AAUP President Claims Campuses Plagued With `Administrative Bloat'

For most of this century, United States colleges and universities adhered to a dogma that the best way to compete for students, faculty, and research dollars is to expand. But this approach has led to large, complicated bureaucracies, according to Barbara Bergmann, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The net result of this, Bergmann says, is a debilitating malady called "administrative bloat." Bergmann, a professor of economics at American University, contend

Ron Kaufman
May 10, 1992
For most of this century, United States colleges and universities adhered to a dogma that the best way to compete for students, faculty, and research dollars is to expand. But this approach has led to large, complicated bureaucracies, according to Barbara Bergmann, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The net result of this, Bergmann says, is a debilitating malady called "administrative bloat."

Bergmann, a professor of economics at American University, contends that since as early as 1930, U.S. college campuses have seen their administrative areas balloon to dangerous proportions, especially in science departments.

Administrators at some major U.S. research institutions argue, however, that larger administrations are simply a reflection of a rise in financial and environmental accountability.

In a recent article in the AAUP journal Academe (77:12-16, 1991), Bergmann writes: "On each campus that suffers from this disease, and most apparently do, millions of dollars have been...

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