Planning for Higher Education Journal

An Exploration of Administrative Bloat in American Higher Education

This article evaluates administrative bloat, the ballooning growth of administrative functions and personnel, in American higher education. This evaluation was undertaken through a review of the available literature describing administrative bloat. Though unintentional, increased spending and government requirements for accountability may have contributed to overall growth and cost in higher education. Similarly, the changing composition of faculty—in terms of tenure-track faculty, annual contracts, and adjunct faculty—may have also played a role in the increased influence that administration has over campus policy and curricular decisions. Strategies to mitigate the cost of administrative bloat and to balance campus decisions between faculty and administration are suggested.

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