The decline of ethical standards in educational
management is seldom addressed publicly, but for teachers,
the impact can be overwhelming. Ramifications of questionable,
if not unethical, administrative practices are incipient throughout
institutions. While the problem is not characteristic at every
institution, nor does it exist in all programs within the
institution, it is far too prevalent.
lying, whether by omission or commission, is the most frequent
offense. Lying is more than a matter between individuals;
it is a serious management problem. Any administrator caught
in a lie loses respect and trust. Inevitably, the ability
to lead and manage is eroded. Lying is not only commonplace,
it is tolerated by upper administrators. Lying to individual
teachers, students, academic committees or faculty is rationalized
by administrators as being of little consequence, and they
rarely take action. Adoption of "situation ethics"
is relatively commonplace in educational management. Faculty
cynicism and mistrust resulting from such behavior tends to
undermine and destroy feelings of vested interest. There is
a corresponding reduction of faculty commitment, that is frequently
reflected in teaching and participation in academic governance.
the table arrangements between administrators and individual
teachers are extremely debilitating to other faculty members.
Secret deals relating to budgets, space, grants, or
other internal matters have become customary behavior in many
or hiding behind bureaucratic procedures, manipulation of
academic governance, abusive conduct toward individuals, and
failure to communicate are lesser, but still serious, problems
affecting the relationship between faculty and administration.
extreme cases, academic procedures affecting retention, promotion
and tenure have been used by unethical administrators to control
or get rid of faculty members who are regarded as uncooperative
or disloyal. Merit pay increases have been used either to
buy faculty loyalty to the administrator and reward cronies,
or control dissenting faculty members. In the worst instances,
administrators, or even colleagues, have deliberately used
unsubstantiated charges of discrimination or sexual harassment
to discredit faculty members.
1972, Kingman Brewster, then President of Yale University,
commented in an essay on tenure, In strong universities,
assuring freedom from intellectual conformity coerced within
the institution is even more of a concern than is the protection
of freedom from external interference. He further specified,
...this common ethic (academic freedom) also requires broad
protection from administrators and colleagues within the community.
there are few external threats to teachers, but tenured and
untenured faculty members alike can be intimidated from within
the institution. Student evaluation of teachers and merit
pay assessments have frequently been manipulated by administrators
or colleagues for unjust purposes. The freedom of tenured
faculty members to criticize conditions within the institution
is restrained by the prospect of no pay raise or promotion.
Withholding reward or promotion is usually justified by an
administrator's interpretation of student evaluations of teaching
ability, service, professional activities or national visibility.
Universities cannot afford this sort of abusive management
because it destroys morale, affects productivity, and drives
good teachers away from the institution.
faculties in state universities are already unionized. Faculty
action was taken because of administrative abuse of individuals
or groups, and either the loss or manipulation of academic
process. If educational institutions do not improve their
management practices, there will be many more faculties moving
toward unionization. Poor management leads to the loss of
dedicated teachers, and it can hinder hiring new personnel.
and Management in Visual Art
Faculty in Visual Art generally are not strong
supporters of academic governance as compared to their colleagues
in the academic humanities. Based on observations over many
years, my conclusion is that most art faculty prefer a benevolent
dictator to make decisions, and as few committees and
meetings as possible; faculty want to conduct business on
an informal level. They want leadership that is trustworthy,
fair, above-board in all matters and readily accessible to
faculty. Visual Art faculty want communication, but on a one-to-one
basis or in small groups. They are most responsive to leadership
that shows interest in what teachers and students are doing.
They want a Department Head who is willing to leave the office
and visit studios and classrooms. Trust, fairness and effective
communication are the key traits to successful leadership.
If these qualities are present, many of the formal procedures
are not as necessary. Formal procedures are most useful to
faculty when leadership is ineffectual or corrupt.
style of management preferred by Visual Art faculty is not
as improbable a management style as it may appear. Bennis
addressed the difficulties of management in what he called
the post-bureaucratic period. He identified the obvious
problems of time and compromise inherent to consensus decision-making.
Bennis suggested that leadership be given more latitude in
making unilateral decisions, but they had to be strictly accountable
to their constituency. As long as decisions were acceptable
to the majority, leadership could be effective; when decisions
were not acceptable to the majority, it had to be changed
to continue the effectivenesst.