Protecting the Passion of Scholars in Times of Change
By Anna Neumann
As society experiences massive change, so too do higher education institutions and, inevitably, their faculties. Information about upheavals yet to come is as plentiful as the shifts already occurring on American campuses: increasing numbers of non-tenure track faculty; increasingly diverse students and faculty; revised teaching and learning technologies; and entrepreneurism, accountability, and cost-cutting as responses to growing financial stress. Bombarded by change in life and in the news, faculty and institutional leaders may come to believe in its power alone to determine the future of higher education, including what it means to be a faculty member.
But faculty, administrators, and policymakers have some control over that future. One question is crucial for them to ponder: What is it about the academic career as a continuing profession that is worth maintaining? And what does the professoriate offer that no other profession can provide as fully and richly, something of public value and human worth, something unique and authentic that we must preserve?
To read the complete story, go to the Change magazine Web site at http://www.changemag.org/March-April%202009/full-protecting-the-passion.html.