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You know what this place needs? Another Vice President

I have already written about WCC’s absurd number of Vice Presidents. Since I first wrote about this issue (51 days ago), the Administration has published a job posting for another Vice President. When filled, WCC will have a total of 10 people with some variant title of Vice President on staff.

In a previous piece, I did a comparison of other Michigan community colleges to give some context to WCC’s VP count. Based on the combined structures of these “local” institutions, WCC should have somewhere between 2-5 VPs.

So, the next logical comparison is among community colleges of roughly the same size around the country. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), I sorted all US community colleges by size, based on their unduplicated headcount for the 2018-2019 school year. Then, I selected the 10 community colleges immediately above and below WCC on this list. The unduplicated headcounts ranged from 20,005-23,138. WCC’s unduplicated headcount was 21,282.

Beside the headcount, I considered how many campuses the institution operated. “Campus” is a generous term. Some institutions have limited-service extensions, comparable to WCC’s Brighton and Hartland sites. Other schools on the list have distinct campuses spread throughout a city, or across multiple counties, with complete program offerings, multiple buildings and dozens of classrooms. The number of campuses speaks to the complexity of a college’s operations.

Vice president count among the study group

Institution 2019 Unduplicated headcount Campuses Number of Vice Presidents
Community College of Philadelphia 23,138 4 6
Joliet Junior College 23,030 6 3
Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City 22,969 6 8
Tulsa Community College 22,918 4 9
College of Lake County 22,809 4 3
Moraine Valley Community College 22,597 3 6
Madison Area Technical College 21,816 8 8
Santa Barbara City College 21,423 1 4
Los Angeles Trade Technical College 21,363 1 4
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District 21,317 4 4
Washtenaw Community College 21,182 3 10
Cosumnes River College 21,015 1 4
College of Western Idaho 20,998 3 5
St Philip’s College 20,890 1 3
El Centro College 20,508 1 3
Wayne County Community College District 20,391 6 8
North Lake College 20,295 1 3
Moorpark College 20,190 1 3
Delgado Community College 20,166 5 7
SUNY Westchester Community College 20,136 1 7
Chabot College 20,005 1 3

No more Vice Presidents!

Ivy Tech Community College is the largest community college in the United States. It is Indiana’s statewide community college system with more than 40 campuses. Based on it unduplicated headcount, Ivy Tech is nearly eight times as large as WCC. It has 13 Vice Presidents. That’s one Vice President for every 12,500 students.

The Lone Start College System is the second-largest community college in the United States. Like Ivy Tech, it has multiple campuses (7) – although it does not serve the entire State of Texas. By unduplicated headcount, it is more than five times as large as WCC. It has five Vice Chancellors. Lone Star has one Vice Chancellor for every 21,950 students.

WCC has one Vice President for every 2,120 students.

What exactly is it about WCC’s operation that is so complex that it requires nearly 6 times as many Vice Presidents per student as Ivy Tech? What does it mean when the Chief Executive of a mid-sized community college needs nearly the same number of Vice Presidents as the largest community college in the United States? More importantly, at what point does the WCC Board of Trustees step in and put a firm stop to this Administration’s inane hiring demands?

Exactly how many Vice Presidents does it take to run WCC?

Photo Credit: Amy West , via Flickr