Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where Does the Money Go? The Metastatic Growth of our Administration

I do not think it a coincidence that the president and his various sycophants want to talk about a non-issue like the Faculty Senate. If they can whip up some faux outrage over the alleged abuses of that body, the real problems of the university might be forgotten. Things like declining enrollments, continuing fiscal irregularities, inadequate fund raising, faculty disaffection and abysmal media relations really do not matter now that the administration has finally discovered that the Senate has reorganized itself.

One issue that has received inadequate attention is the one about money here at Chicago State. To what is the Watson administration committed? Where has it spent the university’s money? What segments of the university have grown? How much?

Just in case you do not feel like wading through the following statistics, I will summarize my findings for you: During a period in which Chicago State’s enrollment declined 15.6 percent and faculty positions remained basically stable, Wayne Watson increased the administrative ranks by 21 percent, and the upper administrative ranks (Assistant VP and above) by 44 percent. The share of administrative salaries rose from 25 percent of the total to 29 percent during that time and the average salary of upper administrators increased over 31 percent.

The Chicago State Internal Operating Budget provides evidence of how the university allocates and spends funds. A comparison between the salary expenditures for fiscal 2008-09 and fiscal 2012-13 provides a focused picture of Wayne Watson’s spending and offers a view of an administration committed to expanding its own ranks.

This look at salaries reveals that the Watson administration, between 2009 and 2013, dramatically increased the number of administrative positions, and spent 21 percent more on administrative salaries than its predecessor. At the beginning of Watson’s presidency in 2009, the administration spent $56.3 million for salaries in the school’s four major budget divisions: President, Academic Affairs, Finance, and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. In 2012-13, that figure had risen to nearly $58.7 million, a modest 4.3 percent increase. The expenditures broke down as follows: in 2009, 195 budgeted administrative positions cost nearly $14 million; 307 budgeted positions for teaching faculty (234 tenure or tenure-track) cost $19.8 million, and the university spent $21.8 million on salaries for staff. In July 2013, the numbers looked like this: 236 administrative positions cost nearly $17.1 million, 312 faculty positions (233 tenure or tenure-track) cost $20.7 million, while staff salaries cost $20.3 million. Overall, between 2009 and 2013, the number of administrative positions increased 21 percent while the cost for administrative salaries rose 21 percent. Faculty numbers increased 1.6 percent, with an aggregate salary increase of 4.5 percent, while aggregate staff salaries decreased 6.9 percent. In 2009, administrative salaries represented nearly 25 percent of the total salary expenditures, with faculty at 35.4 percent and staff at 38.9 percent. By 2013, the administrative percentage of total salaries had risen to 29 percent while faculty dropped slightly to 35.3 percent and staff had declined to 34.6 percent.

The total number of administrators outside Academic Affairs has increased substantially. In 2009, 119 of the 195 total administrative positions (61 percent) existed in Academic Affairs. By 2013, the 124 administrative positions in Academic Affairs represented 52.5 percent of the total of 236 administrative positions. Thus, the number of administrative jobs in non-academic areas increased to 112 in 2013, up from 76 in 2009, a gain of 47.4 percent. The changes in the number of administrative positions demonstrate how the university is beefing up its administrative ranks. Between 2009 and 2013, the President’s office increased from 31 positions to 40, Academic Affairs from 119 to 124, Administration and Finance from 15 to 16, and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs from 30 to 56. The aggregate salary changes are also marked: The President’s Office from $2.6 to $3.4 million, Academic Affairs from $8.8 million to $8.9 million, Administration and Finance from $1.1 million to $1.3 million, and Enrollment Management from nearly $1.6 million to $3.4 million.

An increase in upper administrative positions came along with the overall increase in administrative jobs. At the beginning of Watson’s presidency, the university possessed 76 positions at or above the rank of assistant director (or its equivalent). In the latest iteration of the budget book, that number has risen to 87, an increase of 14.5 percent. In addition, the number of positions at or above the level of assistant vice president has grown from 9 to 13, a 44.4 percent growth rate. The average salary of these upper-level administrators has also grown dramatically. In 2009, the 9 assistant vice presidents and above earned an average of $104,004 per year. Four years later, that average had risen 31.3 percent, to $136,511.

As I noted earlier, this administrative expansion occurs against a backdrop of disastrous declines in the university’s enrollment. Most notable is the increase in size of the Enrollment Management portion of the university. Despite expanding its personnel by nearly 100 percent and more than doubling its salary expenditures between 2009 and 2013, the office and its enrollment managers have been unable to stem the exodus of students from Chicago State. On August 20, 1940, Winston Churchill paid homage to the British Royal Air Force and its heroic defense of Great Britain by saying “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” With apologies to Mr. Churchill, at Chicago State, it seems fair to say of our upper administration that never have so many been paid so much to achieve so little.


  1. AH! The sledgehammer of the opposition weighs in again.

  2. This is quite possibly the most beautifully thing ever written in the history of writing.