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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues

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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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14. Faculty Work Life: Beyond the Tipping Point (Sean Robinson)

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14.  Faculty Work Life: Beyond the Tipping Point

SEAN ROBINSON

Within the past several decades, American colleges and universities have found themselves within a rapidly shifting context. These shifts have been not only philosophical, but also economic; driven by neoliberalism ideology and the ideas of marketization and managerialism, the idea of higher education as a public good has been replaced by the idea that higher education is a private good and is an investment on the part of individuals (Larabee, 1997). These shifts have introduced the notion of market forces into the higher education arena, which includes a newfound focus on competitiveness, efficiency, the relationship between resources to job performance, the restructuring of employment relationships and organizations themselves, and increased accountability measures. The impact within the academy is what Cummings and Finkelstein (2012) refer to as a diversified academic workforce, as seen by increasingly specialized job functions, differentiated career patterns and paths, and vastly different disciplinary backgrounds and work experiences. Given the changing context of higher education the purpose of this chapter is to discuss the impact such a neoliberal, market-driven environment has upon faculty, what I consider to be the true tipping of life in the academy. It is my position that the stronghold of managerialism and new measures of accountability within institutions greatly impact the character and quality of academic work along with the very nature of academic careers (in less than positive ways). ← 209 | 210 →

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