Deanlets, Deanlings, and the Decline of Higher Education

How do you like the Assistant Deanlet for Assessment!

I rarely get excited about the release of a new book, but Benjamin Ginsberg had me doing a pre-order on Amazon as soon as I caught whiff of the previews.  Ginsberg takes on the principal problem in American higher education, the excessive growth of meaningless and harmful administration. Bogus fads like “assessment” and “strategic planning” and “on line “education”” and such require an ever increasing phalanx of deanlets to “manage” the resources necessary to deliver these bullshit products. And, I have a feeling that Ginsberg isn’t going to hold his punches regarding the motivations of the people who fuel bureaucratic growth. At the top, he clearly points the finger at careerist top administrators who move from place to place, justifying doing nothing by making worthless plans (often plagiarized from other universities or simply rehashed–because bullshit is bullshit is bullshit!!!). Vision statement. Yeah. Right. Strategic Plan? Are there any other kinds of plans? Random plans? In reality, all actual administration is more random planning!!! You plan to use your resources according to how those resources have been randomly allocated to your department by some careerist asshole!

My hope is that Ginsberg doesn’t stop at the top–those high paid presidents and deans who move from place to place doing nothing and bailing out before they can be held accountable for fucking things up. Those people came from somewhere. They started out as deanlets and deanlings (he uses these terms! I should have copyrighted them!). Failed scholars who barely made tenure (or didn’t make tenure, in many cases) and moved into administration. Leeching on to some academic fad which they hope to ride into a cushy, highly compensated administrative job. We have several of those assholes who are successfully becoming deanlets at my humble university. They are the most loathesome pieces of shit you can possibly imagine. But, since the upper administration has been a revolving door (we’ve had four chancellors in the ten years I’ve been here), they’ve been able to implant themselves like tapeworms in the bowels of the University. And what do these tapeworms do? They require that we reconstruct our courses, force students to take bullshit courses which they designed (often taking kickbacks from publishers and consultants who also feed this parasitic infection in higher education), and they increase our workload by making people perform bullshit psychometric “assessment” which they don’t even understand. Some  failed humanities professor who never had a single course in statistics or measurement actually had the audacity to tell me that I was a bad teacher because I refused to play along with the “no child left behind” model of academic assessment.  My only hope is that they’ll be hired away to become Associate Deans at some other college…..and not replaced.


One Response to “Deanlets, Deanlings, and the Decline of Higher Education”

  1. Hagan Says:

    At Paine (so glad I got out) there were more deans/vice-presidents than anyone department had professors. I swear at times they made up titles and added random assistant vices to every title just to hire more friends.

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