NIU hiring pattern reflects national trends

By Eric Krol

When it comes to hiring more non-teaching staff than faculty in the ‘80s, NIU mirrors the national trends.

According to figures compiled by Director of Institutional Research Nick Noe, the number of non-faculty employees at NIU rose while the number of faculty slightly fell in the period from 1985-86 to 1989-90, the last year figures were taken.

NIU data follows the national trend reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education. National figures show the largest jump in the “other professionals” category, which jumped by 28 percent during the period.

NIU saw a 22.5 percent increase in this category, which includes a wide variety of positions, such as computer personnel, research associates and academic support service employees.

In step with the national explanation, NIU President John La Tourette said he attributed the increase to federal and state mandates for new programs.

“The mission of this university has changed over the last 10 years. We’ve become a more comprehensive university,” La Tourette said.

La Tourette also attributed the “other professionals” jump to the increasing amount of federal research dollars throughout the last decade. NIU hired 24 more research associates during the period.

While some analysts might point to “bureaucratic bloat” at universities, NIU Employment Supervisor George Nenonen said NIU’s increase is the result of the continued demand for support services.

“If there is bloat, it’s a response to demand by faculty and students for additional support services,” Nenonen said.

Other factors contributing to the “other professionals” increase included the hiring of 22 more computer personnel, 10 academic advisers and six under the category of “student services”, such as handicapped students.

Administrative and managerial employees increased by 10 percent at NIU while the national figure rose by 14 percent.

Noe stated the gain resulted from an increase in the number of “civil service positions of the administrative assistant type.”

However, while faculty remained the largest group of employees on college campuses, its growth slowed nationwide and NIU also had a slight decrease.

Although faculty grew at an 8.6 percent rate nationally, NIU saw a 1 percent decrease in the number of full-time faculty. Noe said the slight decrease was offset by an increase in the number of part-time faculty from 179 to 192.

Noe said the faculty number remained constant because enrollment also remained about the same. The faculty to full-time student ratio was approximately 17-8 in both the fall of 1985 and 1989.

The number of secretarial jobs was augmented by 9.5 percent. “About half of the additional positions were in academic departments and colleges in research and public service centers,” Noe said.

As for the future, La Tourette said he expects the numbers to continue growing.

Although money for instruction has not increased over the past few years, La Tourette said research money has been increasing and will probably continue to do so.