Trophy Academic: Niall Ferguson

Mark Lause MLause at
Tue Jul 1 07:15:49 MDT 2003

College administrators--more than most corporate managers--hold
executive positions for a very short period of time, maybe two to five
years.  They often then move on to a different institution entirely.
This is a short period in which to make one's reputation.  New
construction projects, bringing in tons of grant money, and hiring
"trophy" professors are all logical ways of showboating.

All of this can have disastrous long-term consequences.  New
construction put the institutions into decades of debt.  Trophy
professors suck up the money to where you have to put off hiring
replacements for the ordinary professors who are retiring.  And a year
or two of big bucks creates a kind of institutional addiction that gets
in the way of what used to be done in such places.

Concentrating resources on a few in a craft with such high levels of
unemployment and underemployment is, of course, just nuts.

Mark Lause

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