Colleges in bondage

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Many colleges and universities, seeking the largest applicant pools possible, have long engaged in ‘’arms races’’ of ever bigger staffs and ever more numerous buildings, including health spas and “centers’’ for obvious or obscure studies. (The Center for the Study of Transgendered Bolivian Poetry? The Center for Casino Case Studies?) This growth is overseen by population explosions of administrators. Using more and more adjunct teachers paid at poverty-level wages helps subsidize the expansions.

The managers of most nonprofit organizations, like corporate executives, realize that the bigger their institutions, the higher their pay and prestige. Along the way, students and their parents have become habituated to residence halls and athletic facilities of a fanciness that didn’t exist at the most expensive and prestigious colleges a few decades ago.

Whether all this growth advances the institutions’ official civic missions is another issue.

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