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The Fall of the Faculty

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  46 reviews
"In his lacerating "The Fall of the Faculty," Mr. Ginsberg argues that universities have degenerated into poorly managed pseudo-corporations controlled by bureaucrats so far removed from research and teaching that they have barely any idea what these activities involve. He attacks virtually everyone from overpaid presidents and provosts down through development officers, c ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published August 12th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published July 7th 2011)
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May 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a deeply flawed book that makes half an important argument. Ginsberg argues that tenure is under threat (yes) and that university tuition is skyrocketing (yes). The cause he identifies for both problems is university administrators. Ginsberg, a very distinguished scholar, has unfortunately written a very unscholarly book. The growth in the administrator per pupil ratio is the cause of most of the problems in higher education, from political correctness to high tuition, according to Ginsb ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
"The Fall of the Faculty" was a fascinating read, because it combined a lot of useful statistics (50% increase in faculty/students vs. 85% increase in administration in the same time period; % of university money that comes from tuition vs. donations, etc.) with humorous/chilling anecdotes, and also with the author's self-aggrandizing swaggering and posturing over what a rebel he has been w/r/t his dealings with the administration. All of this makes for an informative, fun, and sometimes very ey ...more
Adam Balshan
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
3.5 stars [Education]
Benjamin Ginsberg writes an expose of corruption in the University.

Writing: 3 stars
It is well-written (3.5), but not well-organized (2.5).

Use: 3.5 stars

Truth: 4 stars
I underlined much of this book. His attack against the bloat of administrative bureaucracy is well-founded. Most who oppose the assertions in Ginsberg's book will be part of that bureaucracy, beneficiaries of the money, prestige, or both they enjoy, and thus will hate the sunlight Ginsberg shines.

On the negative
Nathan Leslie
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one has really stuck with me. Ginsberg does not pull a single punch here and though when I first read this book in 2012 or so it annoyed me that Ginsberg's opinion was so ever-present in the text, The Fall of the Faculty is prescient and prophetic. Administrative bloat has not abated, but in fact at many institutions has become ludicrous. If you work in academia you will certainly see much truth in this study, even if Ginbserg's polemic is one-sided. He's passionate, cut him a break. ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am once again embarking on my quest for next year's Associate Dean Think Tank NERCHE common read.

I was shocked, appalled and disappointed with this author's very angry point of view. The entire tone of the book was very disrespectful of higher ed administrators. His moniker for administrators is the very insulting "Deanlet". (Deanlets spend their time meeting and "retreating").

In his conclusion to 200+ pages of insults he states, "With fewer Deanlets to command, senior administrators would be
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
While I completely agree with the fundamental argument of this book and have seen it in action at a university where I work, his tone is pretty pompous and rude; it's almost like the first angry draft was accepted for publication without adjustments, and while I personally identified with his anger, it seemed overdone and inappropriate here, especially for a scholar.

Some enlightening ideas about strategic plans, tenure, institutional assessment, and endowments were the best parts for me and if y
Stephen Case
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
There’s something wrong with American higher education today, and Benjamin Ginsberg, a political science professor who has worked at multiple prestigious U.S. universities, is convinced he’s identified the primary component of the problem: college administrators. His work, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why it Matters, is a polemic against the spread of what he refers to as the “administrative blight” that has proliferated throughout higher education i ...more
Tara Brabazon
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adore this book. I read it. Turned to the front of the book. Read it again. Ginsberg hits full attack mode in questioning what has happened to our universities since the administrators took over the institution. He supplies the quantitative data of the growth of administrators and managers. But with great subtlety he shows the impact of the cultural shift from scholarship to managerialism.

