California fact of the day

Data available from the UC Office of the President shows that there were 2.5 faculty members for each senior manager in the UC system in 1993. Now there are as many senior managers as faculty.  Just think: Each professor could have his or her personal senior manager.

And there is this:

A report on administrative growth by the UCLA Faculty Association estimated that UC would have $800 million more each year if senior management had grown at the same rate as the rest of the university since 1997, instead of four times faster.

What could we do with $800 million? That is the total amount of the state funding cuts for 2008-09 and 2009-10, and four times the savings of the employee furloughs. Consider this: UC revenue from student fees has tripled in the last eight years. The ratio of state general fund revenue to student fee revenue in 1997 was 3.6:1. Last year it was 1.9:1. If we used that $800 million to reduce student fees, the ratio would go back to the 1997 value. To put another way, it could pay the educational fees for 100,000 resident undergraduates.

Here is more.  For the pointer I thank David Colquhoun.


What is the normal ratio of management to faculty for American higher education institutions? I never know when I read things like this whether the organization is reverting to the mean or diverging from it. This sounds like a divergence but I really have no idea.

Heather Mac Donald writes in City Journal:

Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

You realize, of course, that this sort of thing is pretty much legally required.

E.g., UCSD, feds agree on racial harassment settlement

Our political culture is such, that when students hold a private off-campus party engaged in racial stereotyping, the university is required to create a Diversity Office.

A UCSD spokesperson admitted to me that the noose was the work of a person of color. But, the Obama Administration's motto must be: "Never let a hate hoax go to waste."

Obama has absolutely nothing to do with the incident at San Diego.

See JN above:"E.g., UCSD, feds agree on racial harassment settlement"

"The university had already made moves after the incident (emphasis added), 22 of which were delineated in the 17-page agreement, including the development of the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination where bias, harassment and discrimination complaints can be filed and the creation of a campus council on climate, equity and inclusion."

The Obama Administration is just pushing on an unlocked door. University administrations routinely exploit hate hoaxes, as UCSD did. Here's my 2002 article about the hate hoax at Claremont, which the university administration responded to with a giant night rally of black shirted students shouting slogans about hate (I wonder if it gave nonagenerian Claremont prof Peter Drucker heart palpitations), even though the administration already knew that the incident was a hoax propagated by a professor trying to frame her own students for a hate crime!

Paranoid fever dreams inspired by scattered anecdotes do not make a 'routine.'

Dear GIT:

You haven't been paying much attention, have you?

"You haven’t been paying much attention, have you?"

I suspect I'd hear the same line from Alex Jones on UFOs, a Raelian on lizard people, LaRouche on the CFR, and a neo-Nazi on Jewish bankers.

Again, offer more than scattered anecdotes if you'd like anyone other than the converted to believe that this is somehow a 'routine.'

With Rev. Al Sharpton back in the news, I'm wondering what % of even professional journalists are familiar with the two-word term "hate hoax"? Maybe this is all Sapir-Whorfy, but once you're familiar with the term "hate hoax," all of a sudden you start noticing patterns and get less surprised by how "Hate on Campus" news stories so often peter out. And yet, the press seems to be a sucker for each new hate hoax that comes along.

Good stuff Steve. Pity only you and the other racists know the truth about those evil, conniving minorities.

UC San Diego is only about 30% white among undergrads.

...because it's 55% Asian.

Correct, Asians don't count as a minority.

They don't count as an underrepresented minority within the UC system.

With only 30% of UC San Diego undergrads white, doesn't that make *whites* statistically under-represented? I know under federal law, whites don't get any protection under "disparate impact", but certainly that shouldn't stop a state school....

White students are underrepresented (relative to the state population, where non-hispanic whites stand at 40%) at UCSD because eligible white students are less likely to apply to the UC than other students in general, and once accepted white students are less likely to accept admission to the UC than other students in general.

The reverse is the case for Asian students, who are more likely to apply to the UC if eligible, and more likely to accept if admitted.

