June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.541.1 - 13.541.9
Enhancing Engagement in Faculty Governance: Issues, Ideas, and Illusions in Engineering and Technology
While faculty members and administrators generally agree that governance is an important part of institutional life, longevity, and vitality, many individuals feel less-than engaged in the actual practice of faculty governance. The faculty work portfolio in most engineering and technology contexts includes a three-pronged emphasis on teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and service and civic engagement. Faculty tend to do what is rewarded, thus creating, in practice, considerable tensions between the scope of faculty work expectations and outcomes. Pressures to “publish or perish,” to assess, document, and improve the outcomes of student learning, and to work collaboratively with industry and institutional counterparts, among other things, may all conspire to place faculty governance activities on the back burner, thus potentially undermining the intent and effectiveness of this unique, time honored tradition in the academy.
This paper defines faculty governance, describes its importance, traces its evolution in engineering and technology, explains its historic, current, and emerging purpose, and discusses its relationship to the broader scope of faculty work and institutional effectiveness, all against the backdrop of heightened expectations for productivity, stewardship, and accountability. Findings from studies on faculty governance, engagement, and perceptions of faculty work will be presented, along with the work-in-progress report from a case study of one institution’s approach to governance in the context of realignment within engineering and technology. Successful strategies, lessons learned, and pitfalls-to-avoid in engaging faculty more deeply and meaningfully in faculty governance will be shared, along with implications and recommendations for faculty and administrators in engineering and technology.
Evolution of Faculty Governance: Historic, Current, and Emerging Purpose
America has a tradition of shared governance in higher education. Even though philosophically most of us agree that in higher education faculty participation in governance is important, how we define this participation may vary drastically. Faculty participation in governance is fundamental to the democratic process so valued in this country. This participation forces the administration to be accountable to the faculty and vice versa. It empowers faculty to be involved in decision-making that affects their professions and, thus, their lives.
James T. Richardson, J.D., Ph.D., president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), a national organization whose purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, summarizes our thoughts well:
“I also stress the importance of faculty involvement in governance of higher education institutions. Certainly AAUP supports firm and efficient leadership of higher education institutions, but only if that efficiency promotes as a major goal development and dissemination of knowledge essential to a democratic society.
Hundley, S., & Acheson, D., & Worley, W., & Walter, S., & Yurtseven, H. O. (2008, June), Enhancing Engagement In Faculty Governance Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3380
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