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D. S. Koelling

Shared Governance Is a Myth - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 14 views

  • It takes years of rank and the bitter­sweet experience of extensive committee service to realize that faculty influence on the operation of the university is an illusion, and that shared governance is a myth.
  • Committees report to administrative officers who are at liberty to accept, reject, or substantially alter faculty recommendations.
  • One would think that faculty senates exercise jurisdiction over a range of college life and policy. In reality, the right of many senates does not extend beyond making recommendations to the president, who is under no obligation to accept them.
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  • A more probable source of this way of doing business is the residue of an old ideal of the university. Such survivals of previous practices are not unusual in social life. Physicians, for example, experience a struggle between two competing understandings of their field: the prevalent view that treating patients is a business, and the residue of the old ideal that it is a calling. Ministers live the same ambiguity. Faculty committees constitute the respect that today's university pays to the old notion that it is a community of students and scholars. The impotence of the committees is acknowledgment that at this time in history, institutions of higher education are business ventures, in certain ways similar to factories.
  • If education is primarily a business, managers hire the faculty. If universities are communities of students and scholars, faculty members hire the managers.
  • The growing disempowerment of the faculty is accelerated by the distance of governing boards from campus processes.
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