Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An academic administration is a branch of university or college employees responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the institution and separate from the research and teaching faculty. Such an administration exists at almost all academic institutions, though a few are run exclusively by employees who are also involved in academic or scholarly work.
An academic administrator is member of an academic institution's administrative staff; many administrators are former academics with advanced degrees who no longer teach or research actively.
Academic administrations are structured in various ways at different institutions and in different countries. In the United States a college or university is typically supervised by a president who reports regularly to a Board of Trustees made up of individuals from outside the institution. Deans supervise various more specific aspects of the institution and report to the president. The division of responsibility among deans varies widely between institutions; some are chiefly responsible for clusters of academic fields (such as the humanities or natural sciences) or whole academic units (such as a graduate school or college), while others are responsible for non-academic but campus-wide concerns such as minority affairs. In some cases a provost supervises the institution's entire academic staff, occupying a position generally superior to any dean. Below deans in the administrative hierarchy are heads of individual academic departments and of individual administrative departments from groundskeeping to libraries to registrars of records. These heads then supervise the staff of their individual departments.
Key responsibilities (and thus departments) in many institutions' administrations include:
- Supervision of academic affairs, tenure and hiring decisions (deans and provost);
- Maintenance of official records (typically supervised by a registrar);
- Library and archive management (by librarians and archivists);
- Maintenance and construction of campus buildings (the physical plant);
- Maintenance of the campus grounds;
- Safety and security of people and property on the campus (often organized as an office of public safety or campus police);
- Supervision and support of campus computers and network (information technology).
- Fundraising from private individuals and foundations ("development" or "advancement")
- Research administration (including grants and contract administration, and instituational compliance with federal and state regulations)
- Public affairs (including relations with the media, the community, and local, state, and federal governments)
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