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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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15. Faculty Governance as a Thorny Problem (Michael T. Miller / Everrett A. Smith)


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15.  Faculty Governance as a Thorny Problem


Higher education, as a set of institutions and as an industry, continues to evolve and change to meet different demands. Campuses have physically changed to reflect consumer preferences, business operations have increased efficiencies, and the entire operation of curriculum management has become technology-based (Miller & Nadler, 2016). State and federal governments and other governing bodies have advocated for student rights, with even the Obama administration advocating for a clear disclosure of college-related costs and debt information. At the state level, legislators and coordinating bodies have advocated for improved access to institutions and success rates for students, forcing states to develop articulation agreements between community and four-year colleges and requiring institutions to offer courses on a regular basis so that students can graduate in four years. State policy makers engage in these activities because they perceive that faculty members and institutional leaders regularly and consistently inhibit student progress. Generations of literature on the professoriate seem to support allegations of inefficiency and bureaucratic bloat (Cahn, 2011; Campbell, 2000; Professor X, 1973).

The idea of inefficient higher education can be traced to multiple issues, including inappropriate stakeholder demands, the distractions of college sports (Sperber, 2001), marketing that responds to personal comforts rather than intellectual pursuits (Greene, Kisida, & Mills, 2010), and, ultimately, leader aspirations that may or may not reflect a public good-driven agenda (Sibley, 1998). And...

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