University of Minnesota - Duluth history professor Scott Laderman, whom I interviewed earlier this month for a piece on impending budget cuts there, recently gave a talk about administrative and academic spending.
Being a faculty-union official, you can imagine his take. He mentioned newspaper articles that have been critical about spending at the U, including last December's Wall Street Journal article that suggested administrative bloat at the school.
He gave some statistics on how the Duluth campus shapes up:
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"What we see at UMD ... is an underrepresentation of faculty and and an overrepresentation of administrators and staff. ... We may not be as bloated as the Twin Cities (campus), but we don't seem to be doing well by national standards."
Two of the items he mentioned: Duluth executives have received percentage raises that are three times what faculty have received; and the campus has more administrators per student than the national average.
At the 12:40 mark -- the middle third or so on page 5 -- he provides striking salary data:
"According to data collected by another of my colleagues using the reported salaries associated with administrative job codes, the percentage increase in salaries going to top administrators has been far higher than that of faculty.
From 2006 to 2012, the top-level administrators at UMD (the chancellor, the vice chancellors, the associate vice chancellors, the deans, and the associate deans) saw their salaries increase 29%. Now this does not include augmentations. This is just base salaries.
Conversely, faculty saw their salaries increase over that same period roughly 10% , which is well below the 16% that would have been necessary just to keep up with inflation."
Laderman did caution that the data can be hard to decipher -- and U officials have repeatedly said the federal data is flawed.
But at the 11:10 mark (the last third of page 4), he compares staffing levels per student.
He says the national average for faculty at four-year public institutions is eight faculty per 100 full-time-equivalent students. UMD, by comparison, has a 5:1 ratio.
The national average for administrators and staff at 4-year public institutions is six per 100 full-time-equivalent students. UMD, he says, has 8:4.
(The video is above, and his notes are below. It's not long -- just under 20 minutes -- but he gives a lot of information.)