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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2014

Administrative bloat part of bigger problem

After more than 40 years of  teaching, conducting research and serving as an administrator (department chair, school director, and research ethics board chair), reading the summary of the Ontario report on teaching loads (Bulletin, March 2014) was dismaying.

In my experience (with some really stellar exceptions) many professors who undertake little or no research are also relatively poor teachers. They often have little to say that they have not said before. To ask them to double their teaching loads would serve students and society poorly.

In my view a bigger problem is the rapid growth of administrative drones — often drawn from the pool of professors who can neither teach well nor conduct effective research — that has taken place while the number of professors has declined.

These individuals  are paid more and out of a separate pool of funds from the professorial group and many of them do little except require endless restructuring of the academy that amounts to little more than shifting deck chairs on a sinking ship that they have put in distress.

They waste everyone’s time except their own. Putting them out to pasture is a proposition few want to discuss, but it is a discussion that should take place.

Peter H. Stephenson
University of Victoria