.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-27-15 1:16 AM
horizontal rule
96

Or Governor of Arizona through the Dept of Homeland Security.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-27-15 1:36 AM
horizontal rule
97

Yeah that's kind of weird - but she's the first not to have been an academic in 20-odd years, I think.

I think there's like, one Russell Group university that doesn't have a former or current active academic as the Vice Chancellor (and the guy at Leeds who isn't is a medical administrator and former CE of the NHS, degree in biology.) Similar for the US, as well.

Harder to tell for the former polys, but Abertay (for instance) has a senior management team that's VC - academic, two DVCs - civil servant, academic, and a Registrar who's an archaeologist that used to work at the British Museum. Anglia Ruskin is two academics (VC & DVC) and Bath Spa has a senior management team that's 4:3 academics:non-academics, as far as I can tell at a glance.

It's harder to tell for deans and PVCs and such like because it's a bigger group and not as prominent, but I think it's similar there. And yes there's boards and the COOs and Registrars and other heads of "service" departments tend to be more likely to come from non-research positions (although lots are, and lots of the ones who aren't come from positions within the university not from outside) but those roles tend not to be the strategic leadership ones.

I dunno I just don't think that the senior leadership at Commonwealth/American universities is generally coming from people with a background in management in the sense of a generic skill, it's coming from people who were almost all trained as academics, have worked in universities or other aspects of higher education most of their working lives, and are basically just academics.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-27-15 3:10 AM
horizontal rule