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Management Management / Leadership page 4

 
 

Review
At first glance, my comments could easily be interpreted as anti-administration hysteria, but this is not the case. I have deep appreciation for the need of sound management as without it, educational institutions could not survive. I have collaborated with a number of administrators that I respected and enjoyed our working relationship. In these instances, I represented educational matters and they represented management and we worked toward a common goal. I think this represents the balance between educational and institutional concerns that is missing at so many levels and in so many situations.

My reactions are based on thirty-five years working in higher education and constantly having to deal with excessive layers of management, abusive or inept administrators, too many decisions based on better management rather than better education and decision-making that favored management values over educational ones. Situation ethics and pragmatic decisions that provided short-term gains but long time problems have been all too commonplace.

I see teachers treated and labeled as employees; I have seen millions of dollars put into art museums with nothing put into instruction in the visual arts; I see education as a societal obligation to ensure the future and not as a business. Furthermore, I deeply resent education being turned into a business. I think that universities try to sponsor too many services and activities within the community and region rather than focusing resources on education. I have watched the gradual dissembling of academic governance, organization, faculty prerogatives and vested interests. I think that when an athletic coach is paid three to five times the salary of the President that someone's priorities are out of whack. I am disturbed that standards at educational institutions permit so many graduates to leave with dubious abilities to communicate orally or in writing.

I believe the imbalance of administration to education to be a serious problem. Educational quality at universities is not going to improve significantly until it is addressed in a meaningful way. Student performance standards need to be set higher and consistently enforced through faculty evaluation. It is essential that all educational matters be acted on in accordance with being the number one priority. The quality of education and graduates can be vastly improved, but to do so, governing bodies and legislators are going to have to look at education differently than they have in the recent past. They will have to bite the bullet and make some difficult de-establishing new priorities for expenditure, eliminating a number of services to the community and region, demanding specific performance standards for students, eliminating some educational conveniences such as repeating courses each semester, reexamining fee structure and identifying an organizational system which leads to better education rather than only better management.

   
 

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