Much has been made of late - particularly in this newspaper - about administrative bloat at the state's public universities.
UNC system President Erskine Bowles has called for a massive reduction in administrative positions across the state - to the tune of about 900 jobs, many of them filled.
But what, then, is an "administrator?" The broad use of the term is clearly bothering some folks.
Take Alston Gardner, a trustee at UNC Chapel Hill. Gardner chairs the board's university affairs committee and this week gave a pep talk of sorts to Interim Provost Bruce Carney and to administrators, er, leaders, er, officials.
Anyhow, Gardner's point was that calling top academic officials at UNC-CH "administrators" sold them short.
"As if your job is to shuffle papers from one side of your desk to the other," Gardner said. "What you do is not 'administration.' What you do is leadership."
To give you an idea of just how vague the term "administrator" is these days, consider this: Last week, the UNC system released a list of administrative positions eliminated across the state as part of a massive budget-cutting initiative. At UNC-CH, 202 positions were eliminated. They all fall under that "administrator" umbrella.
(You can see much of that information by clicking on the attachment below)
Here are 10 I'm picking out to illustrate how wide-ranging this categorization can be.
* Outdoor Drama program director.
*Project manager, N.C. Institute for Public Health Outreach
* Assistant dean, director of core facilities, school of medicine
* Receptionist - Renaissance Computing Institute.
* Security Guard, school of public health.
* Associate vice chancellor, information technology.
* Facilities maintenance technician.
* Database administrator
* Development officer, Friday Center
* Natural science educator, N.C. Botanical Garden