What kind of university administrator would you be ? The type who lets a lot of resources go to waste on unproductive activities, allows faculty to slack off, and ultimately oversees an inefficient use of taxpayers’ money ?
Would you aggressively seek to rein in frivolous expenses, steadfastly make the necessary cuts (even deep ones), and keep employees (faculty, that is) on their toes ?
Would you deliver inspiring speeches, be relentless in your appeals to an unwavering pursuit of excellence ?
Well, look no further — here is a simple test aimed at giving you the answer to that very question. It is structured in the form of a multiple-choice test, just to make grading simpler.
Try and answer each question truthfully and find out at the end: do you have what it takes to administer me ?
0. Students are
a. Such a treasure
c. Future professionals, politicians, intellectuals, citizens.
1. A successful scholar is one:
a. Who does plenty of good scholarly things
b. Who offers the product that the customer wants at a competitive price
c. Whose work in her field of academic inquiry is internationally recognized
2. A successful university is one
a. That high profile politicians will regard as such
b. That positions itself strategically in the higher education market
c. At which students will be glad to have studied, twenty years later
3. Scholarly research is:
a. Oh, well, that is really what we are all about, right ?
b. A way for faculty to contribute, through grants, to the day-to-day operative expenses
c. What ultimately gives an individual faculty and the institution its reputation
4. Scholarly output is measured:
a. Of course
b. By assigning each item a fair monetary value, as in any business
c. Based on the same criteria used in hiring
5. Teaching is
a. A mission, a vocation, a privilege, a joy, and a whole lot more
b. How the university delivers its product to its customers
c. An integral, rewarding part of the scholarly profession.
6. The office of a faculty is
a. Where faculty do their faculty things
b. What ? A whole office for just one of them ?
c. A place where to concentrate on work, receive students, discuss with collaborators
7. The office of an administrator is
a. … Well, entertaining high profile guests is part of the job
b. … Would you give your executives crappy offices ?
c. … That desk is worth the annual stipend of a graduate student
8. A university campus
a. Has a number of stunning landmark buildings
b. Should reflect a business mentality, with a clear separation of managers and workers
c. Should be planned so as not to make students and faculty walk miles every day
9. A program of study that has low enrolment is
a. A fact of the outmost concern
b. Like a division that manufactures a product for which there is no market: must be folded
c. One that may need to be re-evaluated, but not solely based on enrolment
OK, now give yourself 3 points for each answer of type “a”, 2 for each answer of type “b” and 1 for each answer of type “c”, and compute your overall score. If you have scored
Less than 15: You are no administrator material. You still reason with an old mentality, as if university administrators should be, or have been, themselves faculty. You have trouble accepting that higher education is a business just like any other. Go back to your office and work on your class notes.
Between 15 and 25: You understand the basic tenets of higher education. You have the required, generic managerial skills that apply to any business (universities, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, what have you) and are sufficiently detached from the end product that you will be able to make necessary, painful decisions (slashing budgets) without unnecessary concern over long-term consequences — they won’t affect you anyway. You would make an excellent mid- to high-level administrator.
Over 25: I see the presidency of a university in your future.
30: I see the presidency of a university in your present.