Posted by: crudbasher | June 8, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Endowment

Disclaimer: Ok so the endowment is not lost, but the title wouldn’t work as well without it.

When money gets tight, who gets cut? Classes and teachers? Sure. Administration? Heh, not so much. I just saw this story where Dartmouth University is increasing how much money they take from their endowment income for administration costs.  I wonder how many administrators they cut before they took this step? I don’t know for sure but I bet it’s pretty close to zero. According to this study last year, administrative costs are the biggest driver in the increasing cost of higher education. Successful companies in Information Age are going to be flexible, and lean. Most universities don’t exactly fit that description.

Well I feel like I have been dealing with a lot of heavy blog topics lately so I give you something I came across many years ago. You may have even seen it yourself, but it’s relevant. It’s all over the net but I found this copy here.

New chemical Element Discovered

by William DeBuvitz

This bit of humor was written in April 1988 and appeared in the January 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher. William DeBuvitz is a physics professor at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey (USA). He retired in June of 2000.

The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major U.S. research university. The element, tentatively named administratium, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.

Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

  • endowment raiding.

    tags: education highered administration funding

    • To help patch a $100 million budget gap, administrators increased the percentage they take from some endowment returns to help pay for administrative costs, a move that has angered some faculty members who have raised questions about the ethics of the move and the lack of information provided to faculty members.
    • Because of the policy shift, about $2 million that would have previously gone to endowment recipients will now go to the administrative unit that oversees each recipient.
    • Many donors who thought that about 85 percent of their gift money was going straight to whatever areas they supported now have no choice but to see more of the funds shifted to administrative costs.
    • Since 1999, the university has redirected 14.29 percent of the payouts for endowed programs that don’t explicitly bar such action to the administrative unit to cover what it calls “associated program costs.”
    • In determining how to patch the budget gap, administrators decided to raise that rate to 19.1 percent, effective July 1.
    • The practice of directing gifts or endowment returns to pay for costs not directly proscribed by the donor is common, and most colleges and universities explain and spell out that component of the gift, said Rae Goldsmith of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Sometimes this money goes to supporting fund-raising efforts, and other times it goes toward administrative or overhead costs.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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