American Administrators Get a Lesson in German-Style Austerity

When David Dowell, a top administrator at a public university in California, traveled to Germany recently he had a creeping sense of déjà vu. Here was a higher-education system with a rich and proud history facing a tough budget environment amid an economic storm. In other words, it felt just like home.

"The parallels between California and Germany are greater than almost anywhere else in the U.S. and Germany," said Mr. Dowell, the vice provost and director of strategic