During my over thirty-plus years in higher education and at several different colleges and universities, I witnessed more incompetence at the top than I could have ever imagined. These guys won their jobs through being buddies with other Presidents or Provosts, or buddies with the search agency, or were so politically connected that the Board of Governors (or whomever hired them) believed they could benefit from hiring the guy. They all know each other. Some Presidents were attached to political parties and hoped for an appointment by the incoming President of the United States. Their party placed them in the job as a President at a university — as a holding pattern — until they could claim their real job at the national level.
At one college, they hired a woman with a Master’s degree because her family was wealthy, and the college hoped for a donation of a huge endowment. She really looked good in those fur coats! Another college hired a Master’s degree as a candidate because she worked at an Ivy League job in admissions. Huh!
As I have said in earlier blogs, these guys/gals are hired to help the university not to starve the university. They come in with grand ideas. They think they are smarter than the rest of the faculty and staff. But they are not! Most of the time they have no clue about the history, struggles, and problems the university faculty and staff have faced. They don’t even understand the circumstances out of which students come to the university. They have these grand ideas that harm all of us. They steal from programs, infrastructure needs, maintenance, grounds, technology, and place education on the critical edge of failure. They are self-centered and so consume as much as they can of a university until they move onto another one that is ripe.
Some Boards of Governors are so powerful that they hire whomever they want to fulfill their own selfish needs. Athletics is one of those needs where scores of millions of dollars are spent on a game, not on the classroom, not on salaries, not on upgrading aging buildings and grounds, not on materials, or books, or computers, or full-time professors, or software. They spend the hundreds of millions of dollars on a game. And with it they pay those people who manage the game more than any scholar ever makes. They pay them so much that you can’t even compute all the residuals that come with the job to manage –the game, not education.
So here is my proposal.
Since bureaucats pretend to be interested in educating students and really have other goals in mind when they take the jobs, let’s pay them less than a full professor. Let’s pay them as if they were entry level staff. Why, because they were never trained to be a President or a Provost. I took twelve hours toward an Ed.D in Higher Education and I know that the bureaucats above me had never taken any courses. An Ed.D. in Higher Education is not enough. They should obtain a Ph.D., teach as a professor long enough to rise to the highest rank, and then go to a special school where they teach them how to run a university. How about President’s School USA. Then they could be considered for the job.
These bureaucats do not deserve to be paid such high salaries. So many of them were instructors or teachers who actually hated teaching students. They liked power and found that working in administration would allow them to rule over people. They act like Kings and the people around them act like serfs. They believe in this hierarchical structure. Where are the people who love teaching, love students, and want to improve all of the things listed above. Can we find them? Maybe they are right there at the front of the classrooms?
Some of the bureaucats I have worked with actually tried to destroy faculty power on campus in a variety of destructive cuts. They wanted complete power. So, let’s pay them less. Slap their hands when they start putting their hands into the cookie jar, and actually write up a contract that gives them raises if they improve the quality of education, the quality of the university grounds, the quality of the library, the quality of technology, and the quality of professors.
Anybody want to hold up his or her hand in the affirmative?