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Academic administration facts for kids

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St. Charles Community College Administration Building (St. Charles, Missouri, 19 May 2009)
St. Charles Community College Administration Building (St. Charles, Missouri

Academic administration is a branch of university or college employees responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the institution and separate from the faculty or academics, although some personnel may have joint responsibilities. Some type of separate administrative structure exists at almost all academic institutions. Fewer institutions are governed by employees who are also involved in academic or scholarly work. Many senior administrators are academics who have advanced degrees and no longer teach or conduct research.

Key responsibilities

Key broad administrative responsibilities (and thus administrative units) in academic institutions include:

  • Admissions
  • Supervision of academic affairs such as hiring, promotion, tenure, and evaluation (with faculty input where appropriate);
  • Maintenance of official records (typically supervised by a registrar);
  • Maintenance and audit of financial flows and records;
  • 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 institutional compliance with federal and state regulations)
  • Public affairs (including relations with the media, the community, and local, state, and federal governments)
  • Student services such as disability services, career counselling and library staff.

Administrative titles

The chief executive, the administrative and educational head of a university, depending on tradition and location, may be termed the university president, the provost, the chancellor (the United States), the vice-chancellor (many Commonwealth countries), principal (Scotland and Canada), or rector (Europe, Russia, Asia the Middle East and South America).

An administrative executive in charge of a university department or of some schools, may be termed a dean or some variation. The chief executive of academic establishments other than universities, may be termed headmaster or head teacher (schools), director (used to reflect various positions ranging from the head of an institution to the head of a program), or principal, as used in primary education.

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