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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso

Focusing on crucial issues in higher education, this book challenges readers to go beyond taken-for-granted assumptions about America’s colleges and universities and instead critically examine important questions facing them in today’s troubled world. Each chapter presents divergent perspectives, that is, "pro" and "con" views, in the hope of stimulating reasoned dialogue among students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. Readers will explore how internal factors in the academic community often interact with external social, economic, and political influences to produce conflictual results. They will see that academe is hardly value-neutral and inevitably political. This book urges them to transcend strident political persuasion and instead engage in the careful analysis needed to make colleges better.

The text provides in-depth appraisal of key topics of controversy: the purposes of higher education, liberal education, academic freedom, political correctness, tenure, shared governance, faculty workload, admissions tests, student learning, Greek life, the worth of college, equity and social justice, athletics, student entitlement, technology and distance instruction, and college amenities. The book will appeal to students, faculty, staff, and all those interested in the future of higher education. It is especially useful for courses in contemporary issues in higher education, foundations of higher education, higher education and society, college student development, and the organization and administration of higher education.

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13. It Is a Balancing Act: Faculty Workload (Isis N. Walton / Nicolle Parsons-Pollard)


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13.  It Is a Balancing Act: Faculty Workload


When the authors accepted the assignment of contributing to this book the premise of the chapter was, “Are faculty working too little, especially as teachers?” We thought this is a great topic because each of us have been faculty for more than a decade and held administrative positions. So our hope was that as we weigh the question at hand we could see how to tease out the issues of the increasing cost of higher education, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed as a faculty member, and attempt to figure out what the appropriate workload should look like. However, these are very complex issues that cannot be addressed in one chapter and the more we review the literature on this issue the more exasperated we became about how our profession is seen by those inside higher education and those outside of it, in particular, the comparison of what we do as academicians to those in the business world. We will address not only what faculty do or at least are expected to do but also how it impacts workload to address the secondary question of “What should be the proper faculty workload?”

Public Scrutiny

The first sign of the public’s growing scrutiny of higher education occurred with the passage of the 1992 Higher Education Reauthorization Act. The Act authorized the establishment of...

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