College Bureaucratic Bloat versus Hospital Bureaucratic Bloat

The title of the Wall Street Journal article caught my eye. It was a month-old edition that I didn’t get to read due to my vacation. As I was tossing the paper out something stopped me from throwing it in the bin. It was the title: “Stop Feeding College Bureaucratic Bloat“. The following paragraph says it all:

A 2014 analysis by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that from 1987 to 2012, the higher-education sector added more than half a million administrators. Their numbers have doubled relative to academic faculty. Financed in large part with federally subsidized tuition, this rise of administrators siphons money from the core functions of academic institutions. Colleges and universities have shifted teaching duties from full-time professors to part-time nontenured adjuncts who earn paltry wages.

Does the sound similar to you? Put in “medical system” for “higher-education sector” and see how that works. And put in “doctors” for “full-time professors” and “not doctors” for “part-time nontenured adjuncts”. It is eerily the same.

Here is another one:

Governance of academic institutions traditionally rested with the faculty, especially full-time tenured faculty. But the relative decline of faculty has shifted the balance of power toward administrators, who increasingly control academic policy.

It’s no accident that as they have hired more administrators, these institutions have veered toward indoctrination and censorious intrusions into speech, opinion and personal life. These heavy-handed policies are often incompatible with traditional educational ideals, such as academic freedom, freedom of speech, open-mindedness and dispassionate judgment. To be sure, many faculty support such policies, but the most consistent pressure for them typically comes from the administrative bureaucracy. Congress should recognize that its funding helped create this threat to education.

The author recommends the following as a fix:

When authorizing student loans, Congress should take into account the ratio of administrators to full-time tenured faculty. The amount of a student loan, and the interest rate payable on it, should come on a gently sliding scale dependent on the ratio of administrators to full-time tenured faculty at the institution that will benefit from the loan. 

This would be very interesting to do for hospital systems. I would love to have a proper ratio of doctors-to-administrators. Less administrators would force doctors into governing ourselves, which is what we want. Right now there is a 10-1 ratio. Why don’t we change that? Any thoughts on a number?