To put it differently, white kids would probably rather go to small liberal arts colleges. (A preference likely stemming from cultural and social capital tied to racial factors)

I'm no fan of this obvious waste, yet to put things in perspective, the "diversity" related paper-pushers are only a small fraction of university bloat.

Universities function in such weird ways, it's a mystery e.g. All purchases were supposed to have no tax added. Unfortunately many online vendors had no way (or interest) in doing all the paperwork needed for this. As a result, to save 5% on tax, we often ended buying products that were priced 30% higher merely because the higher price vendor was willing to tax exempt us. Sigh.

Spot on Rahul. Being that I was involved some in student life in college, this type of stuff happens all of the time. Also, because of the hassle, certain vendors get an in with a given college or two, then use the monopoly power to jack up prices.

I'd like to see somebody investigate outright corruption in choosing approved vendors. What is the point of requiring departments to use approved vendors, anyway, rather than lower-priced unapproved ones? There must be something in it for someone.

Don't forget women-and-minority-owned-business set-asides. There's an entire cottage industry around universities of professional middlemen whose "business" consists of a person or two in a home office who do nothing but forward orders for drop-shipping from the real vendors.

Sbard's got it. A Taiwanese friend and I used to have a computer store in LA, and we figured out quickly that if we set up his ownership stake in the name of his wife and gave her 51% of the stake, it would be a "minority woman-owned business". We did lots of business with colleges, jails, firehouses, etc because we did. (In those days, Chinese were still considered "underrepresented")

One other thing: because it took so long for government entities to actually take delivery of their computers, we'd bid under current cost to win the deals. Between asking for bids and actually placing orders, a year or more could elapse, and the hardware configurations they'd asked for would have fallen by half or more in price, so we'd make a nice profit. (We couldn't even give a discount if we wanted to since the PO had to be tied to a bid, etc.)

It takes a remarkable lack of perspective -- and a real desire to blame "diversity" -- to think that the UC has a "massive" diversity apparatus, or that these positions are "sinecures." They have deans and chancellors and sub-deans and sub-chancellors for *everything,* which is exactly the problem; we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of postions, each with large support staffs. You'd think, reading that list of positions in that article, that each of those titles is a dedicated position, but that's because that writer is trying to manipulate you; "faculty equity advisors," for example, are just regular professors who also serve another function. What people like Heather MacDonald object to is not the overemphasis on diversity, but any emphasis at all. And the idea that these offices have been uniquely protected from budget cuts is both palpably false, and a dodge from the main problem, which is that *all* administrative bloat (of which "diversity" makes up a tiny, tiny part) is protected from cuts.

So why is any of it needed? Is the UC system so rife with white racists that a corrective diversity apparatus is required?

Every minute that a "regular professor" is spending worrying about diversity is a minute that professor does not spend on academic pursuits. That means that spending part of their time on "diversity" means less teaching by professors and more teaching by contract faculty or adjuncts.

This deserves more attention.

Perhaps the UC system could create an office to study it at each institution.

Yes we need a Department of Redundancy Department.

This seems way more important than belly-aching about tenure.

Tenure is because professors can't be managed. So why would there be "managers?" I realize they aren't really managing professors, and if they are, that's a big problem.

It's not 'California fact of the day', it's 'Academia fact of the day'. I am in the Midwest and saw exactly the same changes on campus for the past 20 years. And the growth is not only in senior administrators but also in general "office" employees - their numbers increase at a rate more than twice that of faculty.

I'll second that, coming from another Midwest University. What makes it worse (in my perception) is that the office staff and administrators tended to be the dregs. The best ones got way better salaries in the private sector. Accountability was close to zero.

This is what a self-licking ice cream cone looks like.

I beg to differ cousin. It ain't gonna lick itself.

UCLA is showing the way forward, as lowering the interest rate on student loans as our President has been proposing around the country will resolve the issue of high unemployment for liberal arts graduates. Students will then be able to afford the higher tuition that universities need to pay the salaries of urgently needed diversity officers, equity officers, title X auditors, and equal opportunity deans.

