The overall number of faculty in the UW System decreased between 2014 and 2017 while the number of administrators rose, WPR reported.
Between all 26 UW System campuses, faculty numbers decreased by 491 employees, or 7.7 percent between 2014 and 2017. Over the same period, positions classified as “administration and academic leaders” increased by 53 employees, or 3.5 percent.
However, UW System spokesman Mark Pitsch said comparing the number of positions across years can be misleading due to the 2018 System restructuring where two-year college became branch campuses of four-year universities. Because of this, the data shows large increases in administrative positions that aren’t there in reality, Pitsch said.
“It’s a little bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison because in 2018, those numbers reflect our big restructuring,” he told WPR.
On the individual campus level, the results were mostly the same. Administration numbers increased at six campuses, and faculty numbers fell at every four-year university except UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater, WPR reported.
At UW-Madison, faculty numbers dropped 80 positions during the four-year time frame, around a 4 percent decrease, according to System data. Administrative numbers rose by 52 positions, just more than 11 percent.
UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said the increase in administrators is in response to increased regulations, and the university added positions in places such as sexual violence support personnel and mental health counselors.
Also, both McGlone and Pitsch mentioned lower administrative costs at UW System campuses.
The UW System spent $2,448 per student on administration in 2018, $1,127 cheaper than the national average of $3,575 per student, WPR reported.
As for the decline in faculty numbers, Pitsch cited retirements, while also recognizing average pay for UW System faculty is lower than what those working at similar institutions are making.
System faculty made almost 16.5 percent less during the 2017-’18 academic year than faculty working at peer institutions.