While many private universities nationwide are rapidly growing their administrations, Georgetown is bucking the trend with just a 1.5 percent increase in its full-time staff-to-faculty ratio between the years 2003 and 2011.

Among member schools of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, a group of 33 of Georgetown’s peer institutions, there was an average 9.2 percent increase in this ratio during that period. The University of Notre Dame, which is not a member of the COFHE, is also included in this statistic.

President of the Faculty Senate Wayne Davis, who conducted a study on Georgetown’s administration’s growth, attributes Georgetown’s deviation from the national trend to the university’s priorities.

“All of our administrators have a keen sense of the importance of the academic mission here, and they’re not interested in padding their own budgets and making life good for themselves,” Davis said. “They really want to put every bit of resources we have into making the university better as a university.”

Per the COFHE, U.S. private colleges and universities experienced a 27.9 percent increase in the staff-to-faculty ratio and a 50 percent increase in the staff-to-student ratio, on average, between 1989 and 2009.

Conversely, Georgetown’s staff-to-student ratio saw a 5.2 percent decrease between 2001 and 2011.

“It looks like the university is being run as effectively and as prudently as anyone could hope for,” Davis said.

By limiting the growth of the administration, the university is able to allocate more funds to its academic mission.

“We always try to maximize what we can do with our resources. With a need-blind, meet-full-need admissions policy, we have always striven to keep costs as low as possible,” Vice President for Finance David Rubenstein wrote in an email. “We also rigorously prioritize when it comes to spending decisions so that key academic needs are at the forefront.”

Although Georgetown’s administration is not expanding as rapidly as that of peer universities, aggregate salaries of fulltime staff increased by nearly $100 million between 2001 and 2011, a 76 percent increase. Aggregate full-time and part-time faculty salaries also experienced a significant 67 percent increase during this period, rising by about $70 million. The consumer price index rose by 27 percent during this time.

Additionally, student salaries rose on aggregate by 89 percent during this period, which the university views as a positive trend.

While university salaries grew faster than inflation, the wage rate in Washington, D.C., increased by 45 percent between 2001 and 2011. Since the university tends to recruit staff locally and recruit faculty nationally, the D.C. wage rate has had a greater impact on staff salaries.

“In order to remain competitive with other employers, we need to fund staff salaries so that we compete effectively for recruiting and retaining staff,” Rubenstein said.

The university had a 34 percent increase in student population from 2001 to 2011, influencing staff and faculty salaries.

The university is also committed to cutting costs by utilizing technological advances.

“We try to take advantage of new technologies in an ongoing way,” Rubenstein wrote. “For example, we have been moving key administrative information systems related to human resources, benefits, pay roll and finances to cloud-based services, which means we no longer have to run mainframe computers.”

Despite Davis’ findings about the low rate of administrative growth, many Georgetown faculty members believe that a disproportionate amount of funding is actually directed towards growing the school’s administration.

At an adjunct professor’s panel in February, theology professor Ori Soltes expressed his displeasure with administrative financial influence and discredited the opinion that both administrators and adjuncts are contributing to a lower quality of collegiate education.

“Don’t put the fat that universities endure, made of administrative, overfed individuals … in the same pot with adjunct faculty, that is dedicated, that is underpaid and that, for the most part, provides students with a fine education,” Soltes said.

However, Davis refutes this claim.

“If you go to random faculty on the street, they’re all going to say that one of the big problems here is that we have a huge increase in the number of administrators and that’s where all the money is going. That just isn’t true,” Davis said. “When you look at the aggregate data that actually hasn’t been the case. It’s good news for everybody that the money is being spent well.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*