Employment for all!

It takes years of effort to getyourself into a position where the first line item on the budget is your salary.

Obviously higher taxes are the only rational solution.

It's shocking that universities haven't harnessed technology to streamline bureaucracy. Many services at UC campuses require an office visit (in some cases, several different office visits) to get issues resolved. To complete my hiring paperwork I had to visit three bureaucrats to 1) determine eligibility, 2) fill out paperwork, and 3) provide a voided check to setup a direct deposit to my bank account. All this could have been filled out online, and then signed once in person.

yes, absolutely shocking

In a Capt Louis Renault kind of way.

Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the definition of "shocking" (causing indignation or disgust). Let me break that down further by defining indignation: "anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment."

You are assuming that this behavior isn't intentional. I assure you it is.

Can we end this Tom Friedmanesque narrative of "its just a liberal arts problem?" The unemployment rate for recent engineering graduates is 7.5% Bio-Tech was a booming field until the bubble burst and I am sure the unemployment rate for biology majors is pretty high too. The unemployment rate for ALL majors jumped because the economy sucks. The unemployment rate for English majors, was 6.7%. Not recent college grads mind you, so not directly comparable, but tells me that liberal arts majors were able to get jobs prior to the recession.

And as far as those student loans go, the largest share of that money isn't going to English majors at liberal arts schools (if would just take a step back and think about your moronic narrative, you'd realize that it would take about 30 Liberal arts schools to equal the size of one UT-Austin, they do not have the size in numbers to drag everyone down) its going to for-profit universities. Unfortunately the Friedman narrative requires that we attack a fictional guy in tight jeans at some school in Vermont as causing a student debt crisis. Sorry, the problem is with the marginal students attending the University of Phoenix. But its impossible that the private sector be a part of the problem right?

The problem is the student loans.

Yes, because student loans didn’t exist prior to this problem.

But I guess if you’re right, its only fitting that Milton Friedman, would be to blame for this. Another right-wing economic “idea” that’s happened to suck.

Yes - it's not just some liberal arts problem. Thank you. In fact if you go to the right school a lot of these liberal arts people end up doing extremely well. The people around here love to blame the youth for majoring in the "wrong" fields but math, science, and engineering are not leading to great careers for most people either.

Maybe this is true, but to demonstrate it one needs to look beyond raw unemployment numbers. How many graduates of each field are actually employed in their field, or at least employed in jobs that require a college degree?

I don't know about math and science, but I don't all the engineers I know are doing fine, sampling bias notwithstanding. It's nothing against liberal arts or science and math majors. The principal is pretty simple. Learn to do real things for real people. Engineering does this.

"look beyond raw unemployment numbers"

Right, separate out the human capital. Maybe English majors are smarter and employed in government services or teachers. We can assume that noone will ever perform that study.

And no, engineering doesn't have the same unemployment rate. But so what if everyone is equally unemployed? You can be unemployed just as comfortably with an engineering degree as an English degree.

It's anecdata, sure. But whenever I see the unemployment numbers of STEM v liberal arts, I remember the legions of my liberal arts friends who are nominally employed in secretarial work (the majority) and as baristas (the saddest). I have never had the guy at Subway tell me about his structural engineering degree.

There is data addressing underemployment and unemployment of recent college graduates by major. (

"College graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities were among the least likely to find jobs appropriate to their education level; those with nursing, teaching, accounting or computer science degrees were among the most likely."

Yes, because student loans didn't exist prior to this problem.

But I guess if you're right, its only fitting that Milton Friedman, would be to blame for this. Another right-wing economic "idea" that's happened to suck.

Evidence for the higher ed bubble.

Bubble? Nearly every OECD country has made significant improvements in its college educated population over the last 30 years, except the US. Even Mexico and Turkey. What kind of bubble is this where attendance figures stay flat, yet higher education costs 50% more?

Um... the kind of bubble you see in every single other kinds of bubbles. Remember bubbles are about prices.

Also, you are incorrect. Attendance figures are not flat.

