By Barry Cooper. As published in The Vancouver Sun, 15 May 2012:
For the past few weeks I have been working at the University of Erlangen in Germany. Apart from congenial students and colleagues, the most impressive aspect of the place is its lean administrative structure compared to what I’m used to. It got me to thinking.
Of course, universities have always had administrators, and the Germans are no exceptions. And they do love titles: the rector, for example, is styled “Your Magnificence.” In North America, such exalted personages, though with less grandiose labels, historically have been recruited, often reluctantly, from the faculty for limited-term duty. When I was an undergraduate at the University of B.C., the dean and later president, Walter Gage, taught calculus to engineers. Those days are gone, perhaps for good. No longer do academics set priorities for university life. Today, administrators make the rules and control the agenda. Read the full story–