The Chronicle of Higher Education
W. Kent Barnds loves his job. But with all the pressures facing higher education these days, it’s not getting any easier.
Mr. Barnds is vice president for enrollment, communication, and
planning at Augustana College, in Illinois. He’s been there 10 years but
has worked in higher education since he graduated from college, in the
A lot has changed in those two-plus decades, and Mr. Barnds’s job has
expanded remarkably. Like other administrators and faculty and staff
members on campuses around the country, he is learning to live in a
world of tighter budgets, swelling regulations, and ever more assessment
"The pressure’s greater on enrollment officers for a whole host of
reasons, but we’re not alone," he says. "There’s increased pressure on
every senior leader on a college campus."
The squeeze to do more, often with less, has been felt throughout
higher education. The proportion of tenure-track jobs continues to
dwindle, the precariousness of choosing the professorial life reflected
in the statistic that some 76 percent of faculty members now work as
adjuncts. In the sciences, researchers have been learning to deal with little to no growth
in federal support for a decade now; the budget of the National
Institutes of Health has fallen about 25 percent, adjusted for
inflation, since 2003. Their colleagues in the humanities, meanwhile,
feel the weight of increased expectations.