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Higher Education in Florida: Are Florida's universities overadministered?

The picture that emerges from a look at the staffing practices of Florida universities in the past five years is complex. Like universities across the nation, Florida schools have been beset by budget cuts. And like schools nationally, the schools have limited tenure-track faculty positions and turned more to part timers and adjunct professors to control costs. But most schools, both nationally and in Florida, have hired administrators at a much faster clip than enrollment growth. This report looks at the trends — and explanations.

 

TREND
Less Tenure
Since 2007, enrollment at Florida’s state universities has grown 9.5% to 329,737. During the same period, the universities added very few tenured professors and reduced the number of junior professors working toward tenure by 19%. Collectively, tenured and tenure-track faculty make up 25% of the university total, down from 27% five years ago and 33% in 2004.

Year Students Per Tenured Faculty1 Students Per Administrator2
2002 51 81
2003 54 66
2004 52 81
2005 60 87
2006 60 91
2007 61 88
2008 56 84
2009 57 85
2010 59 81
2011 61 79

1 Excludes Florida Gulf Coast University, which doesn’t have tenure 2 Includes executives and managers

Source: Based on Board of Governors staff analysis of IPEDS full-time, tenured faculty (includes medical and non-medical staff involved with instruction) and administrative data and State University Database System (SUDS) student data

 

TREND
Increasing Student-Faculty Ratios
Only the use of contingent faculty has kept student/faculty ratios from eroding dramatically. Overall, the public universities in Florida report a 25.1 student/faculty ratio, up from 23.9 five years earlier, though the ratio varies greatly by institution. Ratios across the system soar when just tenured faculty are counted.

University Fall 2007 Fall 2011
UCF 28.8 31.7
FIU 26.3 27.0
FSU 25.0 26.5
USF 26.8 26.1
UWF 18.9 23.8
FGCU 17.8 22.3
FAMU 16.7 21.3
UNF 21.7 20.5
UF 21.7 20.5
FAU 18.4 20.0
NCF 10.4 10.4
System 23.9 25.1

Source: Board of Governors annual accountability reports

More Bosses
As schools allowed their tenure-track teacher ranks to thin, they added administrators and managers at a clip that at some schools outpaced enrollment growth. From 2007 to 2011, universities added 696 full-time executives, administrators and managers, bringing the total to 4,030, a 21% increase, and added 320 “other professional” employees — typically degree-holding individuals in support and service posts — bringing that full-time total to 12,616, a 3% increase. UF, for example, lost 261 tenure and tenure-track posts in five years while gaining 242 executives, administrators and managers.
The decline in teaching resources and increase in administrative positions at Florida universities mirror national trends that hold true for both public and private universities. Florida’s 25% ratio of tenured and tenure-track faculty nearly matches the national average.

University 2007 2011 % Change
FAMU 157 177 12.7%
FAU 273 277 1.5
FGCU 149 159 6.7
FIU 517 715 38.3
FSU 425 394 (-7.3)
NCF 41 46 12.2
USF 568 726 27.8
UCF 480 564 17.5
UF 427 669 56.7
UNF 235 272 15.7
UWF* 27 31 14.8
System 3,299 4,030 22.2%

* UWF’s data is an anomaly. It doesn’t report these numbers in a way comparable to the other universities.
Source: Board of Governors annual accountability reports

 

RATIOS
Here’s what the Florida universities, collectively, looked like in 2007 and 2011.

For Each 100 Students, There Were ...

Category 2007 2011
Tenured/tenure-track faculty 3.2 2.8
Non-tenured faculty/instructors 3.3 3.5
Administrators/execs/managers 1.3 1.5

Source: Board of Governors; faculty data from the 2011-12 Accountability Report; student enrollment data is from the BOG online enrollment tool (based on E&G, state-fundable, and the U.S. definition of FTE)

 

TREND
More Adjuncts, Part Timers
The schools increased their use of “contingent” hires — full-time teachers not on the tenure path and part timers. Since 2007, Florida schools added 1,213 such faculty and instructors — not counting graduate students — a 14% increase.

“President (Bernie) Machen has always placed great emphasis on the student-faculty ratio. He believes that it is a measure of the quality of the institution,” says UF provost Joseph Glover. The worst ratio is 31.7 at the University of Central Florida. “We’re too high,” says Tony Waldrop, University of Central Florida provost and executive vice president. “The president (John Hitt) has been very strong in saying our No. 1 priority at the University of Central Florida is to hire more tenure-track faculty members. We’re going to squeeze tight every penny to do that.”

Hiring Changes (2007-11)
Individual schools made different choices about how to deploy resources in hiring.

University Full-Time
Tenured
Full-Time
Tenure Track
Non-Tenured
Full-Time
Part-Time Grad Assitants
New College (-6.3%) (-6.3%) 100.0% 86.7% NA
FIU (-5.6) 12.8 82.1 0.4 3.4
UNF 12.4 2.0 (-19.3) 2.4 36.5
USF 3.1 (-12.6) (-13.9) 80.3 19.4
UWF 2.5 (-26.3) (-15.7) NA 11.1
FSU (-0.5) (-38.3) (-1.9) 11.1 0.4
UCF 14.9 (-29.9) 36.8 13.3 (-12.6)
FAU 18.1 (-40.1) 10.1 (-4.4) 23.4
FAMU (-13.5) 0.8 1.2 18.6 35.9
UF (-5.9) (-17.9) 7.2 15.5 (-1.9)
System 0.6 (-18.6) 9.4 19.0 5.4

Note: FGCU not listed because it does not offer tenure.
Source: Florida Board of Governors annual accountability reports