Just how much control do faculty members at community colleges have over their work circumstances or the decisions made in their name?
I began this series of columns last month with a broad look at the challenges facing today’s two-year colleges. This month I want to focus on the issue of faculty control (or lack thereof), because it speaks to one of our most significant challenges in the community-college sector—a crisis of leadership at all levels, from the president’s office all the way down to the tenure-track faculty. That crisis manifests itself in the failure of shared governance, the questionable decisions of careerist executives, and the rising influence of corporate America on two-year campuses.
The failure of shared governance. In discussing poor leadership, I have no intention of letting faculty members off the hook. In fact, I believe they—OK, we—may be primarily to blame for the sorry predicament that so many of our colleges now find themselves in. (If you’re not sure what I mean by “sorry predicament,” just Google “community college scandal.”) As the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre famously observed, people generally get the kind of government they deserve, and that’s no less true on a college campus than it is in the world’s capitals. <Read more.>