Draft report shows administrative size and salaries soared as faculty hiring stalled
The draft report, which has so far not been endorsed or released by the Senate, expresses deep concerns about the University’s bureaucracy and represents a push towards shared governance.
Tim Tai, Staff Photographer
The number of University administrators has skyrocketed over the past two decades, more than doubling, causing deep dissatisfaction among some of Yale’s faculty representatives, according to a draft report obtained by the News.
Titled “Size and Growth of Administration and Bureaucracy at Yale”, the report is dated to January 2022 and was written by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate’s seven-member Governance Committee. It tracks the rising number of Yale administrators and how their salaries have soared, even as faculty pay has remained relatively stagnant. The report notes that at a Senate meeting with FAS department chairs held in 2020, chairs reported an “‘onerous bureaucracy’” that slows down decision making as well as a lack of available funds for academic purposes.
“Yale’s fundamental mission is research and teaching,” the draft report reads. “The apparent disproportionate rise in administrative positions and costs relative to faculty positions and costs may well be to some degree in the service of that mission, but it requires explanation and oversight.”
Administrative bloat has long been a concern of some faculty members, and while discussion on the report has been tabled for the time being, the draft document represents the first formal effort from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate — an advisory body elected by members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — to weigh in on the issue.
According to University spokesperson Karen Peart, the draft document has not been endorsed by the senate and has not been submitted to the administration. As such, she said, University leadership has not seen the document and is “unaware” of its underlying assumptions and claims.
The draft report, which members of the committee voted not to accept or release in the spring, makes three core recommendations, all in the form of committees: that the University appoint an ad hoc committee of faculty to study the size and cost of the administration; that Yale institute a standing budget committee led by faculty to evaluate administrative growth; and that a faculty-led committee be granted greater power over the allocation of an independent budget for the FAS.
All three committees would move the University closer to a system of “shared governance,” the principle that faculty should play a deliberative role in decision making at the University, rather than administrators implementing an increasingly top-down approach. Faculty members have long called on Yale to adopt this system — a sentiment that contributed to the establishment of the FAS Senate in 2013 — but were met with resistance from other faculty members and University administrators.
Adding more bureaucratic layers to the University’s structure, several professors told the News last year, decreases the power of its faculty and could lead Yale to stray from its core missions of education and research.
The draft report also includes data about the compensation of 13 senior administrative roles in recent years. Since University President Peter Salovey took office in 2013, until 2019, the University president’s salary increased approximately 17.2 percent annually, going from $801,020 to $2,078,203. The General Counsel’s salary increased approximately 6.2 percent annually over the same period, increasing from $584,409 to $839,527. The average compensation for full-time professors, however, only increased by 3.6 percent each year, rising from $248,340 in 2013 to $306,932 in 2019, per the report.
At the time of the draft report, the Governance Committee, one of several senate standing committees, was chaired by Nicholas Christakis and Hélène Landemore. David Bercovici, R. Howard Bloch, Gerald Jaynes, Maria Piñango and Larry Samuelson also sit on the committee.
The draft report features multiple figures related to growth in administrative positions, demonstrating that the University administration ballooned in comparison to its faculty and student body. All figures are based on publicly-available data as Yale would not provide data on bureaucratic size, the report claims.
“There is evidence that certain administrative units and functions at Yale (e.g., President’s Office, Secretary/Student Life, General Counsel, Human Resources, Development, Finance and Administration, Public Affairs and Communications, and ‘Vice Presidents’) have grown in size by at least 150% over the past twenty years,” the draft report reads. “The FAS faculty has increased by 10.6% during the same time period.”
From 2003 to 2021, the number of vice presidents at Yale increased from five to 31, while the number of tenured faculty saw a much more modest increase, from 610 to 675. Units such as Public Affairs and Communications, Development and Human Resources also added new employees at a dramatic pace during this time period.
According to Peart, Yale’s staff-to-faculty ratio — excluding the Yale School of Medicine — has remained constant at approximately 0.75-to-1 during the period from 2010 to 2020, during which the University has grown substantially. Peart added that the University implemented a staff hiring freeze during the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that 45 new faculty positions in the engineering departments were added in 2022. The report only uses data through 2021.
“Yale is rightly proud of the people who make up the administration, who work hard to support the work of our extraordinary faculty,” Peart wrote in an email to the News. “Administrative leaders — many of whom, like the president and provost, are also longtime members of the faculty — seek to engage enthusiastically with faculty about shared concerns, directly and in good faith.”
Provost Scott Strobel has defended the University’s hiring of administrators, writing in a November 2021 letter to the News that a variety of employees — such as those involved in information technology and support staff in many schools and departments — are categorized as administrators.
Authors of the January report, meanwhile, hold that they are not addressing staff administrators.
“This report is not primarily concerned with the many members of the Yale community who fill staff and support positions,” the draft report states. “Our primary focus is on the general administrative structure of the University, and on its overall size and functioning … [and] with whether administrative growth has attenuated rather than enhanced the effectiveness of necessary administrative functions.”
The January report further criticizes the University for not responding to requests for fuller data sets that would allow for more accurate analysis into administrative growth. Peart told the News that the University makes available a “highly comprehensive” annual Budget Book, which includes data on the size and composition of Yale’s faculty and staff, as well as additional data through the Office of Institutional Research.
Three senators, as well as Peart, confirmed to the News that the senate voted at its last meeting in May 2022 to table discussion on the draft report until a later date. A new senate was elected soon after.
“The Yale FAS Senate deliberated during 2021-22 on the recent growth of administrative relative to faculty positions, at Yale and elsewhere,” Paul van Tassel, who became the Senate’s chair in May, wrote to the News. “The (renamed) FAS-SEAS Senate will soon meet to decide on areas of focus for 2022-23, and may elect to continue with the topic of administrative growth.”
Jaynes, who will chair the Governance Committee for the upcoming academic year, described the draft report obtained by the News as “flawed,” adding that he agreed with the FAS Senate’s vote not to accept or release the report.
Other members of the senate did not respond to the News’ inquiries or declined to comment.
The senate, as well as its committees, serves in an advisory capacity and does not dictate University policy. Its next meeting will be held Sept. 15.