of a Destructive Teacher
) Tend to isolate themselves
from Department or Program Head and other faculty members.
) Begin to build a personal
following among students, sometimes with other faculty members.
) Acting unilaterally in
terms of going to administration to discuss program matters
or faculty members.
) Failure to cooperate
with others in the department or program.
) Undercutting the Department
or Program Head or other faculty members.
) They are either contentious
or refuse to participate in staff meetings or reviews.
Dissident faculty members are a serious problem and must be
dealt with promptly once their actions are identified. A first
step for the Department or Program Head is usually a consultation
with the individual to discuss the problem and try to find
out why this behavior is happening and resolve it. If this
is not successful, address a memo to the individual describing
the situation and copy to the Dean or President or other appropriate
offices. If the problem persists, arrange a meeting with the
individual, Department Head or Director and Dean or President
to discuss the matter.
none of the previous approaches to the problem of a dissident
faculty member have worked, there is one other avenue which
is extreme but it might be the only solution. If the problem
is so devastating as to be advantageous to give up a faculty
line rather than continue, go the Dean or President and request
that the individual in question be transferred to a position
outside the program. Contrary to the understanding of many
faculty members, tenure does not guarantee assignment to a
specific program or duty. Tenure only assures an individual
of a position within the organization. Based on my own experience
at several schools, the program, students, institution and
myself would have benefited from taking such action.
Revitalization of Visual Art education programs in state universities
begins with restoration of teachers' vested interests.
Vested interests are defined as teachers'perception of being
instrumental in making the program what it is; a good program
with high standards that is a source of pride. Individually
and collectively, teachers feel it is their program.
With a proprietary attitude, teachers assume greater responsibility.
They are more likely to be productive and involved with curriculum
and students. Faculty members with vested interests are usually
strong proponents of educational integrity. Keys to vested
interests are self-determination in program matters and
much salary teachers receive is seldom a factor in establishing
a sense of vested interest. However, working relationships
with administrators have a profound effect on commitment.
Administrative support, recognition and encouragement can
do much to reinforce teachers'vested interests. Far too often
teachers who have vested interests are penalized and eventually
driven out of institutions by administrators. Committed teachers
want to improve the program and persistently press for changes
and additional resources. Unenlightened administrators view
such teachers as boat-rockers, trouble makers, or as uncooperative
team players. By so doing, institutions alienate teachers
they need, and retain those with less dedication to educating
students. The present system often appears to reward teachers
who do not fulfill their professional responsibilities but
are willing to defer to administrators on educational matters.
teacher going into a multipurpose classroom has less incentive
to care about the condition of that space. A teacher using
centralized shops lacks personal concern regarding maintenance
or use of equipment. If a teacher is locked into curriculum
content, policies or procedures established by someone else,
there is little motivation to consider what changes would
improve the situation. If resources do not exist for making
the program better, what purpose is there in thinking about
how it could be improved? Under these conditions, teaching
becomes only a job and teachers' interests usually are diverted
into outside activities or personal work.
require reasonable control over assigned space, how it is
used and maintained. To develop facilities and enrich the
program, operating budgets need to be realistic and consistently
allocated from year to year. Teachers should be able to establish
priorities within the budget and act without undue process
or delay. Teachers want to see improvement from year to year,
or vested interests will eventually diminish. Teachers need
greater flexibility to make changes in their program and its
operation, have more control within their area of responsibility,
and be table to rely on adequate resources. Teachers want
meaningful input into all aspects of their program.
or groupings of related programs, require leadership and most
state university Art Departments operate as a homogeneous
whole, composed of eight to fifteen separate programs of study
under the leadership of a single Department Head, Director
or Dean. This scarcely provides the leadership that nurtures
vested interests among faculty members within individual programs.
the period of retrenchment beginning in the late 1960s and
extending to the present, there has been a steady erosion
of faculty commitment to teaching. The growth of administration
has led to over-management resulting in even more bureaucratic
layers. Since faculty status has been downgraded from professionals
working under contract to employees working on salary, there
is less self-determination in educational and operational
matters. Educational leadership by program has often been
destroyed. Institutional resources have been diffused to areas
other than instruction with a corresponding reduction of operating
funds at the program level.
of these factors contribute to poor environment and conditions
for teachers. Consequently, there has been a decline of educational
quality. Currently there is considerable disillusionment among
seasoned faculty. Cynicism is often expressed as, This
is just a job, do as little as you have to, get as much as
you can, and put time and energy into your own interests and