Thursday, January 29, 2015

Administrative Bloat Plagues Chicago State: The Colleges

A few days ago, I detailed the growth of Chicago State’s upper administrative ranks despite the school’s continued enrollment declines. Administrators on the university’s academic side have also mushroomed. A look at the various Dean’s offices demonstrates this.

Comparing the student enrollment in the various colleges in Fall 2010 with student enrollments in Spring 2015, and comparing the salary expenditures for the respective Dean’s offices during the same time period reveals a disjuncture similar to the one I noted previously in the non-academic administrative ranks.

In 2010 (Fiscal Year 2011), the Dean’s offices in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Pharmacy and the University Library included 10 upper-level administrative employees: 4 Deans, 3 Associate Deans, 1 Assistant Dean and one Assistant to the Dean. Aggregate salaries for these 10 employees: $1,154,652. In the fiscal 2015 budget, the number of positions in the College Dean’s offices had mushroomed to 17, including 6 Deans, 6 Associate Deans, 1 Assistant Dean and 4 Assistants to the Dean. Aggregate salaries for these 17 employees: $1,915,528. Percentage increases work out to a 70 percent increase in the number of employees and a 66 percent increase in salary expenditures.

These increases do not seem warranted given the precipitous declines in enrollment the school has experienced since 2010. Here are the figures: enrollment in the College of Arts and Sciences has dropped from 2549 students in Fall 2010 to 2036 students on January 16, 2015, a decrease of 20.1 percent; enrollment in the College of Business has dropped from 714 to 528, a decline of 26.1 percent; enrollment in the College of Education has plummeted from 1391 to 635, a decline of 54.3 percent; enrollment in the College of Health Sciences has declined from 1023 to 759, a drop of 25.8 percent, while enrollment in the College of Pharmacy has actually increased from 266 to 340, a growth rate of 27.8 percent (with the caveat that the College’s enrollment has declined since Fall 2013 from 358 to 340, a decrease of 5 percent).

Now I certainly do not begrudge any of these persons their jobs and I assuredly have no desire to join their ranks, but I have to ask: how does the president of this university justify such an outlandish expansion of administrative employees while the university sheds student by the thousands? Yesterday’s enrollment stood at 4751 students, a drop of 35.5 percent since Fall 2010. If the number and salaries for administrators had mirrored the university’s enrollment changes, here is what the numbers would look like:

The number of high-level administrators outside of the colleges would have been reduced from 45 to 29 with the salary expenditures decreasing from $4.47 million to $2.93 million. Instead, they have swollen to 57 with aggregate salaries of $5.9 million. By the same token, the college administrative numbers would have been reduced 10 to 7, with salaries decreasing from $1.15 million to $753,000. Instead, those numbers have risen to 17 administrators at an aggregate salary of $1.9 million. Why?

Based on my admittedly unsophisticated mathematical calculations, I estimate that the university is now spending at least $3.8 million more on administrators in support units and the various colleges than it spent in 2010. All this in a school with 2600 fewer students than it had then. Again, why? What, exactly, are all these people administering?


  1. What they are administering is the failure of the University, and while they are doing it, they are feathering their own nests.

  2. Here's a "modest proposal": for every faculty and staff cut the Prezvost has to cut an administrative position. Or, begin the university cut backs by rescinding the 19-22% raises that were given out to members of the upper administration a couple of years ago. Now that would be an act of good faith.