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September 14 2018

Administrative Bloat Doesn't Promote Scholarship

by Charlotte Hays

AEI's Mark Perry wowed the audience at IWF's all-star panel Tuesday evening on the cost of a college degree. He talked about "administrative bloat" as a key contributor to the skyrocketing cost of a degree.

In his latest column, George Will takes up the subject of administrative bloat and explores what this expensive layer of bureaucrats actually accomplishes. Spoiler alert: they do not enhance the quality of scholarship.

Will explains:

Writing in April in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lyell Asher, professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, noted that “the kudzu-like growth of the administrative bureaucracy in higher education” is partly a response to two principles widely accepted on campuses: Anything that can be construed as bigotry and hatred should be so construed, and anything construed as such should be considered evidence of an epidemic.

Often, Asher noted, a majority of the academic bureaucrats directly involved with students, from dorms to “bias-response teams” to freshman “orientation” (which often means political indoctrination), have graduate degrees not in academic disciplines but from education schools with “two mutually reinforcing characteristics”: ideological orthodoxy and low academic standards for degrees in vaporous subjects such as “educational leadership” or “higher-education management.”

The problem is not anti-intellectualism but the “un-intellectualism” of a growing cohort of persons who, lacking talents for or training in scholarship, find vocations in micromanaging student behavior to combat imagined threats to “social justice.”

Can anyone on a campus say anything sensible about how the adjective modifies the noun? Never mind. As Asher said, groupthink and political intimidation inevitably result from this ever-thickening layer of people with status anxieties because they are parasitic off institutions with scholarly purposes.

My bolding.

Will quotes from Heather MacDonald's new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race, Gender and Pandering Corrupt the University and Corrupt Our Culture.

In addition to corrupting the university, in Mac Donald's view, they also cost a lot of money and make a college degree more expensive than it otherwise would be.



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