4. Healing the Ethical Cleft: Phronesis and University Ethical Leadership
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 2 Issue 1 Year 2020 pp. 69 - 89
A misalignment exists between the institutional management of individual student behavior and the stated ethical principles undergirding modern higher education practices in the United States, ultimately creating an ethical failure serving no one. We discuss this misalignment from the site of student affairs, due to its charge to represent both university and student. A technocratic ethical discourse creates the illusion of decision-making autonomy that promises certain outcomes if “common sense” leadership practices are employed. The lens of technical rationality homogenizes and reduces perceived problems to simple either/ors that fail to address the inequitable effects of such ethical logic. We counter “common sense” leadership with a notion of ethical leadership called phronetic leadership, which is informed by an Aristotelian understanding of phronesis (practical wisdom), virtue ethics, and a Foucauldian awareness of governmentality. We argue that phronetic leaders can mend the cleft crippling institutional ethical foundations and practices.