Last night, I wrote this post about the CCAP’s study showing how overbloated America’s public universities have an overabundance of administrators.

It’s time to start exposing specific local examples of those excesses. The first example I’ll cite is the MnSCU HQ staff. According to the organizational chart, 80 people are employed in MnSCU’s Academic and Student Affairs Division. According to the organizational chart, there are 7 associate vice chancellors and 22 directors. These are senior management positions, with salaries easily north of $150,000 each.

That isn’t surprising considering the fact that CCAP’s report notes that it’s part of a systemic problem:

A few decades ago, few universities had more than a small centralized public relations staff. The typical mid- to large-sized school today has PR people in units throughout the university. Similarly, the number of people involved in affirmative action, diversity coordination, or serving as multi-cultural specialists has soared. As the nation shows continued and often spectacular progress in eliminating the vestiges of discrimination, is it still necessary to have all of these people? Do campuses really need to hire sustainability coordinators? Do they need associate provosts or vice presidents for international affairs? All of these types of jobs simply did not exist 40 years ago.

A related problem is the explosion in salaries, particularly for senior administrators. Even five years ago, $500,000 was considered an extremely high salary for a university president, whereas today a growing number make $1 million or more. Chief financial officers of universities that made $175,000 five years ago often make $300,000 or more today.

With information like that, it isn’t difficult to picture administrators’ salaries as being the primary driver of tuition increases.

I wrote here about UC-Berkeley’s “Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion.” I’d love to write about the outrageous titles given to SCSU administrators but, according to this webpage, SCSU doesn’t have a webpage for their administrators. Here’s what is on their website instead:

Master’s Program
Doctoral Program
Summer Institute
Education Abroad
Events & Dates
Project Reports
Related Links
Contact Info

If faculty are listed, why aren’t administrators listed? In fact, parents, students and other taxpayers should have greater access to financial information. They deserve to know how their money is getting spent.

There’s no excuse why SCSU’s website doesn’t list the administrators’ job titles. There’s no excuse why universities shouldn’t have an organizational chart, showing who’s in administration and what they’re responsible for. I don’t mean the euphemism-filled blurbs that the universities use to hide what people do. These descriptions should be detailed in terms of assignment.

In fact, all of the universities, community colleges and tech colleges in MnSCU should list this information on their websites.

Parents, students and other taxpayers should know what their money is buying. Most importantly, Minnesota’s taxpayers are right in demanding greater transparency and accountability from MnSCU’s executives. If MnSCU’s executives won’t voluntarily improve in terms of transparency and accountability, then We The People will demand it legislatively.

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3 Responses to “Exposing MnSCU’s administrator problem”

  • Jeffrey Wood says:

    St. Cloud State’s online org chart lists the university’s administrators:

  • a lowly employee says:

    Like all state employees, our salaries are made available, thanks to our local media outlets who do the heavy lifting to get access to this.

    For what it’s worth, and not saying you don’t have lots of good points, but if anyone else was entitled to a particular benefit and they didn’t receive it, they’d be in court suing for it. But if you work for a public entity, you’re a crook for accepting part of your compensation package.

    Also, consider many of us could make much more by working in the private sector. We’re not here for fat cash, we’re here because we believe in supporting one of the strongest education systems in the nation. And if you compare the former chancellor’s compensation for leading a $2B dollar system, versus Bill Kling’s compensation of more than double McCormick’s while leading a $32M dollar public radio organization, or _any_ CEO’s compensation over a $2B org, you get a more realistic picture of who “extravagant” it is.

    Finally, we as a system have received cuts every year save the 2008/2009 legislative funding increase, much of which was later unallocated by the governor. But we’re still working to increase efficiency, reduce overhead and get more done with less. And I think Chancellor Rosenstone will make that apparent and public as he begins instituting some sweeping changes to both the system office and the institutions across the state. I think these changes will increase the transparency that many (including myself, an employee within the system) and others, like your readers, are demanding. That’s my hope, at least…

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