PPDGJ: Chapter 11 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 11
Organizing for Service
The ultimate responsibility of twenty-first century academic leadership is to shape an institution that can begin to think of itself as an organic whole, creating a sense of the institution as community leader. If we think of the institution as an organism, perhaps we have found it difficult to serve as leaders for social, economic, and cultural change because we are not organic wholes. 

For various reasons, members of the higher education community have historical assumptions, practices, and protections that challenge the creation of an effective organic whole. If we are to assume roles as institutional agents of social change—as servants beyond the institution—our first responsibility is to tackle the demons within.

Higher education is among the most hierarchical organizations in our society. We have presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice-everythings, deans, department chairs, full professors, associate professors, assistants, affiliates, and lecturers. this hierarchy essentially creates a class system that is in most ways artificial. Academic rank generally is based on level of education, time within the system, and to some measure, scholarship. But the evaluative criteria for scholarship are often quantitative rather than qualitative.

Teaching effectiveness and other measures of direct service to students and the external community often are either not included in determining academic rank or carry little weight.
Academic freedom is generally guaranteed in other policy or contractual agreements, and far more faculty abuse the essentially untouchable status provided by tenure than need its protection because they speak out on controversial issues.

In many ways, the free exchange of ideas is more tightly restricted inside the academy than it is in most other areas of public life. Colleges and universities are, in fact, seats of power for political correctness. To need tenure—to merit it—faculty must begin again to publicly challenge the untouchable ideas and need the support and protection of administrations and boards to do so.

Tenure should be maintained and protected only if it serves this purpose. Few, if any other, professions enjoy the protections tenure provides. It was created with justifiable cause—to insure that those who participated in the open marketplace of ideas are not censured for promoting thoughts that run contrary to commonly accepted orthodoxy.

The most of the significant developments in our ethics, theory, and philosophy came from the unprotected—from people who were themselves intellectual revolutionaries and suffered considerably as a result. Lack of tenure did not keep them from espousing their ideas, nor has its existence during the last century made the difference between the presentation or suppression of bold new thought.

Tenure now needs to be exercised with purpose, and must become subject to periodic review by an objective panel of evaluators. On the limiting and obstructive side, it introduces an element of imbalance into the power-with equation. As the world changes, so must the academy—and tenure without periodic review stands as a major impediment

Organizing for service and change need not immediately be this dramatic, and can begin with something as simple as giving careful thought to how the administrative team is structured. As the issue is processed, each member has an opportunity to speak and each contribution is visibly acknowledged by the others.

the role of faculty must change to establish a greater sense of connectivity than our current cloistered existence allows. the faculty role of the future should be, and what university outreach must include to be involved in powerwith relationships with their stakeholders. Whether serving in a teaching or research institution, the direction of the future should be that a number of faculty in higher education should be hired for, and assigned to, public partnership roles as critical parts of their professional responsibilities.

As community partnerships grow and as external relationships become more important and complex, the president must assume the role of cheerleader, facilitator, spokesperson, and conscience.  The president insures that appropriate time is spent on this relationship building, and becomes central to establishing those connections. He or she is present, visible, and informed, controlling pace so that there is no sense on the part of public and private partners that the institution is pushing too hard, usurping too much authority, or being insensitive to the cultural norms and expectations of partners. As the center of the circle of relationships, the president serves as beacon—keeping various participants from feeling abandoned, or from colliding, running aground, or sinking.


If we are serving as we should, students, faculty, our communities, and all who depend on the institution to produce well prepared graduates, meaningful research, and applicable scholarship have a right to know that we are doing so effectively and responsibly. They should have a clear understanding of our mission, of what that mission means in terms of educational achievement, of our measures for determining accomplishment, and of our results. If we are unable to show them those results, they should not be obligated to support us in pursuing them


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