The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters

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9780199782444: The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters
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Dissatisfaction with the academy runs deep in America. Despite-or perhaps because of-the fact that a far greater percentage of Americans have attended college than at any time in the past, distrust of the higher education system seems higher than ever. The most common complaints concern rapidly escalating tuition prices, affirmative action policies, and-not least-the allegedly left-wing professoriate that runs American universities. Indeed, much of the criticism of academia focuses on professors: they are too liberal, they care little about teaching, and they are too hyperspecialized. Benjamin Ginsberg argues that this common critique puts the cart before the horse and ignores a much bigger issue. In fact, faculty are not the primary problem with contemporary academia. Rather, the problem lies in the explosive growth in administration in US universities and the concomitant decline in faculty power in influence. Put simply, "deanlets "-administrators without doctorates or serious academic training-rule the roost, and professors do not have nearly as much institutional power as they used to. Their decline dovetails with another trend: the growing regimentation and corporatization of the university. The fallout, Ginsberg contends, is negative: a de-emphasis on intellectual rigor and the traditional liberal arts. A stinging critique of how universities are run today, this book charts how this happened and explains how we can revamp the system so that actual educators have more say in curriculum policy.

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This book takes a hard, clear-eyed look, with few holds barred, at the growing number and influence of full-time administrators in colleges and universities. It recognizes the large increase in government and other demands on the bureaucracy. But it dwells on the manifest fact―too often slighted―that administrators have their own fish to fry. Let us hope that his cautionary tale has a wide impact. (Morton Keller, Professor Emeritus of History, Brandeis University)

During my nearly 60 years as a professor, I believe this is the only comprehensive analysis of the academic civil war between the professors and the deans. Ginsberg demonstrates why and how we're losing―or have already lost. (Theodore J. Lowi, Professor of American Institutions, Cornell University)

Ben Ginsberg knows a thing or two about academic bureaucracy. He has had extensive experience with administrative impediments that come between his ideas and their realization. Instead of ranting, he has written The Fall of the Faculty, where he has employed his political insight to examine administrative bloat in higher education and to explain the many ways in which administrative authority has elbowed aside faculty governance in the running of today's colleges and universities. As a recovering deanlet and one-time acting dean, I know whereof he speaks. (Matthew A. Crenson, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University)

In his lacerating The Fall of the Faculty, Mr. Ginsberg argues that universities have degenerated into poorly managed pseudo-corporations controlled by bureaucrats so far removed from research and teaching that they have barely any idea what these activities involve. He attacks virtually everyone from overpaid presidents and provosts down through development officers, communications specialists and human-resource staffers but he reserves his most bitter scorn for the midlevel "associate deans" and "assistant deans" who often have the most direct control over the faculty. Mr. Ginsberg refers to them as "deanlets," but at my institution they are often called "ass. deans." The Fall of the Faculty" reads like a cross between a grand-jury indictment and a call to arms. Yet as bracing and darkly pleasurable as this call is, it is hard to imagine professors joining the resistance with so few weapons at their disposal.. (The Wall Street Journal)

...an attach on administrators written by a distinguished political scientist, Benjamin Giinsberg. (Anthony Grafton, NYROB)

About the Author:

Benjamin Ginsberg is the David Bernstein Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for the Study of American Government, and Chair of the Government Program of Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University

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