“I have no idea what these people do,” said Robinson, waving his hand across a row of offices, his voice rising.
The 59-year-old professor of biomedical engineering is leading a faculty revolt against bureaucratic bloat at the public university in Indiana. In the past decade, the number of administrative employees jumped 54 percent, almost eight times the growth of tenured and tenure-track faculty.....
Another administrative initiative has agitated the faculty: possibly changing the academic calendar to a trimester from a semester system. The switch would let Purdue use empty buildings year-round. It could also offer popular courses to students over the summer, so more will graduate in four years.
First, though, the concept required hiring a new administrator: Frank Dooley, a $172,000-a-year associate vice provost and professor of agricultural economics. Dooley and a part-time financial analyst will cost the university $212,000 a year, excluding benefits.
The associate vice provost works in an 8-by-10-foot windowless office in the building that houses Purdue’s president. Dooley plans to establish seven or eight committees of professors, administrators, students and others for discussion and fact-gathering. He expects a decision in 2015.
“I look at myself as an envoy or ambassador,” Dooley said. “My job is to make sure these seven or eight committees are aware of what’s going on in the other committees.”
Marcus Rogers, a Purdue professor of information technology, views Dooley less as a diplomat and more as a symbol of misplaced priorities.
“We have more vice provosts, vice presidents and assistant vice presidents than we’ve ever had before,” Rogers said. “Now, we’re spending $250,000 a year to oversee something we haven’t even agreed to.”
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