College Jobs, Never Easy, Have Become Pressure Cookers

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Published by The Chronicle of Higher Education

Being able to make that kind of big-picture, strategic contribution is not just a rhetorical or intellectual exercise but a matter of survival in a tough market, according to David W. Strauss and Richard A. Hesel. They’re principals with Baltimore-based Art & Science Group, a consulting outfit that provides market research and strategy advice to colleges.

"There’s a class system among institutions," Mr. Strauss says. A handful of elites control their own destinies, while those at the bottom are most susceptible to market pressure. Meanwhile, "middle-class" institutions get squeezed, with public flagships as well as smaller private colleges feeling the pinch. That affects almost everybody on campus, from top administrators to junior faculty members.

"When the government of a state decides it’s going to take $350 million out of your budget, that hurts," Mr. Strauss says. "You have the public and political sectors beginning to impinge philosophically on the institution."

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