PPDGJ: Chapter 9 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 9
Redesigning Higher Education
The higher education community will be better served if the changes are initiated by its leadership from within, with the advice and consent of its key constituents. The solutions are not new, but must be given renewed emphasis and energy. They will test the ingenuity, power, courage, and commitment to service of our best leadership.
All higher education institutions had a positive obligation to assure that students actually received the high-quality educational experiences they expected when they enrolled.”  A series of recommendations emerged from the commission report, which have served as guiding principles for university planning and action since. The recommendations required that:
1. Standards of excellence in the structure and mode of learning and development be ascertained and maintained.
2. Each academic division formulate a plan to identify and measure the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and understandings which students should attain.
3. Prospective students be sought who have demonstrated excellence in ability and achievement.
4. Minimum requirements which can be externally measured be established for graduation.
5. A philosophical basis be developed for the common general educational requirements for the bachelor’s degree.
6. Full recognition and support be given to the cultural aspects of university life in order to maintain excellence in this area.
7. Emphasis be placed on attracting many students from diverse cultural and social backgrounds to University. 

To produce exceptional undergraduate teaching institutions, college leadership must:
insist that what constitutes excellence in a degree program is clearly defined within each discipline—not by courses to be taken, but by knowledge, skills, and aptitudes to be gained;
require that each discipline develop measures to evaluate these desired achievements;
hire faculty as much for their excellence in teaching as for their research and scholarly credentials, and continuously develop and reward those skills; utilize capstone measures of overall achievement that are nationally normed, and have in place a review and continuous improvement system that feeds results back to departments and rewards them for revision and improvement;
at some point in the process, whether at the capstone level or at an earlier stage of progress, include a “high stakes” assessment beyond which a student may not progress without demonstrating the minimum acceptable level of achievement.

There is an important lesson to be learned here from the nation’s community colleges, which now uniformly require academic assessment of entering students and mandate remediation for identified deficiencies. 
Community colleges are no better than four-year institutions in mandating minimum achievement levels for graduation, but beginning at the state level, colleges and universities could agree on requirements for junior-rising readiness or for graduation.

University leaders, acting in their roles as public servants, must also reestablish undergraduate learning as having equal status with research in even our most prestigious research institutions—or must guide us through the difficult separation between institutes of pure research and those exclusively committed to teaching. Teaching faculty will inevitably become the academic underclass.
The clearer solution is to separate universities into teaching institutions, and graduate level/research institutes where faculty teach a graduate course or two and engage in research and publication, assisted by graduate students pursuing either a teaching or research track.

But how do we fund the research, without the large undergraduate courses to generate support dollars?”
The answers are simple, though perhaps unpalatable to many currently engaged in this pursuit.
1. Research institutes will have to depend on sponsored research, much as they do now, recognizing the accompanying ethical and directional issues that accompany sponsorship.
2. Institutes must rely on limited graduate tuition, state appropriations, federal grants, and foundation proposals to support the remainder of the research agenda. This reliance will force an accountability upon faculty for the amount and quality of the research being done, will greatly reduce both quantity and cost of academic research, and will apply a litmus test of “recognized value” to research projects.


1. We must analyze and revise curricula in every discipline to insure that each is relevant to today’s global reality and focused so that students cannot graduate without appropriate international learning.
2. We must insure that the curriculum is also socially relevant, preparing students to grapple with the significant social and cultural problems of our age. 
3. In a technological world, we must provide students with instruction that is as attuned to technological developments as are our students.
4. We must accept responsibility for assisting elementary and secondary education with improving the preparation of high school graduates.
5. It is time to create uniform standards for transfer and articulation, rather than leaving this to institutional whim and departmental protectionism.
6. We must hire and train faculty who can teach utilizing instructional methods that are proven to improve student learning.
7. We must conduct audits of our operational processes to insure that they make administrative sense.


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