Generate Your Next Job Title

Website pokes fun at administrative bloat by generating endless job titles and inflated salaries.

May 18, 2016

Is a career as an assistant liaison to athletic maintenance to the task force on employee partnerships in your future? Or how about as an associate provost for the deputy provost for facilities climate for the subcommittee for investor partnerships? It pays well -- $393,369 a year.

Those are some of the job titles produced by the University Title Generator, a website that pokes fun at administrative bloat at colleges and the creative job titles it has spawned (and, perhaps on a less amusing note, the hefty salaries that come with some of those titles).

"Damning indictment of the corporatization of higher education, or career finder?" the website's description reads. "You decide!"

The title generator spits out a seemingly endless (and as many people online noted, disturbingly plausible) number of job titles for assistant chairs, liaisons and vice provosts for an equally endless list of task forces, committees and offices. Not satisfied? Simply hit the button labeled "Click here if this position is not prestigious enough for you" to generate a new title -- and a new salary.

The website was built by Gregor Robinson, a Ph.D. student in applied mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, he said it started as a joke, but that "political commentary definitely started seeping in" during development.

"The present state of higher education imitates the modern corporation, especially on the administration side, and I wanted to poke a big finger at that," Robinson said in an email. "While this soup of administrative titles proliferate at universities, professorships do not. This points to academic stagnation in higher ed."

The seemingly random string of words and numbers that make up job titles and salaries actually have a deeper meaning, Robinson explained. To generate salaries, Robison set a base value for each position, which is adjusted based on the other words in the title. A chancellor, for example, has a base salary of $400,000. Adding "athletic," "donor" or "investor" makes the salary go up, while words such as "academic," "diversity" or "learning" do the opposite.

Robinson said he was hesitant about generalizing the work of all administrators, some of whom "enable the beautiful things a university adds to society." He added, "I hope as a whole the website contributes to a broader discussion about where universities prioritize their resources, and helps empower people to do something about the backwards state of affairs."

In addition to titles, the website has generated plenty of laughs on social media from people in academe.

Of course, anyone looking for actual salary data may want to check the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources' most recent data on salary levels for administrators (though the data unfortunately don't provide an estimate for anyone truly interested in becoming an associate provost for the deputy provost for facilities climate for the subcommittee for investor partnerships).


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