The author, Frederik deBoer, sounds a call of alarm about the "constantly expanding layer of university administrator jobs...," writing "It's not unheard of for colleges now to employ more senior administrators than professors... This legion of bureaucrats enables a world of pitiless surveillance; no segment of campus life, no matter how small, does not have some administrator who worries about it... like Niketown or Disneyworld, your average college campus now leaves the distinct impression of a one-party state."
- increased government regulations and mandates requiring new training and certification programs, greater auditing and supervisory requirements
- a need to grow tuition revenue by increasing enrollment of both domestic and international students and the concomitant creation and management of new educational programs, including the need for greater information technology support for online programs, and more recruiting, admissions, advising and support staff for the increased enrollments
- fundraising for the endowment and new programs from private, corporate donors, fueled in part (at least at public universities) by reduced public support for higher education
- security concerns, at least on some campuses.
For all these reasons, I don't see this trend towards increased administrator hiring on campuses being halted or reversed dramatically anytime soon, nor am I sure there is merit in a blanket protest against this trend on principle alone given the many extraneous, environmental factors that may be contributing to it. In reflecting on my own experiences, I can see the genuine value and improvements that hiring a cadre of professional and capable administrators can bring in service of both students and faculty.
At the same time, I think deBoer and Schultz are right in bringing the growth in numbers of administrative staff to our attention and in calling for greater awareness of their impact on every aspect of campus life, both inside and outside the classroom.
On social media, I also saw someone share the following comment on deBoer's essay (included here with apologies for incomplete/insufficient attribution --- I couldn't determine the identity of the original writer):