Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Before you get angry at the headline, let's await the answers

Above is a screenshot from a website called the Grizzly Bear Project that specializes in California reporting.* You may note something funny about the text. It refers to a chart that isn't there. Later in the article, there is a different chart that is there which reports data from 1993 and 2013 by UC campus showing a vast increase in what seem to be managerial positions. But when you look at the data, questions of meaning arise. So I attempted to use the site's "contact us" option to raise questions this morning: 

Data questions: Could UC-Davis really have been run by 9 people in 1993 and then over 400 people twenty years later?  You can't run a big campus with 9 people.  If they are really just the very top execs, it seems doubtful *by the same definition* there could be over 400 of them now.  The definitions at the top of your chart show different names for the managerial occupations in 1993 and later.  Are they really comparable?  How many of the positions are on state money? When I clicked on "get the data" on your chart, it just gave me another view of the chart - but not data or specific sources and definitions.

However, two attempts to send the questions above to Grizzly Bear Project produced an error message. I couldn't find an alternative option under "contact us" for communicating with the site. The article concludes with: 

The Cal State system has been able to cut its administration by more than one-third from 1993-2013, while UC administration has more than tripled over the same period. This is not to say that UC administration growth is to blame for the entirety of the increases in student fees. But it does underscore one of the trends – along with increasing enrollment and declining per capita state investment – that has increased the cost of a UC education for California students...

As blog readers will know, we at the UCLA Faculty Assn. are not interested on this website with defending administrative bloating at UC. But we do want accurate info to be part of the public debate, particularly as key decisions await regarding tuition and budgets at UC. So we are hoping that we can clear up any questions by posting this information. Perhaps someone at Grizzly Bear Project will respond.**
**Anyone at Grizzly Bear Project can email yours truly at
UPDATE: While we await a possible response, it might be noted that the Grizzly Bear Project piece has been picked up and recirculated by at least two other websites today: The Nooner and Rough and Tumble. 

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