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ERIC Number: EJ854055
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Administrative Careerism and PC
Weissberg, Robert
Academic Questions, v15 n2 p58-68 Mar 2002
That the contemporary university is exceedingly "user friendly" is beyond any reasonable doubt. While chancellors reaffirm their commitment to inclusiveness sans intellectual boundaries, lowly teaching assistants award gentleperson's C's to functional illiterates. Such odious requirements as foreign language proficiency or familiarity with mathematics have largely vanished, lest these impede "education." University administrations now overflow with specialists assigned to rescue the academically lame and halt. Entire parallel curricula, everything from well-entrenched women's and black studies to "cutting edge" forays into whiteness, critical race, queer theory, and French flavored disorders too numerous to mention by name, now guarantee diplomas to those once lucky to survive high school. It is tempting to dismiss such perpetrator cravenness in terms of character or personality deficiencies. While this moralistic fervor makes superb therapy, it exaggerates the personal depravity of those overseeing today's cravenness at the expense of what Marxists called "objective conditions." This is not to suggest that these promiscuous flatterers are blameless. Corruption and indolence certainly abound. Rather, the author submits that the contemporary university has rationally responded to conditions that are well beyond intellectual reform. The argument here concerns only a single player--the administration--and attempts to show that these paper pushers are reasonable, often honorable, creatures making the best of a depraved incentive structure. As in the Soviet system of old, today's universities can make deviates out of the most decent people. The author addresses what he calls the "appeasement penchant," which can be understood by considering four just-below-the-surface issues coloring today's university: (1) the exclusive nature of this "alternative life-style transfer"; (2) fresh opportunities; that is, recent bountifulness of these opportunities; (3) the fiscal benefit of the administrative calling; and, most crucially (4) how the ambitious now climb up the occupational ladder. The author contends that if improvement is to come, it will probably arrive via returning to the amateur administrator with firm disciplinary roots. This is fantasy, because this reform vision contravenes powerful forces that insist that universities help ameliorate our social disorders.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A