Administrators’ Views on Campus Life, Diversity, and Politics
Little data existed about college administrators’ views on politics and other issues.
While there is significant discussion of the political leanings of college faculty, there is considerably less information on campus administrators who have substantial agenda-setting powers at their schools. Dr. Samuel Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College sought to better understand administrators’ views on campus life, diversity, and political engagement, and appraising their interactions with students. Abrams also wanted to assess the relative political and ideological diversity of colleges and universities.
NORC surveyed administrators at public and private colleges.
To support Abrams’s exploration during the spring and summer of 2018, NORC at the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Survey Laboratory (Survey Lab) conducted a survey of collegiate administrators in various offices, including student life, residence, advising, health services, career, and professional development. To ensure a balanced result in the data, both public and private colleges and universities across the country were included, and every effort was made to stratify schools by size, region, type (e.g., liberal arts), socioeconomic status, and residential/commuter.
The study yielded a noteworthy finding about the political views of college administrators.
Approximately 900 college administrators participated. The results suggest liberal administrators outnumbered their more conservative colleagues by 12 to 1. Only 6 percent of the respondents identified as conservative to some degree, while 71 percent self-reported as liberal or very liberal. The proportions were far more liberal than the two-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives found in a 2016 survey by the Higher Education Research Institute.