RU hires Vice President for Gluten Intolerance
New Brunswick, NJ. April 16, 2013. Rutgers University today announced an appointment to one major post, with ongoing searches in other areas.
"When I came to Rutgers," said President B.L. Barfski at a Winants Hall press conference, "I was surprised to find that the administrator-to-faculty ratio at the university was somewhat better than I expected: not quite two administrators for each member of the teaching faculty, but encouragingly close to that.
I was surprised to discover, however, that unlike many of our Big Ten peer institutions, Rutgers does not have a strong organizational structure to support initiatives in identifying and combating gluten intolerance. As a former physician, I found this to be deplorable."
In addition to a Vice President of Gluten Intolerance, Barfski announced, Rutgers over the next 15 months will be seeking administrators -- vice presidents, deans, associate deans, assistant deans, counselors, workshop facilitators, public relations personnel -- in related areas.
"Right now," said Barfski, "we have absolutely no administrative office to deal with campylobacter onset syndrome (COS), let alone vice presidents, deans, and associate deans able to identify and counsel those who test positive for other conditions -- those associated with Vibrio, Yersinia, Listeria, and Escherichia coli, to name just a few -- that might occur on any campus."
Barfski made clear that while his main concern was with the possibility of social insensitivity towards those with COS and similar conditions, adding administrative appointments was also central to what he called his exciting new Strategic Plan.
"A major worry," he said, "is that we have too many faculty. Right now, Rutgers has 1678 full-time faculty members but only 3314 administrators. That's unacceptable. At academic and intellectual powerhouses like Nebraska and Ohio State, an administrator-to-faculty ratio of 2.4-to-1 is standard."
To improve the ratio, he said, Rutgers will also need to drastically shrink its faculty.
Asked who would do the teaching if faculty numbers were to decline, Barfski said "I don't know. Read the Chronicle of Higher Education. They report all the time on places where one professor can teach 200,000 students on huge screens projected in gigantic lecture halls. When I get a minute, I mean to appoint a Vice President and a couple of deans to look into that."
"In the meantime," he added, "you can always hire adjuncts. The world is crawling with them, and you can pay them almost nothing. Look, just for the $1.2 million we paid in severance to that Pernetti person and the $475,000 payout to his basketball coach you can hire 300-400 adjuncts and part-time lecturers for a whole academic year. We're talking chickenfeed here."
Barchi stressed that some upcoming administrative appointments would address much-discussed problems such as Rutgers' slum campus. "My next appointment," he said, "is likely to be to what my staff calls an office of litter twitter."
Asked about litter twitter, the president explained that associate and assistant deans would patrol the campus to take digital pictures of litter swirling on sidewalks and streets, using Twitter to send identifying information instantly to a central office overseen by a Vice President for Litter Awareness.
"For instance," Barfski said, "the message '#OMG. C-br Sdwy Sctt Hll' could instantly identify a photo showing a candy bar wrapper blowing around on the sidewalk outside the south doorway of Scott Hall. Then the vice president of Litter Twitter could hand it over to a dean of litter awareness, who would transmit it to an associate dean, who would give it to an assistant dean, who would give it to her secretary, who would then pass it on to a clerical worker for appropriate filing for a litter initiative to be undertaken at some future time. It's just a matter of using digital technology intelligently."
"We must never forget," Barfski said in his concluding remarks, "that Rutgers is a brand. This is just one small step in promoting customer satisfaction."