Faculty, Curriculum, and Academic Community
Examines collaborative approaches to developing and improving both curriculum and the delivery of that curriculum. Faculty and curriculum are not only the core of an institution of higher education, they are also what make institutions of higher education unique from any other type of organization. Topics include academic structure and governance within the context of the wider university community in not-for-profit and for-profit institutions. Offers students an opportunity to examine faculty unions, academic freedom, tenure, and the increasing role of adjuncts and to assess how administration, faculty, and staff interact in an integrated, collegial environment.
Short of a cataclysmic event it is hard to imagine great sweeping transformations effecting faculty in the near future. Most changes throughout history come slowly, over time, and with little fanfare. Some changes are bigger, their voices are louder and seldom come without struggles, setbacks and mistakes. This is how I envision change coming to the faculty in higher education. Some of it will be slow and steady, so slow and so steady indeed that it will not be recognized but in hindsight. Other change will come a little faster and a little louder and with a feisty conspicuousness that will be impossible to disregard.
I think of communication between faculty and administration. Over the years it has evolved, the stiff formality of previous centuries has been lost and roles and responsibilities have been redefined and power has shifted largely from faculty to administration. As the operating models of institutions continue to slide from shared governance into corporatization the communication will continue to change and without direct intervention and development the language divide will actually grow and communication will suffer as these two opposed groups struggle to understand each other while upholding beliefs that do not seem compatible, with administrators concerned about enrollment and bottom lines while faculty members mindful of scholarship and research. This inability to communicate combined with the lack of consistent developmental processes instituted in America’s colleges and universities will further polarize the relationships between administration and faculty.
I ponder the impact of politics on the future of higher education and how decisions made in congress will impact the relationship between administration and faculty. I can envision politics driving a larger wedge between these divergent groups as they seek to institute college for all policies, while counter intuitively reducing funding that will flood the gates of most community colleges, forcing administration to increase faculty workload and faculty resenting the slipping quality of their profession. It is likely that such decisions would also lead to an increased use of adjunct faculty and a noticeable exit of tenured faculty members.
This being said, if America’s institutions of higher education started today, to develop communications plans to bridge the divide between faculty and administration it is likely that these changes will come with little fanfare because in communicating, the possibilities have already been discussed and both sides understand what the other has to say.
Signature Assignment: Faculty Development Plan