The College Bureaucracy: How Education Forgot the Students and Became A Business By Devon DB

Students attend college to pursue their interests, broaden their intellectual horizons and make headway toward a career. While this is made difficult due to the amount of debt that many must saddle in order to earn a degree, there is also another, much stealthier problem as well: the college bureaucracy.

University bureaucracies absorb large amounts of funding and undermine the alleged goal of college, which is to provide an education. But they also signal something more sinister: the neo-liberalization of education, now viewed as a business.

The rise in college bureaucracy is nothing new, and has been noted for quite some time. Ralph Reiland wrote in 1996 in the National Review that “over the past two decades, the number of college and university faculty has increased by 30 per cent and the number of non-faculty jobs on campus has more than doubled.” And Benjamin Ginsberg, in his 2011 book The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters provides more recent numbers, noting that from 1985 to 2005 the number of “administrators rocketed by 85 percent and their attendant staff by a whopping 240 percent.”

All of which begs the question: what is it exactly that these college bureaucrats do? Universities wouldn’t spend precious funds hiring them for no reason, yet much of the time there isn’t even enough work to keep all the bureaucrats busy. As a result, many have been charged with creating tradition committees, whose goal it is to instill “pride in the university for the campus community as well as for extended university community members through preservation and resurrection of time-honored traditions.”

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