Akron AAUP Protecting Academic Freedom For a Free Society
The University of Akron Chapter |
American Association of University Professors

The number of higher-level administrators at the University of Akron has continued to increase.  Recall last year there were THREE more administrative positions created at one or the other vice-presidential ranks at a salary cost of half-a-million dollars.  We have no way to estimate the affiliated costs of benefits, office staff, office accoutrements, the inevitable expense accounts, etc.  We’ve also seen the numbers of full-time faculty diminish.  
The result:
Student enrollment is down. Income from tuition and state support is down. And UA’s response is to pile on more and evermore administrators while demanding more and evermore from shrinking faculty numbers.
Is there an educator anywhere in this country, an educator actually trained and well-experienced in the actual practice of teaching that believes that more classes per faculty and more students in these classes is anything but ineffective, and even harmful to learning?  The only ones around here that seem to think this is the way to do things are highly-paid administrators, few of whom, it would seem, have spent any time at all recently–if ever–in a classroom.
Administrator numbers increase.   Faculty numbers decrease.  Student enrollment declines.  Yeah, we think it really is that simple. In the context of a struggling economy students and their parents must be more selective and, clearly, they are not impressed with what they see as the results of the University of Akron administration’s policies.
One suggestion: Cut upper level adminstration by half (and we’re not talking about Department Chairs and Deans, positions which are–or should be–empowered to facilitate teaching and research, not simply charged with carrying Buchtel Hall’s water; nor are we suggesting further reorganization melding colleges, departments and programs that have no intrinsic or historical academic ties with one another in order to save the cost of one or two administrative stipends). Cut the upper administration and invest the millions of dollars that would be saved in more faculty charged with leading smaller classes.  Then sit back and watch as UA’s reputation improves in both the education and business communities.
If high quality education is our primary purpose–and it ought to be–it would be worth a try to do this.  But as long as the principal concern is some ill-defined notion of  “efficiency in resource utilization” and the almighty dollar…well, the results seem to be clear:
Our community, thoroughly unimpressed with the actions of the university administration, will send their tuition dollars elsewhere.

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