Mon 4 Oct 2010
This is the eighth and final installment in our slightly-more-than-one-week-long seminar on President Adam Falk’s letter about the “alignment of senior administrative responsibilities.”
Falk’s summary of his goals is almost diametrically opposed to his proposed solution. Let’s step through some of them with reference back to our previous discussions.
Any realignment of senior administration must:
* encourage strong faculty leadership and governance,
Kane’s Maxim #6: Every hire of a senior administrator weakens faculty governance.
Maybe Williams needs more senior administrators. Maybe we don’t. But there can be no doubt that every hire of a senior administrator weakens “faculty leadership and governance.” How could it be otherwise?
* enable faculty to set priorities,
See above. Imagine that future Vice President of Student Life Steve Klass (annual salary: $261,000 ) feels that X should be a priority while several junior faculty (annual compensation: $65,000) disagree and want to focus on Y. Who wins that dispute? In almost every organization, the more that you are paid and the more contact you have with the boss, the more that you get to “set priorities.”
* preserve the number of faculty in senior roles and ensure that each of these positions be open to faculty in all disciplines represented in the College,
Already true. Again, it is simple false for Falk to suggest that these positions are not, right now, “open to faculty in all disciplines.”
* design senior faculty positions that are attractive and manageable in scope,
Also misleading. There are many more faculty who want to hold these jobs than Williams could possibly accommodate. Specifically, there are more than 5 (and probably more than a dozen) faculty members who would love to take over as Provost next summer.
Summary: I do not know whether Falk’s plan is a good idea. Part of me likes Falk and wants to believe that any idea he supports must be good for Williams. But part of me thinks that the faculty should have more power in running the College. Every decade for the last 100 years has seen a decrease in faculty involvement and control. Just because a trend has been going strong for over a century does not mean that we shouldn’t fight to stop it . . .
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