Administrative Bloat–with Ohio’s Public Universities Providing the Illustration

From 1993 to 2007, enrollment increased at U.S. institutions by 14.5%. Over that same period, the number of administrators per 100 students increased by 39%, while the number of instructional personnel per 100 students increased by17.6%, or less than half the rate of increase for administrative positions. These percentages are reflected in increases in the relative costs per student related to administration and instruction. Between 1993 and 2007, instructional costs per student increased by 39%, while, over that same period, administrative costs per student increased by 66%.

Although the increases in the compensation by college and university presidents represent a neglible percentage of their institutions’ budgets, they have received a considerable amount of media attention and they do reflect the broader increases in the number of administrators and the compensation received by administrators.

I am focusing on the compensation received by presidents of Ohio’s public universities because that is the state in which I work. The numbers for 2011 do not include allocations beyond base salary, bonuses, and accrued deferred compensation, whether paid or set aside. So the bracketed information listed for 2009 has no 2011 equivalent. The deferred compensation listed under 2011 is just for that year.

■ Gordon Gee, Ohio State

2009: Total Compensation, $1,323,911: Base Salary, $802,125; Bonus, $296,786; Deferred Compensation—Paid, $225,000. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, Expense Account, and Club Dues, $495,000. Total Cost of Employment, $1,818,911, which does not include $570,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $1,992,221: Base Salary, $814,157; Bonus Pay, $296,786; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $881,278.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 1.

■ Ronald M. Berkman, Cleveland State

2009: Total Compensation, $400,000; Base Pay, $400,000. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, Expense Account, and Club Dues, $116,300. Total Cost of Employment: $516,300, which does not include $70,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $630,000: Base Salary, $400,000; Bonus Pay, $160,000; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $70,000.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 24.

■ Lester A. Lefton, Kent State University

2009: Total Compensation, $569,551: Base Salary, $412,081; Bonus, $157,470. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, and Club Dues, $115,097. Total Cost of Employment, $684,468, which does not include $25,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $571,970: Base Salary, $401,576; Bonus Pay, $170,394.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 37.

■ Lloyd A. Jacobs, University of Toledo

2009: Total Compensation, $392,700: Base Salary, $392,700. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, Expense Account, Club Dues, and Tuition Assistance, $60,706.]

2011: Total Compensation, $542,700: Base Salary, $392,700; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $150,000..

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 47.

■ Gregory Williams, University of Cincinnati

2009: Total Compensation, $333,333: Base Salary: $273,333; Bonus, $60,000. [Retirement and Provisions for House, Car, Club Dues, and Tuition Assistance, $157,082. Total Cost of Employment: 490,415, which does not include $100,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $510,000: Base Salary, $410,000; Deferred Compensation, Paid, $100,000.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 60.

■ David Hopkins, Wright State University

2009: Total Compensation, $344,448: Base Salary: $344,448. [Retirement and Provisions for House, Car, Club Dues, and Tuition Assistance, $81,205. Total Cost of Employment: $425,653, which does not include $22,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $502,088: Base Salary, $379,754; Bonus Pay, $73,334; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $50,000.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 63.

■ Luis M. Proenza, University of Akron

2009: Total Compensation: $410,000: Base Salary, 385,000; Bonus, $25,000. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, and Club Dues, $147,982. Total Cost of Employment, $557,982, which does not include $96,250 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $492,152: Base Salary, $405,000; Bonus Pay, $89,152.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 66.

■ David C. Hodge, Miami University

2009: Total Compensation, $380,000; Base Salary, $380,000. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, Spousal Compensation, $117,400. Total Cost of Employment: $497,400, which does not include $49,000 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $430,000: Base Salary, $380,000; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $50,000.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 83.

■ Roderick J. McDavis, Ohio University

2009: Total Compensation, $380,000: Base Salary, $380,000. [Retirement and Provisions for House, Car, and Spousal Compensation, $93,344. Total Cost of Employment: $473,344, which does not include $18,900 in Accrued Deferred Compensation.]

2011: Total Compensation, $429,400: Base Salary, $383,000; Deferred Compensation, Paid, $45,600.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 84.

■ Carol A. Cartwright, BGSU

2009: Total Compensation, $382,500: Base Salary, $375,000; Deferred Compensation—Paid, $7,250. [Retirement and Allocations for House, Car, Expense Account, and Club Dues, $20,000.]

2011: Total Compensation, $388,823: Base Salary, $375,000; Deferred Compensation, Set Aside, $13,823,.

Rank among Public University Presidents in the U.S.: 109.

The rankings of the presidents of Ohio’s public universities by their compensation does not, of course, match their institutions’ rankings in any survey that I have seen.

The compensation for presidents at private institutions has increased even more conspicuously. In 2011, the presidents of three public universities received compensation exceeding $1 million. In 2012, for the second straight year, there were 36 presidents of private received more than $1 million in compensation.

But, as Benjamin Ginsberg has pointed out in his seminal work The Fall of the Faculty, the real issue is the way in which resources have been shifted from instruction to administration as middle- and lower-level administrators and administrative support staff have steadily, even inexorably continued to proliferate—despite the fiscal impact of the “Great Recession.”

Continuing the focus on the public universities in my state of Ohio, between 2002 and 2012, the total employees at those universities decreased by almost 8% from 42,397 to 39,115. The biggest decline was among non-professional employees, a 29% decline from 16,995 to 12,031. That decline is largely the result of the universities’ increasingly privatizing their bookstores, dining services, custodial and maintenance services, etc.; thus, most of those eliminated positions were relatively low-paying. Over that same period, the number of administrators and administrative staff increased by 7% from 14,671 to 15,656. The number of full-time instructional faculty comparably increased, by 8%, 10,478 to 11,312. But that increase disguises a considerable shift from tenured and tenure-track faculty to non-tenure-eligible or contingent faculty. The number of tenured and tenure-eligible faculty declined by 5% from 9,101 to 8,668, while the number of non-tenure-eligible or contingent faculty increased by 92% from 1,377 to 2, 644. Over the same period, the number of part-time faculty increased by 43% from 6,924 to 9,884. And the number of graduate students increased by 11% from 12,727 to 14,116. Except for this last category which would not be applicable, I suspect that all of these trends will be all the more evident among the statistics for the state’s 23 community colleges.

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