"Nearly every OECD country has made significant improvements in its college educated population over the last 30 years": oh bollocks. The college-educated population in Britain, for example, is clearly worse educated than it was 30 years ago.

The implicit metric was numbers. Of course when you move towards educating the marginal student, you're going to reduce overall performance of both the educated and non-educated populations. It's one of those strange statistical phenomena.

"Nearly every OECD country has made significant improvements in its college educated population over the last 30 years, except the US."

This is wrong. In fact it's not even close to correct. The percentage of college educated population has been steadily increasing in the US (from roughly 15% in 1980 to roughly 25% in 2010).

The problem is indeed national and has been going on since at least the late 60s. The faculty/student ratio has not changed at all since then nationwide, but both the staff/student and administrator/student ratios have risen relentlessly throughout all that period. Given that faculty salaries have risen at about the same rate as salaries in general, the rising tuition problem is clearly largely due to the rise of both staff and administrators relative to others in higher ed. Of course, it is the rising tuitions, moving up more rapidly than inflation (along with health care) that is what is behind the rise in student loans.

It's a simultaneous-equation system, actually. More people want to attend the better colleges, so they raise the tuition. As a result, people lobby for more student loans. When Congress increases the ease of getting a student loan, that pushes out the demand curve for college degrees again, so colleges raise tuition again.

Also, once student loans get easier, students going to low-quality colleges use them too. So in the second round of the process, even low-quality colleges raise their tuition, and entry or expansion occurs as fast as the Establishment will allow it.

As a "loyal reader" of Marginal Revolution and chair of the UCSB history department, I couldn't believe these statistics--there is no way we have a 1:1 ratio of managers to faculty at UCSB. The trend here has been the opposite--we have been clustering staff to eliminate managerial positions. The article that Tyler links to is vague (to put it kindly), and the author provides no data analysis (a big red flag), so I took a look at the underlying statistics at It is hard to tell what the author did here, but one the things that jumped out at me is that the only medical campus (UCSF) has 1,294 "Senior Managers" (under the title "SMG+MSP") and only 341 full-time faculty members in 2011. There are four other medical schools in the UC system, but they are connected to other campuses (like UCLA), so we don't have independent data, but my sense is that big university hospitals have a lot of managers, a lot of staff, a lot of researchers, and relatively few faculty members. Take away the medical schools, in other words, and the picture changes dramatically. The idea of big and wasteful university bureaucracy is appealing to both the Left (administrators are sell-outs looking for big bucks) and the Right (the public sector is always inefficient), which is probably why nobody has bothered to actually fact-check the story.

Regardless of the raw numbers, wouldn't the overall trend still hold true even if you excluded the medical schools? I suppose it's possibly that they had extremely fast growth in managers while the rest had 0, but that seems unlikely.

Prof. Majewski,

I'm certain that you're right that a large portion of this is associated with the medical schools, but wouldn't you also agree that UC has a large central system bureaucracy in the President's office and that this central bureaucracy is often actually a drag on both teaching and research? I can recall already back in the early 1980s that many faculty found themselves having to account to the system for every hour spent and every activity they did, and then having to do the same for some other office at system in a completely different format. Wouldn't you also agree that the number of bureaucrats at individual campuses associated with providing student non-academic services has also increased dramatically?

Thank you for your data.

If you exclude medical, what does the data show. Does it include faculty who have no load and are administrators.

Andy: I'm not sure. There has been a tremendous increase in medical spending since 1996 (the first year included in the "study"), so it seems plausible that hiring of managers at medical schools has outpaced the rest of the system.

GW: There may well be too many managers in the UCs and elsewhere in high education, but it should be treated as a question. As I said in my initial post, I see the trend going in the opposite direction, and the UCs are trying to be more efficient and using fewer managers (which, btw, is a broad category that includes everything from departmental office managers to high level UCOP administrators). I'm happy to be proven wrong, but the study Tyler refers to doesn't do that, and it strikes me as deeply suspicious, yet has passed without critical comment here.

