An extreme, but good example of administrative
values being contrary to the best interests of education occurred
during a job interview circa 1976 at a North Central Public
University. I was interviewing for the position of Department
Head in Art. On the second day, I had my meeting with the
Dean. He asked what I would do if appointed to the position?
Based on my observations, I began to describe the steps to
be taken that would improve the quality of programs. After
a few minutes, the Dean interrupted me to say, ÒI am not interested
in that. What would you do to increase the size of classes
that could be taught with less faculty?Ó I replied that I
had never considered that, and most likely, never would. Our
meeting ended abruptly and no job offer followed.
the most blatant example of division between operational and
educational values occurred while I was at Carnegie Mellon
University during the early 1980s. At the beginning of the
academic year, President Cyert addressed the entire faculty.
He told us that the university was embarking on a new policy.
The policy was described as follows: in the past it had been
traditional to put institutional resources into improving
weaker programs to raise them to the same level as the best
ones. Now, institutional resources were going to be put into
the strong programs and weaker programs modified or eliminated.
felt pretty good about this as we had an excellent faculty
who worked well together and all were dedicated teachers.
The level of student work was high and our graduates were
doing exceptionally well after graduation. It seemed probable
that with the high quality of our program we were finally
going to receive funds to build new technical facilities.
all made the mistake of not asking President Cyert to define
strong. It was not long before we learned his definition.
To President Cyert, a strong program was one that generated
a substantial amount of research income from grants or contracts;
the weaker programs were those that brought in little
or no income. Needless to say, we never received all that
always fantasized Cyert and his top administrators meeting
in the conference room behind locked doors. Laid out on the
conference table were sheets of paper with each one labeled
as a program within the university. Cyert had a handful of
colored markers, and as the group moved from sheet to sheet,
they discussed the strength of each program. Those
that were loaded with research projects received a big golden
star; those that had potential to bring in more were marked
with blue; those with few or small contracts but with some
modification of program could do better were marked in green.
There were some programs with small potential for research
monies, but they could not be eliminated, i.e. College of
Fine Arts. These programs received a black mark and would
be maintained. Those programs that could not bring in research
grants, had little potential or public relations and were
small enough to not provoke a serious outcry if eliminated
were simply X'd out. Faculty would be pressured for professional
accomplishment creating good public relations and enhancing
the university image. With every sheet appropriately coded,
at a glance, administration could get an overview of the university.
They could see its strengths, and at the same time, a plan
for future development. It was not long before English Literature
was somewhat diminished, and a strong new bias in Technical
Writing was in place. Carnegie Mellon was clearly driven and
managed by operational values.
Management values emerge from agendas dealing with efficiency,
control, decision-making, policies, institutional income,
public image, growth or expansion and other such matters.
These concerns can often be in conflict with values that are
pertinent to, and in the best interests of, instructional
terms of enrollment, management leans toward bigger is
better while faculty believe smaller is better.
Administration tends to be more concerned with numbers where
faculty are more concerned with quality. Administrators want
controls where faculty look for flexibility. Administrators
are concerned with institutional image where faculty are more
interested in professional recognition. It is administrators/managers
that perceive the university as a business selling educational
services, certainly not a concept shared by faculty or students.
Education is something considerably greater than a commercial
venture. The dollar is not the bottom line in education!
I believe education of youth to be a societal obligation to
the future that should be judged more in terms of effectiveness
than in terms of cost.
common examples of differences in opinion between faculty
and administrators relate to the use of space and access to
technical facilities. Especially so in visual art programs,
assigning fixed work space to students is a factor that affects
student productivity and commitment. Administrators favor
multiple-use of space through accommodating different students
and courses at different times, allowing space to be in constant
use which is more cost-effective and efficient. But it is
a practice that proves to be debilitating for faculty and
Duplication of technical facilities is another
example of a situation which would be educationally effective,
but from a managerial standpoint, it is extremely inefficient.
If technical facilities are provided for each program with
access restricted to students within that program, there will
be a decided improvement to educational effectiveness. When
equipment is provided for a single program, it tends to be
specialized and directly related to the needs of that program.
To centralize technical facilities and make them available
to students from several disciplines is less expensive, easier
to manage and more efficient from the administrative point-of-view.
Because the facility serves a variety of students and programs,
a more general range of equipment is installed that might
not meet specific needs for some programs. Because of the
increased numbers of students using the same equipment in
centralized labs, access is more restricted than if it were
available as a program facility.