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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 Eight: What Should Be the Role of Faculty in Shared Governance?

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Part Eight:  What Should Be the Role of Faculty in Shared Governance?

In “Faculty Governance as a Thorny Problem,” Michael T. Miller and Everrett A. Smith tackle the complex question of how to include today’s faculty in shared governance and policy-making. They trace the half-century of decline in faculty involvement and, as a possible solution, look toward more collaborative approaches between campus administrators and teachers. Important concerns about student rights, legal restraints, and accountability restrict how far faculty can be involved, as have public stereotypes about the so-called “aberrant” professor. Ultimately, Miller and Smith seek a new model for faculty governance that is broad and stable enough to serve both institutional and individual goals and interests.

In “The Erosion of Faculty Governance,” Dilys Schoorman profiles the continuing decline of faculty participation in shared governance. In a kind of schizotypal paradox, faculty seem to call for a democratic, collegial governing process, but also want a highly structured arrangement for institutional management. Increasing bureaucratization and corporatization constitute their weightiest challenges. Suggesting that faculty participation is the exception rather than the rule, Schoorman calls for radical action: faculty need to create a fuller identity and become more like public intellectuals on accountability and oversight of curricular matters. Dialogue across difference and genuine representation should be central to faculty voice: the waging of a common, collective struggle that requires faculty to assume more institutional stewardship. ← 221 | 222 →

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