Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stop the Waste First

Joseph Asch '79 makes some good points in his column in today's D. The administration stubbornly refuses to make the spending cuts which have been needed since before the current economic crisis, and reigning in bureaucratic redundancy and inefficiency.

However, once you integrate the above observations into your thinking, solving the current budget crisis becomes easier. A first step: roll back all of the absurd and wasteful spending increases from the last year. Secondly, move on to peeling away the accretions of the last decade; they have added nothing to the school. In doing so, not only will you save enough money to balance the College’s budget, you’ll have enough cash left over to hire new professors so that students don’t get turned away from desired courses.

11 comments:

Neutron Eleazar said...

Why stop with excess bureaucrats? Isn't it time to re-engineer the academic process so that an even better product requiring fewer faculty members can be sold?

Disgusted by Dartmouth said...

How about votes for the most incompetent adjunct profs - the ones that can be fired right away?

Shelby Grantham is my choice. Can anyone top her for PC idiocy?

waiting said...

Joe Asch assumes (without apparently thinking about it) that growth is necessarily wasteful and expects his readers to overlook his failure to show the existence of any actual waste. Growth and waste are not the same. Growth in administration at a rate higher than inflation is not necessarily waste, either.

Why doesn't he show that Dartmouth's administration was not underdeveloped at the start of his survey period or that the growth has outpaced that at peer institutions?

Using Joe's numbers and any worthwhile comparison to best practices, you might well prove that Dartmouth's administration has grown too little -- that the reason it's delivering a lower-quality product (according to Joe Asch's opinion alone) is that it has failed to grow its administration as much as its competitors. But we wouldn't be able to learn that conclusion or dispute it based on Joe's editorial. It seems like he's got a personal grudge and he just comes up with anything he can find to put in an undergraduate newspaper to support it.

Signed,
Waiting for a worthwhile argument.

Anonymous said...

When a product or service costs way more than its discounted price, you've got to figure something is wrong. Dartmouth isn't alone though and it looks like she will continue to be a follower.

Anonymous said...

"Waiting" should try for sophistication not sophistry.

When someone is caught robbing a bank, we don't ask proof that the bank was not seeking to rid itself of excess deposits.

The ineffectiveness of the Dartmouth bureaucracy is a given on campus, and its ineffectiveness has increased with its size.

Anonymous said...

"The ineffectiveness of the Dartmouth bureaucracy is a given on campus."

Perhaps our gentle reader is unaware of the fact that The Daily D is read beyond the campus and that this is why Mr. Asch chooses to have his letters published there.

Duh! said...

If the D is read beyond campus by our gentle Anonymouse 3:43pm, s/he/it will have noted the election of four petition Trustees on a platform that included first and foremost attacks on the gross waste of College resources on an ever-expanding bureaucratic administration.

Beyond that, the D has been filled to the brim for years with attacks on the bloated administration.

Search for word "bloat" and you will come up with a dozen references in the past year or so, to wit:

http://thedartmouth.com/2008/03/07/opinion/verbumultimum/

"Dartmouth finds itself in a period of sleepy stagnancy. The College is plagued by administrative bloat, a shortage of faculty in the most popular departments, and the neglect of student interests and concerns....

Enjoy.

Waiting said...

If "Duh!" had paid attention during the elections of those for alumni trustees he/sh/it would know that they did not succeed by attacking College waste, let alone making that their central plank. Rodgers ran on "free speech," Zywicki ran on it too (along with Zete love), Robinson didn't have much of a platform but took a courageous stand against "political correctness," and Smith ran on class sizes, perceived universitization, student discipline, and (finally) administrative bloat.

Why don't you read the D's smackdown of Joe Asch today, written by Barry Scherr? He shows the fallacy in assuming, as Asch did, that raw growth in an administration budget line is necessarily bad or necessarily outpaces the norm or the growth in undeniably beneficial areas, like faculty.

Anonymous said...

"Waiting" falls into the same trap as the Provost, making the assumption that following the "norm" or even above-the-norm "best practicies" of other elite universities justifies the level and allocation of College resources.

Accepting the proposition that we should judge on whether resources add value or not (Thanks "Waiting"), independent of their growth from past levels, one still questions what all those deputy special assistant deans do with their time, and why multiple departments having nearly-identical missions cannot be merged. Simply look at the various organization charts and job descriptions, and then try to justify the present levels. Ask students why they have so much difficulty navigating the bureaucracy. Provost Scherr has no leg to stand on when one takes the time to look beneath the covers.

Anonymous said...

One example among many: Are the custodial tasks and janitorial personnel for classrooms and dormitories so different that two separate departments are required to oversee them, one an area within "Facilities, Operations, and Management" and another within "Residential Life"?

Anonymous said...

Name one other employer who gives an unskilled worker with only 10 years of service a nearly-half-year severance. (4+2*10) It's nice to be wealthy, even if a bit poorer than in the past.