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ERIC Number: EJ775631
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
The Places of the Humanities: Thinking through Bureaucracy
Marshall, David
Liberal Education, v93 n2 p34-39 Spr 2007
Administrators hate to be called bureaucrats. They prefer to be seen as academic leaders. Leaders articulate priorities and values, serve as exemplars, and represent an institution to both others and itself. Today, more than ever, the humanities and the arts need academic leaders at every level of the university to give them voice, to avow their importance, to articulate the ways in which the humanities and arts speak for the university, the ways in which they give speech to the central values and value of a liberal education. Yet having been a dean for close to a decade, the author is aware that leadership takes place in an institutional and human infrastructure: a political landscape, a network of administrative hierarchies, faculty and academic senate committees, academic units with budgets, constituencies, needs, and responsibilities. Both day-to-day management and strategic planning take place in a bureaucracy, for better or for worse. The challenge for academic leaders is to "think through bureaucracy." This means that they need to understand administration as an intellectual problem, that they need to understand the intellectual stakes of bureaucracy. Thinking through bureaucracy suggests getting "past" bureaucracy, but it also means thinking "in" bureaucracy, understanding bureaucracy as a space in which thinking can occur, a mechanism through which thinking must take place. This article discusses that for the humanities to have a place, faculty, faculty committees, department chairs, deans, and learned societies need to worry about the places in which the humanities conduct and organize their research and teaching, and that means thinking about bureaucracy. Thinking about bureaucracy, thinking through bureaucracy, means designing new maps rather than defending territory. If bureaucracy is ignored, the humanities will be left vulnerable to the sort of academic redistricting that will leave one without a territory to defend. An overlay of maps that design and define the overlapping intellectual communities in which teaching and research take place is needed and new forms of collaboration develop.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A