Why higher ed administrators are often a disaster

This article is clearly a hatchet job on Bernie Sanders, because his wife’s behavior isn’t relevant  to his political ambitions (plus, he’s a complete non-contender for the nomination!). But it shows how higher ed administrators often function: come up with a snazzy idea, one that is not the least bit anchored in reality, push it through against all opposition, and then depart for greener pastures while the faculty are left to deal with the mess.

Jane Sanders was the president of tiny Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont for seven years, from 2004 until 2011. During her tenure, Sanders masterminded an ambitious expansion plan that would have more than doubled the size of the school. To do so, she had the college take on $10 million in debt to finance the purchase of a new, far more expansive campus. The move backfired massively, leading to Sanders’ departure from the college and the near-collapse of the institution.


Pelham said that, from his memory, Burlington College’s proposal was based on a dramatic, unprecedented surge in donations to the college:

”I recall that the promised level of fundraising was a huge leap from their track record, and that the fundraising associated with this was not on an established trend line for Burlington College. They could have had a couple million dollars in absolutely secured commitments, and that would not have changed my mind.”


Stephen By Stephen

About me


Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.