Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Faculty in Minority at Two-Thir Ds of Campuses

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Faculty in Minority at Two-Thir Ds of Campuses

Article excerpt

THE study reveals the extent to which scholars are outnumbered by support staff. Paul Jump reports

Support staff are in the majority at 71 per cent of UK higher education institutions, analysis by Times Higher Education has revealed.

Universities' 2013-14 returns to the Higher Education Statistics Agency on staff numbers reveal that support staff were the majority at 111 out of 157 institutions. They made up 60 per cent or more of all staff at 27 institutions, excluding obvious statistical anomalies.

The highest proportion - 85 per cent - was recorded by London Business School. Among larger institutions (defined for the purposes of the analysis as those with at least 500 academics), the highest proportion of non-academic staff - 63 per cent - was recorded by the University of Bradford. The University of Wolverhampton had 62 per cent and Durham and Aberystwyth universities had 61 per cent. The overall national average was 53 per cent.

Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of Bradford, said that the university had launched a 10-year development plan "designed to deliver the university's new strategy to be one of the world's best technology universities", which would see both student and staff numbers grow. "As part of this plan, the university will see a significant growth in the proportion of academic staff," he said.

A spokesman for Durham said: "Our support structures are appropriately resourced to support our academic staff in departments, faculties and colleges, across a wide range of activities."

A spokesman for Wolverhampton said that its high rate of professional services staff was explained by its multi-site location, which required duplication of services, as well as the "wider range of opportunities to students" it offered "as part of our commitment to widening access and participation to higher education", and its emphasis on providing careers and student support.

"Additionally, unlike some other universities we do not contract out or outsource any aspect of our non-teaching function," it added.

London Business School did not respond to a request for comment.

An army of administrators

Some academics have expressed concern about the rise in the proportion of administrators employed by universities in recent decades. In his 2011 book, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters, Benjamin Ginsberg, a professor in the department of political science at Johns Hopkins University, said that the growth had pushed up costs and corrupted universities' scholarly missions. …

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