The Future of Faculty Driven by Technology & Organizational Efficiency?

Some final thoughts on The Faculty of the Future:  Leaner, Meaner, More Innovative, Less Secure (Forum, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/10/2009) from a friend who offers his gifts to Christ by serving as a business professor.  Do any readers have comments on technological determinism and/or the striving for organizational efficiency in higher education?

There are a few elements of the second commentary (TIMOTHY CARMODY) which make sense – but it reads to much like standard technological determinism predictions of “changes in technology change everything”. The model of a knowledgeable teach leading inquiry into a topic by providing information/explanation, prompting questions, and recognitions/correction of participant contribution is very old and has endured through many technology shifts (the distribution of print bibles does not eliminate the value of inductive bible studies with a leader who is at least minimally trained :-)).    So while some changes will happen are not likely to be the ones this author is predicting. …

The changes described by the 4th author (JOSEPH C. HERMANOWICZ) are already happening. There is a marked difference between how my senior colleagues and my junior colleagues see their career prospects and their role in the university.   One point I would make here:  I doubt the claim that this is an less expensive way to run a university.  Elimination of the intangible benefits of a faculty career, the sense of collegiality, and the idea that faculty members are partners in the university lead to decreased willingness to devote themselves to the university.  This requires higher salaries to motivate administrative work.  This leads to increased questions about efficacy of faculty efforts in these areas – leading to substitution of highly paid administrators for lower paid faculty. The end result is organizations run by highly paid administrators with little or no interest in educational or knowledge goals and low paid faculty who have no incentive to contribute to the organization beyond their formal job description (instead of moderately paid faculty who “serve” in administrative positions because they care about the university).

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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