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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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16. The Erosion of Faculty Governance (Dilys Schoorman)


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16.  The Erosion of Faculty Governance


Faculty governance has been central to the historical identity of higher education. The academy has been long regarded as a bastion of democratic practice, through the free exchange of ideas intended to broaden the mind and elevate the civic consciousness of all involved. This core mission of higher education is increasing losing ground in the face of the “unfettered corporate-based market model” that “continues to predominate [our] thinking about every aspect of society” (Gerber, 2014, p. 165). Thus, faculty governance itself has become an embattled undertaking. Given the drastic shift in the external pressures faced particularly by state-funded institutions, there has been considerable discussion about the desired institutional responses to these pressures and the role and relevance of faculty governance in this context (Kezar & Eckel, 2004; Schrecker, 2010; Slaughter & Rhoades, 2009). Supporters of faculty governance argue that it is even more important under contemporary pressures, though many call for significant changes in how faculty governance operates. This chapter will explore the political, economic, and ideological contexts that threaten faculty governance and will recommend ways in which faculty can reclaim or resist the erosion of their collective power. Such a process will require faculty conscientization1 about the power dynamics within which universities operate, the shifting ideologies that govern decision making in public education, and the actual and potential role of collective faculty voice in such contexts.

Public Education Under...

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