ERIC Number: ED394366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Feb
Zemsky, Robert, Ed.
Policy Perspectives, v6 n3 Feb 1996
This article grew out of a roundtable of national leaders in higher education which explored the role of the academic department in serving as both a force for institutional change and a link to the scholarly world of disciplinary knowledge and practice. The essay argues that the principal threat to the academy is its own fragmentation, with faculty becoming detached from their institutions. With this fracturing of the academic community has come increased individualization and privatization of academic work. In contrast, the essay reports results of interviews with individual faculty and department chairs concerning attributes of effective academic departments such as a supportive culture, frequent interaction among department members, toleration of differences, and generational equity. A definition of an effective department is offered stressing the department as a team of scholars whose primary responsibility is teaching and learning. Renewal of undergraduate education is seen as depending on institutions and departments making such changes as: (1) fostering a greater commitment to teamwork; (2) making effective teaching a subject of collective dialogue and inquiry; (3) making a greater commitment to quality control; and (4) ensuring the presence of a strong and decisive department chair. Brief checklists for change are addressed to: presidents, provosts, and deans; department chairs; and individual faculty. (DB)
Descriptors: Accountability, Change Strategies, College Faculty, College Role, Curriculum Design, Departments, Educational Change, Higher Education, Intellectual Disciplines, Scholarship, Social Change, Teacher Effectiveness, Teamwork, Traditional Schools
The PEW Higher Education Roundtable, University of Pennsylvania, 4200 Pine St., 5A, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4090.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Sponsor: Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.
Authoring Institution: American Association for Higher Education, Washington, DC.; Pew Higher Education Roundtable, Philadelphia, PA