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Management Mission and Operation page 3

 
 

Leadership and Management
A leader within the educational context is described as one who induces others to follow by example and trust. A leader has demonstrated ability to overview and project development of a program. Leaders are goal-oriented, and achieving their objectives often involves change. A manager is defined as one who supervises and maintains within defined limits of responsibility through a prescribed system of policies and procedures.

It can be said that leaders require managerial skills and managers need leadership qualities. However, it is necessary to identify whether positions are essentially managerial or leadership within the institution in order to establish accountability. Leadership positions are accountable to those they lead as well as to those above; managerial positions are responsible only to those above. The first is professional and the second is an employee status. Leadership in state universities is presumed where it does not always exist, and it is more often determined by appointment than by ability.

The leadership positions which affect quality of education and faculty well-being are President, Provost, Dean, Department Head, and in state universities, Chair or Program Head.

The roles of President and Provost are broad; those of the Dean and Department Head are immediate to faculty. In recent years, Deans have moved away from a traditional leadership position and assumed a managerial one. The Department Head always has been controversial, as to whether it is the first line of advocacy for faculty and programs or the last outpost of administrative management. The Department Head should be chief advocate of faculty and programs within the department and provide effective leadership. Administration should respect this definition and not use the Department Head as an administrative pawn.

Under present conditions, administrators lead rather than serve
educational interests, and they believe that educational policies rightfully are within their domain. Yet, the Provost, Deans and sometimes even Department Heads, often fail to make distinctions between effective and ineffective educational programs. They are satisfied that it is sufficient to have teachers, classrooms and courses for subjects listed in the catalog. This indifference toward educational quality is difficult to accept. It might be explained by the observation that leadership has become more preoccupied with management problems than educational integrity. Education and management objectives should be prioritized and responsibilities redefined. Educational effectiveness of programs and the handling of faculty as it pertains to educational integrity require greater importance in the evaluation of Deans and Department Heads.

A major problem today regarding educational leadership is the failure of administration to adhere to it's own review policies. As a result of established evaluation procedures, if a Dean or Department Head is judged to be ineffective, they should promptly be replaced. The operational relationship between administrators and Deans or Department Heads too often influences the administrative evaluation, and takes precedence over the recommendation of faculty. The history of leadership review in universities shows that upper administration is reluctant to act on a negative review of a fellow administrator. It is not unusual for upper administration to declare the faculty evaluation process "flawed", write new criteria, and postpone the next review for a year or two. It usually takes faculty four to five years or more to remove an individual who is not performing well. The review system is meaningless to Deans and Department Heads unless they understand that upper administration will quickly act on faculty recommendations. For the system to work the way it was intended, leadership must be responsive to the majority of faculty in that unit.

Since the early 1970s, administrators, trustees or regents have put more emphasis on management than on leadership in education. In part, this could be a reaction to the student movement during the late 1960s, when institutional disruption and destruction of property was uncontrolled. Legislators and regents lost faith in academic personnel to control students and faculty or protect university property, and the size and composition of administration drastically changed. It was in the period following student activism that separation between education and operation became
increasingly apparent. As the number of vice-presidents and other administrative offices increased, the President more often relied on fellow administrators for counsel than on representatives from the education sector. It also might be due to general economic conditions resulting in declining funds for higher education.

As administration grows and dominates educational matters, there is an increase in arbitrary decision-making that is harmful to faculty and educational values. Many decisions based on short-term gains are pragmatic, but often lead to serious consequences later. This includes, for example, down-grading fundamental research in favor of applied research, funding on the basis of FTE, converting humanities courses to improve eligibility for grants, funding for departments or colleges that can generate grant income at the expense of other programs, making teaching less important than obtaining income from grants, being more concerned with image than instruction in the arts, subjecting educational programs to cost/benefit analysis, and even further centralizing academic matters, services and facilities. Likewise there has been a corresponding increase in abuse of office by administrators with management ethics sharply declining as administrators grow stronger and become less accountable.


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