Bill: The UCOP data doesn't provide separate counts for medical centers connected with particular campuses, so that can't be done (though I'm sure that each campus provides a breakdown somewhere).

"The UCOP data doesn’t provide separate counts for medical centers connected with particular campuses, so that can’t be done (though I’m sure that each campus provides a breakdown somewhere)."

There's a simple enough way to take a rough look at this: compare the (SMG and MSP):(Ladder Rank Faculty) numbers at non med school UCs (SB, SC, and Merced - and Berkeley, if you discount its Optometry program) to those with med schools.


No Med School

Merced: 146:128 (1.14:1)
SB: 336:752 (1:2.22)
SC: 322:489 (1:1.51)
Berkeley: 1073:1222 (1:1.14)
Non Med School Total: 1877:2591 (1:1.38)

Med School and Letters and Sciences:

Davis: 883:1232 (1:1.39)
Irvine: 733:1036 (1:1.41)
LA: 2081:1749 (1.19:1)
Riverside: 238:556 (1:2.34)
SD: 1108:1076 (1.03:1)
Med School + CLS Total: 5043:5649 (1:1.12)

Med School Only:
SF: 1417:371 (3.82:1)

Add in the non-campus arms:
UCOP: 591:2 (295.5:1)
DofAandNR: 336:752 (1:2.24)

Systemwide: 8955:8615 (1.04:1)
Systemwide w/o UCSF: 7538:8244 (1:1.09)

Could you explain what you are doing here? What do SMG and MSP mean?

SMG and MSP are the management group categories. SMG = Senior Management Group. MSP = Management and Senior Professionals.

All I did was give the ratios of SMG + FSP to Ladder Rank Faculty members for each campus.

FSP should be MSP.

GiT: Are you, with the MSP group, including computer tech support, programmers, etc., in addition to managers? Are the groups SMG and MSP limited to managers or is that simply a pay grade designation?

I'm including whatever the category includes. I don't have data dis-aggregated by job title or anything, though one could go through a lot of trouble and rig up numbers through this site: Here is a list of job titles however, and yes, IT professional is included, as are various medical positions.

I was just trying to illustrate differences between campuses with med schools and campuses without med schools:

Great point. Medical schools should be looked at separately. Are they counting hospital administrators as university senior managers?

It's plausible, though, that manager bloat has afflicted the academic parts of medical schools-- I can't guess whether more severely than the rest of the universities or not. And some of this is even justified--- the number of computer and tech staffers grows all the time. The real question is how much growth there is in truly non-academic functions unconnected with teaching or research. A lot of this is probably affirmative action+ human-subjects-research + sustainability + community relations + deanlets. A lot of it is probably devoted to student life--- gay/Asian/Kazakh/handicapped staffers, managers of luxury swimming pools and weight rooms, athletic tutoring, etc.

Rather than focus on managers, I feel a better reflection of inefficiency is the ratio of academic to non-academic staff. What's that metric for UCSB?

Actually, just focus on making independent on-line education as good and plentiful as it can be.

Easy enough to figure out by looking at the links.

UCSB in 2011 - 1.54:1 Non Academic:Academic

PSS + SMG + MSP = 3650
Academic Staff = 2364

Systemwide - 2.31:1

Non Academic = 95977
Academic = 41565

UCSB in 2000 - 1.63:1

PSS + SMG + MSP = 3382
Academic Staff = 2068

Systemwide - 2.43:1

Non Academic - 77013
Academic - 31664

UCSB in 1993 - 1.80:1

A & PS + Staff + Executive + MAP = 3087
Academic Staff = 1712

Systemwide - 2.40:1

Non Academic: 65810
Academic: 27645

Thanks! And that, i feel is the root of the problem. We have too many supporting staff and too few core staff. And this in a day when there's no typists, doormen, message-boys etc. A lot of the work of supporting staff can and should be automated or outsourced.

The other problem is that much of the non-core staff tends to be inefficient simply because, say, your plumbers can't be a priority if you are a University. The quality of response to plumbing, electrical, and such assorted complaints was abysmal in my experience. These functions would have been way cheaper if outsourced to an external specialized agency.

