The Teaching and Learning Workforce in Higher Education, 2024

Size and Reporting Lines

Budgeted positions varied by institution type and size. The library was the area that had the highest average number of FTE positions budgeted for the current fiscal year, with an average of 20.32 positions, followed by those who selected "other" areas of responsibility (8.71 positions), and online, hybrid, or distance learning (4.50 positions) (see figure 4). (To minimize the influence of outliers, we also report the median number of budgeted FTE positions.) The departments/units that had the lowest average number of FTE positions budgeted were and artificial intelligence (0.39 positions), learning space design and management (1.38), and project management (1.77). The high numbers of library FTE positions reported may be due to the fact that a comparatively small proportion of respondents are library professionals and that a significant proportion of them work at large institutions—including several from multi-campus systems—which tend to have larger numbers of professionals in a given role. Along these lines, the number of budgeted positions was higher at institutions with larger enrollments and also at public master's and doctoral institutions.

Figure 4. Average and Median Numbers of Budgeted FTE Positions
Bar chart showing mean and median FTE positions by department: Library (mean: 20.32, median: 9), Other (mean: 8.71, median: 2), Online, hybrid, or distance learning (mean: 4.5., median: 1), Leadership and management of staff and operations (mean: 4.08, median: 2), Budget management (mean: 3.91, median: 1), Instructional design (mean: 3.77, median: 2), Faculty training and development (mean: 3.41, median: 2), Instructional technology (classroom support) (mean: 3.39, median: 2), Analytics (mean: 3.11, median: 1), Staff education and training (mean: 2.62, median: 1), Instructional technology (online) (mean: 2.06, median: 1), Evaluation of new technologies (mean: 1.80, median: 1), Project management (mean: 1.77, median: 7), Learning space design and management (mean: 1.38, median: 1), Artificial intelligence (mean: 0.39, median: 0).

A minority reported that positions had been created or eliminated in the past year. Overall, a relatively small percentage of respondents from each department/unit (30% or less) reported that new positions had been created within the past year (see figure 5). Meanwhile, 20% or less said that existing positions had been eliminated within the past year (see figure 6). The areas with the most respondents reporting the creation of new positions were "other" departments/units (30%), library (30%), and instructional design (26%). The areas that saw the most respondents reporting that positions had been eliminated were library (20%), "other" departments/units (17%), and leadership and management (11%).

Figure 5. Positions Created
Bar chart showing percentage of respondents who said positions were created in each area: Other (30%), Library (30%), Instructional design (26%), Leadership and management of staff and operations (25%), Instructional technology (classroom support) (21%), Analytics (20%), Instructional technology (online) (20%), Project management (19%), Online, hybrid, or distance learning (19%), Faculty training and development (18%), Artificial intelligence (16%), Evaluation of new technologies (16%), Staff education and training (11%), Learning space design and management (11%), Budget management (8%).
Figure 6. Positions Eliminated
Bar chart showing percentage of respondents who said positions were eliminated in each area: Library (20%), Other (17%), Leadership and management of staff and operations (11%), Faculty training and development (10%), Instructional design (9%), Instructional technology (classroom support) (8%), Online, hybrid, or distance learning (7%), Instructional technology (online) (7%), Staff education and training (5%), Learning space design and management (5%), Evaluation of new technologies (5%), Budget management (5%), Project management (5%), Analytics (5%), Artificial intelligence (3%).

Most respondents believe they are currently reporting to the appropriate person(s). Across all areas of job responsibility, the most common line of reporting was to directors—35% of respondents report to a director or senior director (see figure 7). The remaining reporting lines were varied, with decreasing proportions of respondents reporting to "other" persons not listed (17%), academic officers (15%), vice presidents (13%), and managers (11%). Many of those selecting "other" indicated that they directly report to provosts, deans, and/or department chairs. Fewer respondents indicated that they report directly to individuals in higher-level positions such as the president, chancellor, or CEO. Surprisingly, this distribution of reporting lines was fairly similar across responsibility areas. We also asked respondents whether they believe the person they report to now is the person they should be reporting to, and a majority (82%) said yes.

Figure 7. Reporting Lines
Bar chart showing reporting lines: Director (35%), Other (17%), Academic officer (15%), Vice president (13%), Manager (11%), Chief information officer (8%), President (5%), Administrative officer (4%), Chief executive officer (2%), Chancellor (2%), Business officer (0.3%).

Some need access to leadership in academics. Among the 18% of respondents who believe they should be reporting to someone other than whom they currently report to, there was not a clear preference for whom exactly that person should be, though a common set of reasons for wanting to report to someone else did emerge. Not only do these respondents want simpler reporting structures, (i.e., less hierarchy) to reduce unnecessary communication and improve overall efficiency, but they also expressed a desire to report to leaders who are better aligned with academics and with teaching and learning priorities. Some respondents also noted a need for access to leadership across functional areas to be able to perform their jobs optimally. This makes sense when considering that most reported having responsibilities spanning multiple areas. Finally, a number of respondents expressed a desire to report to other individuals due to ineffective leadership and management, especially in the realm of moving projects forward.

"I think for my organization specifically, there are too many mid-level managers and too few actual hands on deck to do the work. The current managerial structure is ineffective."

"It's not the position I report to that's the problem; it's that their portfolio is too broad. I'd like to report to someone with a more focused role in teaching and learning."

"Distance Learning is integrated into all of our instructional systems. I currently report to [someone] who does not know anything about online education or instructional technology and is often too busy to help plan, etc. This means that I do not have advocacy for a dedicated budget for digital instructional infrastructure and am held accountable for the entire campus, yet am not included in discussions about my unit or campus-wide strategic planning. I should also have standing meetings with our CTO as well."

"My role is both technology and academic focused. I should have one direct report for the technology focus and one direct report for academics since they are separate worlds here on my campus."

"My manager struggles to build relationships with the faculty members and leadership we work with, negatively buffering the connection and opportunities for growth that I have with this group."

"[My] current manager does not have the experience to move projects forward and stalls opportunities."