Question for the Provost re New Administrative Positions (4 March 2013)

As submitted by Mark Jones (faculty Senator for Arts and Science) to the Senate Agenda Committee, 4 March 2013:

Senate was recently informed of the creation of a new position in the upper Administration, the Vice-provost for Teaching and Learning.  A colleague subsequently  forwarded me two notices for further new positions in upper Administration, a new Communications Officer (http://www.queensu.ca/humanresources/jobs/executive/12-0471_chief_communications_officer.pdf) and a new second Associate Vice-Principal (Research) for the social sciences and humanities.  Most colleagues I have spoken with about this are surprised, and some are dismayed, to hear of so many new administrative positions being created at a time when Deans speak to their faculties of a funding crisis and when faculty numbers are in attrition and student-faculty ratios are climbing.  And no one I have spoken with knows what the big picture is:  we don’t know how many upper-administration positions there are, what the recent rate of growth has been, how this growth compares with the decline in faculty numbers, how the university’s spending on faculty and on administrative positions compare, or how the relative spending in these two categories has changed in recent years.  Nor can anyone I’ve asked inform me of any clear source for this information.  Given the close connection between spending and academic issues (e.g., given that the dearth in hiring of professors in recent years has been blamed on limitations in funding), would the Provost please give Senate an overview of the growth (in terms of both positions and costs) of administrative positions in relation to faculty positions for the recent past and the near future (say, for 2006-2015)?

The Provost’s Written Response, as published with the Senate Agenda  for 19 March 2013:

This question requests an historical analysis of administrative positions (number and cost) relative to faculty positions. The catalyst for the questions is a number of recently announced administrative positions. For completeness, I provide in my written answer an explanation of how each of these positions is to be funded. My office could not, however, complete an analysis of positions in time to submit it as part of the written answer, so I shall provide orally to Senate what we have ready by the time Senate meets.

Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning): No additional funds were requested or granted to provide for this position because it was made possible by a reallocation of existing funds within the budget for the Office of the Provost.

Associate Vice-President (Research): No additional funds were requested or granted to provide for this position because it was made possible through a reallocation of existing funds within the budget for the Vice-President (Research).

Chief Communications Officer: Funds for this position were requested during the most recent round of staffing and budget submissions. Approval of the request for funding for this position was recommended by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Budget. The submission that contained this request, which came from the Office of the Principal, made no other funding request.

In the Senate Agenda for 30 April 2013, the Provost added further information:

In 2007, there were 813 faculty members (not including clinical appointments and continuing adjuncts), at a total cost of $89.3M. By 2012, the number of faculty members had fallen to 766, but the total cost had risen by 19.2 percent to $106.2M. Over the same period, the size of the executive rose from 14 to 16 people. The total cost rose by 17.7 percent, from $3.0M to 3.5M. The number of Deans/Associate Deans positions increased from 25 to 28. The total cost rose by 17.9 percent, from $4.4M to $5.2M.

In sum, based on these figures:

  • Between 2007 and 2012, Queen’s cut faculty positions by 47, or  5.8%, while increasing Administrative positions by 5, or 12.8%.
  • It decreased its faculty-administrator ratio (counting only deans, associate deans, and the “executive”) from 20.8 : 1  to  17 : 1.
  • It increased its administrator-faculty ratio by 21%, from .048 to .058.
  • In 2012, 766 faculty cost the university $106.2M, or $138,600 each (on average); 44 administrators cost $8.7M, or $197,700 each (on average).
  • At these rates, the cost of five new administrative positions would have saved over seven faculty positions.
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