University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Copenhagen not bloated with staff, says director

Claims of ballooning university administration are off the mark in Copenhagen, says director of finance

Copenhagen’s university is not suffering from an oversized bureaucracy of administrators.

This is the message from deputy director of group finance Antonio Castrone on the intranet KUnet. He thereby counters claims to the opposite implied by a recent study of Danish universities.

Professors Rebecca Boden and Sue Wright recently presented data which revealed a ballooning layer of administration. The University of Copenhagen, one of the Danish universities analysed, had increased administrative expenses of 46 per cent between 2003 and 2009. The professors pointed to increasing numbers of staff, »football-player« size manager salaries, and creative definitions to make administrative costs seem lower than they are.

»There is power in determining who is a VIP (Danish term for academic, ed.) or TAP (Danish term for administrative personnel and other staff, ed.), and there is a high degree of confidentiality in determining exactly who is what,« Rebecca Boden said at the presentation.

New definitions

But the proportion of staff working as technical and administrative personnel in the University of Copenhagen has dropped, not risen, University of Copenhagen director Castrone now counters.

In 2005 there were eight per cent more staff defined as technical- administrative personnel than academics. But using the same definitions there are now seven per cent more academics than administrators, Castrone claims. Boden and Wright’s survey is skewed.

»In the survey, they have most likely not corrected for definitional and organisational changes,« he says. »Many staff are now classified as TAP, which previously went under the VIP rubric,« he adds.

More externally financed research

In absolute figures the number of administrators has gone up Castrone admits. But this is due to a large increase in university turnover, in particular a huge increase in externally financed research projects.