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).
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!