Knowledge Since the Colonial College Essay

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Subject: Teaching
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #61296774

Excerpt from Essay :

" (Downey, 2000, p.307) This aspect of the university, or that of the community is characterized by having less structure that the corporation or collegium of the university and is such that includes everyone as a member as everyone "belongs to and has equity in the university as a community." (Downey, 2000, p.307) This is a community characterized by disorder, ambiguity, and little in the way of definition. The university community is ever-growing and continuously changing and adapting to changes.

V. Synthesis and Evaluation of Three Critical Tensions by the Academic Leader

One critical aspect of the university is that of funding resources. As government funding either increases or decreases for the university so too does the requirements of how that funding will be allocated increase or decrease. As well, the university is forced in times of decreased funding to decrease such as:

(1) the number of employees;

(2) wage and benefits;

(3) the range and quality of university courses and programs. (Downey, 2000, p.308)

When government funding decreases the university is left seeking other sources for university funding. This often leaves the university in a quandary in that the corporate aspect of the university gains strength while at the same time it may necessarily weaken the collegium aspect of the university. In addition, the requirements of the university to become more answerable to the clients or students of the university increases along with an increase in fees and tuition for those attending the university.

Previous governmental requirements and regulations fall by the wayside as the consumer demand becomes more predominant in the university's operational concerns. This gives rise to a growing strength in the community aspect of the university as community stakeholders who are now the primary funding resource for the university have a better foothold on what decisions are made by the university. The university from this view is far more characteristic of a corporate entity that a collegiate academic institution. Downey (2000) notes that in the past the Canadian government has preferred regulatory enforcement rather than competitive accountability and it is noted that Robert Fulford stated as follows:

"Canadians love regulation. What rice is to the Japanese, what wine is to the French, regulation is to the Canadians. When any new phenomenon appears on the horizon, whether it is in vitro fertilization or super-conductivity, our first response is always the same: how do we regulate this sucker?" (Downey, 2000, p.308-09)

Government have a general tendency to place limitations on academic institutions through regulatory means and specifically regulation of "the sphere of decision-making" which is noted to have negatively effect boards of governors in that their function has become primarily ensuring that regulations are enforced through "compliance with increasingly more intrusive and detailed legislation." (Downey, 2000, p.309)

Another factor affecting the university and which has served to weaken the collegial self-determination is the growth of complaints that are "referred for resolution outside the university, to adjudicators, tribunals, human rights commissions, and the courts." (Downey, 2000, p.309) as funding for the university decreases the competing interests of administration, faculty, staff and students becomes more intense with each focusing on their own personal interests. This results in the various sectors of the community external to the university becoming more divided by factors that are gender-, political-, ethnic-, and group-specific. This effectively weakens the strength that the community aspect of the university gained due to weakening collegiate strength in times of decreased funding and ultimately gives more power to the corporate aspect of the university. Naturally this results in a great deal of ambiguity and the leadership of the university faces a great deal in the way of challenge not only in securing funding for the university but in delicately balancing the powers that affect the administration of the university. Downey (2000) states that it is critically important to understand that "none of these three modalities of the university is its essence. It is almost as important to understand that each carries within it the elements of that essence, elements without which the university is in some respect deficient." (p. 309) Historically, all of these elements have never been perfectly balanced however the precarious imbalance of these three elements has never been more pronounced as the "spirit of the times is corporate, not communal, and certainly not collegial." (Downey, 2000, p. 31) the corporate concern is focused on "production of wealth and exercise of power" while communal and collegial are "about the sharing of wealth and power." (Downey, 2000, p.310)

Recently elected governments are characterized by "unambiguous mandates" and have provided the public with an assurance that they will somehow bring about a balance. The truth is that universities are going to be involved in corporate restructuring initiatives which is not a completely negative pursuit for the university if the recognition that there is a potential for tendencies on the collegial and community aspect of the university to become distorted in this process. As well, it is held by some that the faculty has been controlled through the collegium in a manner that has resulted in "abuses, in the neglect of teaching, the pursuit of irrelevant research and scholarship, using tenure to protect the incompetent, and a general failure to make honest and rigorous judgment about each other's work." (Downey, 2000, p.310)

Downey (2000) holds that there are three essential ingredients and states them to include the following:

(1) responsiveness to the economic and social stresses and challenges facing society, the people, organizations and institutions that comprise the university;

(2) a deeper sense of community, which is to say, a stronger sense of academic citizenship and a greater willingness to participate in and contribute to the vita communitatis; and (3) a fresh infusion of idealism, a renewed affirmation of faith in the central, civilizing purpose of the university. (Downey, 2000, p.310-11)

Summary and Conclusion

This work in writing has examined the three aspects of the academic institution of higher education or that of the college university for the purpose of disseminating what direction the academic leadership should take to ensure that the three aspects of the collegium, community and corporate are in the best possible balance with one another since this is vital to the university's survival. As noted in the work of Downey (2000) the ideal of the university appears to have be effectively lost along the way to the rise of the corporate university entity first tossed aside by collegial abuses and the failure for assessment of collegial actors so as to eliminate incompetent faculty and staff.

What is needed is a fresh outlook not only from the collegial viewpoint but as well from the viewpoint of the community and corporate university sector. Changes are inevitable and to avoid change is to avoid progress. The university leadership that will be the most competent and effective is leadership that leads the way through change and who realizes that change is not always negative and many times is the…

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