Mark Jones, Faculty Attrition, Administrative Expansion (30 April 2013)

According to Provost Alan Harrison, Queen’s reduced faculty positions by 47, or  5.8%, while increasing administrative positions by 5, or 12.8%, between 2007 and 2012.  

The Provost was recently asked in Senate about recent additions to the Administrative complement, in view of recent faculty attrition.  

His written response, included in the Senate Agenda  for March 2013, was:

This question requests an historical analysis of administrative positions (number and cost) relative to faculty positions. The catalyst for the questions is a number of recently announced administrative positions. For completeness, I provide in my written answer an explanation of how each of these positions is to be funded. My office could not, however, complete an analysis of positions in time to submit it as part of the written answer, so I shall provide orally to Senate what we have ready by the time Senate meets.

Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning): No additional funds were requested or granted to provide for this position because it was made possible by a reallocation of existing funds within the budget for the Office of the Provost.

Associate Vice-President (Research): No additional funds were requested or granted to provide for this position because it was made possible through a reallocation of existing funds within the budget for the Vice-President (Research).

Chief Communications Officer: Funds for this position were requested during the most recent round of staffing and budget submissions. Approval of the request for funding for this position was recommended by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Budget. The submission that contained this request, which came from the Office of the Principal, made no other funding request.

In the Senate Agenda for 30 April 2013, he added this further information:

In 2007, there were 813 faculty members (not including clinical appointments and continuing adjuncts), at a total cost of $89.3M. By 2012, the number of faculty members had fallen to 766, but the total cost had risen by 19.2 percent to $106.2M. Over the same period, the size of the executive rose from 14 to 16 people. The total cost rose by 17.7 percent, from $3.0M to 3.5M. The number of Deans/Associate Deans positions increased from 25 to 28. The total cost rose by 17.9 percent, from $4.4M to $5.2M.

In sum, based on the Provost’s figures:

  • Between 2007 and 2012, Queen’s cut faculty positions by 47, or  5.8%, while increasing Administrative positions by 5, or 12.8%.
  • It decreased its faculty-administrator ratio (counting only deans, associate deans, and the “executive”) from 20.8 : 1  to  17 : 1.
  • It increased its administrator-faculty ratio by 21%, from .048 to .058.

Taking the Provost’s figures on average, the cost of five new administrators might  have saved over seven faculty positions.  But administrators are in charge of hiring, and in the face of austerity budgets they have shown a proverbial wisdom:  “when it rains, look to your roof.”[1]


[1]  “D. Woolf expressed that there was continued concern regarding the global economic situation and that federal Finance Minister J. Flaherty is expected to deliver another austerity budget later this week” (Senate Minutes, 19 Mar. 2013, p. 5).

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5 Responses to Mark Jones, Faculty Attrition, Administrative Expansion (30 April 2013)

  1. Michael White says:

    Interesting. Of course, each of these new administrative positions must come with additional costs in the form of support staff salaries, travel funds, telecommunication charges, professional membership dues and conference registration fees, etc. So the true cost would be higher than the $8.7M spent on salaries.

  2. Susan Lord says:

    Thanks so much, Mark, for taking this on. I am curious about the phrase “reallocation of existing funds” as related to two of the positions. What would those funds have been used for? Research monies for faculty? Teaching support/grants for developing new courses? Did he supply any detail?

    Thanks again!

    • Susan–No, the Provost’s replies are entirely reproduced in the post. I wondered about these comments on “reallocation” as well. I think they are meant to make it sound as though the new administrative positions don’t cost anything extra, but it’s not like the money came from the Provost’s own bank account; I have to assume that the money is still Queen’s money spent on administration. best, Mark

  3. Michael says:

    As for the Chief Communications Officer, who can put a price on the fact that, in Woolf’s words, ““The addition of the CCO to the senior leadership team will allow the university to have a more developed and coordinated strategic communications function.” That’s worth two faculty members any day.

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