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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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Part Seven: What Should Be the Roles of Faculty?

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← 194 | 195 →

Part Seven:  What Should Be the Roles of Faculty?

In “It Is a Balancing Act: Faculty Workload,” Isis N. Walton and Nicolle Parsons-Pollard offer an analysis of faculty functions, the variability of them by institutional type, and how faculty distribute their time and priorities. They challenge the stereotype of the professor having generous personal time and swaths of intervals to focus on research. At the same time, the authors suggest that the tensions among teaching, research, and service require appropriate balance for faculty to be more productive. They urge the professoriate to better educate the public and critics about the realities of faculty workload and productivity.

In “Faculty Work Life: Beyond the Tipping Point,” Sean Robinson claims that neoliberal approaches to efficiency and productivity have created a “new managerialism” that has led to increasing administrative burdens on faculty. He further argues that changes in student demographics and public attitudes have generated a significant role shift for faculty: a decrease in research productivity and an acceleration of teaching and administrative responsibilities. According to Robinson, the traditional portrait of the “university professor” has unfortunately faded from the higher education landscape. ← 195 | 196 →

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