It would take looking at all the campus data to know for sure, but I wonder what's keeping systemwide ratios constant. As can be seen, UCSB decreased its ratios. I wonder if that is a trend across non med-school affiliated campuses. Some entity has to be compensating for the UCSB decrease.

Give the money back to the taxpayers from whom it was stolen. This article shows the fallacy of Baumol's "cost disease."

This is shocking. My private, liberal arts college has about 1 senior manager per 14 faculty members.

But how many non senior managers? I can guarantee that over time the ration of faculty to non-faculty in your private liberal arts paradise is decreasing.

Not that many actually. We are small and lean, so very few here are in managerial positions. We are, however, unusual in the sector.

Here's a helpful interview with David Bernstein on administrative blight and his newish book on “the fall of the faculty”:

"I wanted to emphasize a major shift that’s been underway for several decades. Deans have an academic background. Years ago, they were part-time and always part of the faculty. This is extremely important because, like the faculty, they saw the university as an instrument of teaching and scholarship. Today, we have a cadre of professional administrators. I called them deanlets to give emphasis to the difference. They either have no faculty background or they decided early in their careers that their talents lay elsewhere. To them, what used to be the means is now the end. Instead of an institution serving teaching and scholarship, teaching and scholarship serve the institution."

It is likely that the same problem exists in the public school system as well.

The ratio of administration staff to teachers just keeps on increasing.

Well I don't see why everyone should be so surprised. The right has spent years glorifying managers and bureaucrats as visionary entrepreneurs and innovators and holding up the MBA as a credential worthy of veneration and intellectual respect. Surprise Surprise as this diseases spreads everywhere.

Clearly, it was the evil republicans (more like rethuglicans, amirite?) who are responsible for this. Heartless conservatives love the idea of tons of Assistant Co-Chancellor of Inclusiveness and Diversity positions. That's why the right-wing conservatives who control universities created those positions. Or, wait, is it that the universities are just so *enamored* of the ideas of their right-wing mentors, that they really had no choice? And what percentage of these inclusiveness mandarins would you guess have MBAs, as opposed to degrees in left-wing agitation, (like gender-studies/race-studies/gay-studies)?

I suspect many of them have MBAs are many many fewer have degrees in those boogyman subjects like women's studies. The Exultation of the manager is a core right-wing tenant and has spread like a virus to all organizations. Even managers are non-profits pull down absurd salaries these days.

Managerialism is much more of a left-liberal concept, although both sides are complicit. The right tends to over-glorify entrepreneurs and investors more than managers. The belief in solving problems through ever-growing bureaucracy is much more rooted in FDR-LBJ New Deal/Great Society alphabet soup than in some kind of conservative worship of middle-managers.

No, the right mistakes managers for entrepreneurs. So many of the people who get trotted out by the right and hailed as visionaries, "job creators", entrepreneurs tend to be nothing more then MBA wielding corporate bureaucrats who worked their way up playing the office politics game.

I'd guess approximately 0% of these "mandarins" have degrees in "left-wing agitation".

Easy enough to find out, however:

I've been a frequent critic of UC management, but these conclusions don't pass the smell test. The faculty report at points to data at that do not break out managers. A link from that page to does break out mangers but does not show the alleged conversion in FTE between faculty and senior managers. Indeed it shows 7 faculty for each SMG member. What am I missing here?

You seem to be missing quite a lot.

Managers are broken out in the first link

How are you getting a 7:1 ratio?

The link you point to as evidence of a 7:1 ratio does not contain any data on faculty. There is a 6.5:1 ratio between "academic" positions and SMG & MSP positions.

But the comparison is between ladder rank faculty positions and SMG & MSP positions. That data is clearly available from the headcount/fte site, and it shows convergence and ultimately supercession.

2011: 8956:8615
2002: 5713:7743
1994: 2804:7061

(In 1996, Executive & MAP was recleassifed to SMG & MSP)

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