Universities as Royal Courts

The journal ‘Agenda’, the policy journal of the College of Business and Economics at The Australian National University just released a piece of mine called ‘Universities as Royal Courts’. One can download it free of charge (just click on the link). It continues my long-running attempt of trying to explain to the Australian online public that Vice Chancellors and other higher-level bureaucrats in our universities have much higher salaries than in other countries; that  at some universities (like QUT) the standards for being called a professor seem rather low if one is an administrator; why some universities have an overpaid upper echelon in the first place; and how the situation could be improved. This new piece draws parallels between the way some universities are run and how the royal courts of Europe were organised, complete with pageantry and scheming barons. The article carries a misspelling of my name ( a deliberate finishing touch of the editor, I think) which underscores the tongue-in-cheek humour of the piece. Enjoy!

Author: paulfrijters

Professor of Wellbeing and Economics at the London School of Economics, Centre for Economic Performance

One thought on “Universities as Royal Courts”

  1. Paul,
    Let me offer some piquant suggestions.

    1. Get rid of all the university titles. You can keep a job designation or pay grade of professor, but henceforth Professor Somename becomes plain old Mr. or Ms. Somename. Yes, lose the Dr Somename – really no one needs to know if you have a PhD when you are being introduced. The Vice Chancellor could become the CEO. You get the idea. Kings, Barons, Lords, Queens, Princes, Bishops, Cardinals, Imams, Rabbis, Swamis – Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang (if you are new to Australia Paul, ask someone).

    2. Ditch job for life tenure with guaranteed salary. It is a farce; you know it, I know it, the rest of the world knows it. I was personally shocked to see that in Joshua Gans list of top blogs articles for 2012 three of his top five were by economists bemoaning the minor efforts of Sydney University to lift its game in this respect. It is a waste of time complaining about university satraps excessively consuming resources when the resource allocation specialists (economists) fail to confront the issue.

    3. University rules for degree requirements make tax law seem transparent. Complexity of rules is how bureaucracy entrenches itself. It is not a secret. You do not need a management consultant. Just fix the nonsense.

    I’ll bet you can think of more.


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