Hey, I'm not ashamed; it's an excellent analysis (html; PDF), data-mining US Department of Education figures to sketch administrative bloat in public universities. I'm not necessarily onboard with their treatment plan, but I like the diagnosis.
Pull quotes from the PDF on overall trends and on admin rent-seeking below the break. Plus further analysis from (Even The Liberal) New Republic!
Leading public universities were also already administrative-heavy in 1993, but the rate of growth in administrative employment was even higher than the growth in educators, leaving these institutions even more administrator heavy in 2007 (see Figure 6 and Table A1). Full-time employment in the instructional, research and service category grew by 9.8 percent between 1993 and 2007, but the number of full-time administrators grew at nearly four times that rate - 39.0 percent. It now takes 39.0 percent more full-time administrators to manage the same number of students than it did in 1993. Put another way, there are now fewer than 13 students for every full-time administrator at public institutions. Apparently, public universities are trying to keep up with private institutions in administrative bloat even if they cannot compete in the areas of teaching, research and service.
Growth in enrollments and higher rates of government subsidy have made universities ﬂush with extra funds. Being nonproﬁts, they do not return excess proﬁts to shareholders; instead, they return excess proﬁts to their de facto shareholders, the administrators who manage the institutions. These administrators are paid dividends in the form of higher compensation and more fellow administrators who can reduce their own workload or expand their empires.
See also this article from the New Republic, where I found the Goldwater link:
Two simple correctives might be applied, neither of which would add to the cost of the program that President Obama proposes. First, instead of emphasizing Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), why not reward those campuses with the most favorable faculty to student ratios? Liberal arts colleges routinely advertise their faculty to student ratios. Why shouldn’t public institutions similarly compare themselves? Second, let’s reward colleges spending more in the classroom and less in the boardroom. Otherwise, we will simply incentivize corner-cutting in instruction while continuing to throw quarter-of-a-million dollar salaries at the Second Associate Vice Provost of Nothing in Particular....
A judicious person would investigate the administrative costs of a charity before signing over a large donation. Why shouldn’t the Department of Education do likewise in identifying schools devoting the greatest proportion of their resources to things that benefit students?