To be sure, college teaching has taken an unprecedented hit during the Great Recession. Universities have cut tens of thousands of mostly part-time teaching positions. That means fewer and more crowded classes, and much more work for the teachers who remain.
The University of North Carolina system has eliminated more than 3,000 positions — mostly adjunct professors — to bridge a $414 million state budget cut this year. The beleaguered California State system — which has lost roughly $1 billion in funding — has turned away 50,000 otherwise admissible students in recent years for lack of resources to teach them.
But it’s not all teaching that’s being cut. The University of Wisconsin system is eliminating 51 central administrative positions and, according to the article, “universities in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are… starting to collaborate on bulk purchasing.”
As the article pointed out, however, looking a job listings in higher education publications revels that the majority of openings are still not for academic positions. “Two-thirds were for administrative and executive jobs, some with the kinds of titles that make higher education critics cringe: ‘Marketing Coordinator,’ ‘Consultant-Talent Acquisition’ and ‘Director of Discovery and Access.’”
So it’s ultimately a little unclear where all the cuts are going to fall. But it looks like colleges are starting to cut administrative bloat, even if they’re more enthusiastic about eliminating actual teaching positions.