It is a serious book with a serious argument. But hell - it is really funny as well. There were
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The section on activism and administration left me with a very bad taste in my mouth (it's a bad thing to ban sexual harassment on campus? or something? first amendment et cetera). He fundamentally misunderstands the links between activism and administration - which most commonly amounts to inclusion theatre than any real progress. It is clear from his own examples that administration couch their actions in social justice language without believing in anything but a further extension of their ow ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
There are many things wrong with American higher education. This book gets at none of them. A cranky conspiracy theory that claims that a shadow army of "deanlets" has stolen the university from its faculty. ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book about administrative bloat and how faculty at the college level are being undermined.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Too in love with his thesis to really get anywhere.
Kelly W.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I first became aware of this book when I saw it quoted in David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs, and being an ex-academic myself, I had a personal interest in the subject matter. Despite being published in 2011, The Fall of the Faculty is shockingly still relevant, mainly because the trends in higher education that have led to increased administrative positions and fewer teaching jobs have continued to the present day. But while I found this book valuable, there were some drawbacks that led to me giving ...more
Matt Clements
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I believe that university administrations have become larger and more complex beyond any reasonable justification and that this is one of the reasons higher education is in real trouble. However, this book argues that point in a way that would be easy for a critic to dismiss: with information that could be regarded as anecdotal, with unsupported generalizations, and with a good deal of exaggeration and sarcasm. The author attributes a greater degree of corruption to administrators than I think i ...more
Leif Kurth
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Aside from Professor Ginsberg's seeming distaste for much of the programming revolving around diversity, he makes many good points, particularly as this subject relates to the ever-increasing costs in higher edu. The growth of administration, and the relative decrease in the number of professors who have any sort of job security is bad for students, bad for the larger college community, and ultimately really bad for those who believe in the pursuit of life-long learning. ...more
Carol Leibiger
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a frustrating read. The author reveals the history and vicissitudes of the all-administrative (read: neoliberal) university, skewering administrative bloat and corruption at all levels, from chancellors to "deanlets," he provides little in the way of solutions beyond encouraging faculty to assert themselves. Given the decline of faculty positions protected by tenure, free speech, and academic freedom, where is this assertiveness to come from? ...more
Dr. Ziad Abuelrub
Dec 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020, علمية
This book aims to point the danger of the expanding role of administrative role on behalf of the faculty. The author claims will diverge the university from its main mission, spreading knowledge via teaching and research, to provide administrative staff more benefits.
Although the author seems to be an expert and well-aware of this matter, however, the book is staffed with long stories and elaborations. Therefore, the book can be significantly reduced to one chapter or an article.
Alex Mobley
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
It’s difficult to look past the endless sarcasm, mountains of mockery, and exaggerative analogies. It feels like I’m listening in on a disgruntled and resentful faculty member in a lounge complain about their bosses and how they should be the one in charge. Looking through ALL of that, there are some valid criticisms of university administrations and examples that echo my experiences in higher education.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book explaining the growing and negative administrative roles in higher education. I understood it as a desperate plea of help to return our education system to our faculty (what it once was), rather than a method of gaining wealth and popularity.
Rudy Darken
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for any academic of higher ed.
Victor Fabien
Some really good points, just got a little repetitive by the end (the occasional salty comments by the author made me persist).
Trevor Kidd
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Why I chose this book: Fall of the Faculty was mentioned in David Graeber’s 2018 book Bullshit Jobs, a book I highly recommend. So I put it on hold at my library.

Benjamin Ginsberg writes a passionate expose about the rise of all levels of administration in public and private universities to the detriment of teaching and research. Mid-level “deanlets” are a particular target of Ginsberg’s ire.

Ginsberg takes important topics: the rise in the amount of administrative levels at universities, the th
Karen Jean Martinson
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
The good news is that much of the egregious administrative oversteps that I see happening at Chicago State University are happening at other universities, too. The bad news is that much of the egregious administrative oversteps that I see happening at Chicago State University are happening at other universities, too.

Ginsberg's book documents the rise of the professional administrative class at institutions of higher learning (which clearly has already happened in k-12 education as well) and cog
Anton Rasmussen
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: higher-ed-stuff
Benjamin Ginsberg seems to be overly jaded about the state of Higher Education in the U.S. . . .

In seven chapters Professor Ginsberg makes a case for why faculty, parents, students, and the public should worry about the diminishing state of University and College faculties around the nation.

As the chapters go on it becomes more and more clear that this book isn't so much an *analysis* as a wholesale attack on Higher Education Administration.

Professor Ginsberg provides figures and statistics sho
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ginsberg's central argument is that administrators at universities use every possible scheme they can to wrest power from the faculty, and that the losers of this struggle are the faculty, the students, and the nation at large. While some aspects of this argument are very compelling and true (the loss of tenure, the commercialization of research), other components of Ginsberg's narrative seem too far-fetched (administrators tie "diversity" and "multiculturalism" into any projects they are afraid ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
There's a lot to not love about this book.

* It's anecdotal. Distractingly so. Ginsberg alludes to public institutions and community colleges, but he seems to be mostly discussing large, elite private institutions. Not much is supported by meaningful data
* He barely holds faculty accountable. It is only in the last 10 pages of the book that he admits faculty hold some responsibility for the in-roads made my administrators
* His take on race and gender in the academy made me very uncomfortable
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This author pulls no punches. He was very direct with the reasons tuitions are increasing so much and why the ranks of tenured professors are decreasing. My main concern was with why tuitions are increasing. And because I know a few college professors I can say that it is not because of their salaries. The growth and cost of bloated administrations, the excessive salaries of presidents and football coaches, the costs of athletic programs; all contribute to the rise of tuition. I can't say I'm sy ...more
Marie desJardins
Aug 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
It is really unfortunate that Ginsberg is so apoplectic as to be completely irrational. There are a lot of interesting cases in this book, but you can't trust Ginsberg to analyze or draw conclusions from any of them, because he's simply cherry-picking to fuel his blind anger at university administration. "Faculty good, administration evil" -- that's the message, and anything that might not suit it is simply disregarded.

At times, the diatribe is downright offensive, as when Ginsberg insinuates th
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Over all, Ginsberg’s argument is cogent and pressing: the rise in high-level administrative positions and fall of full-time faculty positions in most universities in the US are destroying our higher ed system, and markers of much worse things to come. I think every faculty member should read this--and perhaps more importantly, every administrator.

The book was fairly annoying, however, because Ginsberg's writing style is so self-aggrandizing, so full of personal experiences and anecdotes (when th
Feb 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
While the book makes a few good points and contains kernels of truth about the rising dominance of administration over faculty on American colleges, the author's tone is too venomous and insulting for his arguments to be taken as well-reasoned, sobering, persuasive ones. His constant name-calling and use of pejorative terms (he refers to assistant deans as "deanlets" and deans as "deanlings") renders this entire book into a whiny, childish rant. Furthermore, so many paragraphs begin with "Obviou ...more
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