Administrators, Authority, and Accountability

January 06, 2015 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 6th, 2015

The battle over who should lead colleges and universities has been raging since the inception of higher education. It is most often, and stereotypically, cast as a fight between administrators and faculty members. Supposedly both interested in what students need, those parties are alternately said to be effective governors of higher education and major impediments to effective leadership.

On Monday, William Bowen and Eugene Tobin jumped into the fray with an excerpt from their new book, Locus of Authority, about governance and the role of faculty members in the future reform of education.

This book appears to be written at least partly in service of Ithaka’s and Bowen’s promotion of online education. (Ithaka, a nonprofit organization that claims to help the academic community use digital technologies, is a co-publisher of the book. Bowen is the founding chairman of Ithaka and a self-proclaimed advocate of online learning.) As Bowen noted in his last book, Higher Education in the Digital Age, efforts to make online learning a more central aspect of higher education have repeatedly faced challenges from faculty members at shared-governance institutions.

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