Thursday, November 15, 2007

Faculty Leadership and Institutional Change

Dear Colleagues,

Snippets from

that could generate reaction & response &
possibly sustain some loose ongoing argument
on line. No 4:00 meeting needed.

Death to the Syllabus! By Mano Singham
If there is one single artifact that pinpoints the
degradation of liberal education, it is the rule-
infested, punitive, controlling syllabus that is
handed out to students on the first day of class

Mano Singham is director of the University Center
for Innovation in Teaching and Education and
adjunct associate professor of physics at
Case Western Reserve University.

Some of you might love this article, some hate it.
Either way—just right for the sake of argument.
We could put it in play and wouldn’t need to
reserve the Garden Cabin for it either.

Where Are the Faculty Leaders? Strategies and Advice for Reversing Current Trends
By Adrianna Kezar, Jaime Lester, Rozana Carducci,

Tricia Bertram Gallant, and Melissa Contreras McGavin
The results of a recent study of “bottom-up” faculty
leadership across all sectors of higher education show
that certain campus practices and policies can reverse
or slow the several trends impeding faculty leadership.

I haven’t read this one. Fear is what blocks me,
(impedes) & I tend to generalize. Rationalize, too.

What If the Faculty Really Do Assume Responsibility for the Educational Program?
By Jerry G. Gaff Faculty members,
administrators, and
trustees have an opportunity
to reinforce traditional academic
and educational values by revising
the traditional structures and processes
that once supported those values, but that
now interfere with them.

Revision of traditional structures and processes,
now interfering with educational values: a perennial
concern—like the weather. I haven’t read this one
either but there’s a lot to be said for the “blurp”
and title even if I’m not going to do anything
about it..

President’s Message
The Way Forward for Assessment

By Carol Geary Schneider
Overcoming the fundamental challenges
facing higher education today will require
new forms of creativity and collaborative
leadership on the part of college faculty.

It will also require more creative uses of
assessment as a way to both focus and
strengthen the quality of student learning.

I did skim this. It reads like administrator-ese,
naturally: who can be glib and whimsical in
the context of institutionalized education?

(Industrialized, they like to say in Witherspoon,
but they’re usually talking about food.
Sometimes they talk about "emergent

And of course any talk of assessment (even
creative approaches) make me nervous.


Interferes with my sense of the mess & guess of free
play margins for trial & erroring pre- requisite to any
thing worth assessing if the product is to be “creative”
and “innovative” and not merely consumptive, off the
shelf, shrink-wrapped & pre-packaged holy smokes.

I like the mention of “new forms of creativity and
collaborative leadership” which reminds me of Keith
Sawyer’s book on Collaborative Genius although that
book is itself somewhat stuffy, too —considering its topic.

But that’s how IT goes—we all know that. On faculty
developmental funds I fly in an airplane to a conference,
meet in an airport Holiday Inn, pay good money at the
cash bar, and then present a power-point lecture on
student-centered, non- directive un-disciplinary ways
to tap spontaneity & potential collective resource home-
groan under florescence and surrounded by cinder block:
mind-at-hand--strawberry fields forever.

Wind power! All around.
Waves, tides. Harness the
see. Local food for thought.

The gaps between talking and walking make sense.

I talk with footnotes in my mouth for decorum’s sake.
Professional--but amateur at heart. Activist. I can
turn UP these discrepancies. Polarize so they don’t
bleed into each other & fuse, confuse & contaminate.

How else put them in play? Right under our gnosis.
At our finger tips, ongoing sustainable argument for
the sake of argument. How else get better? Good?

Liberal art.
No overhead needed. Well: little.
LiberalArts: that's something else.

Liberal Education.

xxxooo, Sam

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