Another good example of the difference in values
currently is found in the priority set by administration on
research, and how faculty are rewarded for professional activity,
research and success in obtaining grants. It reveals that
administrators are more concerned with income (operational)
than with teaching (mission.) Examination of criteria and
the rewards for professional activity/research compared to
those for teaching makes the point very clear. One has to
wonder what the state of higher education would be today,
if in the past, administrators had been as critical and demanding
for professional involvement and excellence in teaching as
they are now for research.
places a high value on efficiency. Educators are more concerned
with what is effective, efficiency be damned! My experience
has been that the conditions most conducive to student learning
experiences are at times extremely inefficient and expensive
from a managerial viewpoint.
efficiency is based on control, and administrators place a
high value on a smooth management operation. Unfortunately,
this frequently leads to a boss and employee relationship
between administrators and teachers. Often there is an accompanying
element of managerial paternalism which destroys trust between
the two groups and leads to resentment or cynicism among teachers.
Administrative paternalism is most evident in the comparison
between what is allocated to program budgets and how much
is retained as discretionary funds. The practice is
indicative of the premise that faculty are financially irresponsible,
an attitude deeply resented by faculty. In their zeal for
efficient management, it is not unusual for administrators
to subject teachers to inappropriate criteria in judging performance.
It often is the dedicated teacher who persistently agitates
for larger budgets, more facilities, additional space, enlarging
the faculty, and who frequently questions administrative policies
or decisions. Too often, these individuals are identified
as being troublesome, unloyal to the administration, as not
being team players or as boat rockers. Being
viewed as an impediment to the smooth management concept,
some dedicated teachers are punished in terms of program support,
salary, promotion or tenure.
On the other hand, there are always a few teachers who view
teaching as only a job and their interests are more in personal
work or in off-campus activities. Not having any deep convictions
regarding education, they accommodate administration at most
every opportunity. Because of acquiescence, they often are
viewed by administrators as being loyal employees and are
When I was an institute professor, one of my charges was to
form a committee from the faculty at large to work with communications.
I had recently read an article by Warren Bennis on change.
Because so many individuals resist or fear change, he suggested
identifying those individuals who are comfortable with, and
promote change, as an advisory committee when it was necessary
to make institutional change. I decided to adopt this strategy.
I made inquiries over innumerable cups of coffee at the cafeteria
with many different faculty from throughout the university.
I also consulted with administrators and Deans. Finally my
list of eight faculty members was complete and it was submitted
to the Provost for approval. After a glance, he snorted and
reached for a pen. As each name was scratched out, it was
accompanied by remarks such as, "He hasn't been here
long enough to know how we do things." "He is nothing
but a trouble maker." "I don't think this person
can contribute anything worthwhile," and so on. He said
he would select the committee. When the committee first convened,
I had six of the best company men you could ever hope
to find. So much for Bennis' theories on change.
had enormous respect for the Provost. He was the most decisive
and efficient administrator that I ever met. His responsibilities
were enormous, yet he discharged his duties promptly and efficiently.
He put in long hours and worked diligently. In my observation,
there was only one serious flaw, he had absolutely no respect
for teachers. Because of this, he felt better equipped to
make decisions regarding educational matters than faculty,
and this was not always so.
Recent administrative pressures on faculty for
research were not motivated by an intent to improve educational
quality or to benefit either students or teachers. The policy
was established to generate income for the institution through
research grants from industry and government. While research
activities significantly add to the educational environment
and benefit students, faculty and institution, I am disturbed
because the motivation was conceived for the wrong reasons.
For a university to be competitive in research, there has
to be professional leadership, strong faculty, talent and
state-of-the-art facilities, all of which contribute to raising
educational quality in those areas and establishing an excellent
learning environment for students. However, there also is
a downside. Increased pressures for research often result
in reduction of time that the most capable teachers can devote
to educational planning, students and academic governance.
The present situation attracts, or encourages, individuals
more interested in personal work than in teaching. Administration
is tempted to funnel added resources into programs that produce
the most income from research. This drains resources from
educational programs that are important but do not attract
large amounts of research money. Administrative control mechanisms
invariably reduce flexibility and sustain status quo. Education
is a field that is in constant state of flux and change is
inherent to both the educational process and programs. Teachers
who want to do things differently are usually stymied because
of institutional policies. Faculty generally desire the flexibility
to experiment or do things differently to improve, expand
or modify programs. Particularly so at public universities,
change is incredibly difficult and slow. It can take up to
five years to introduce new courses or change requirements.