LAST FALL, I was privileged to teach a course on academic governance as part of Messiah College’s new online master’s program in higher education. My students were all 20-somethings, a few years past their undergraduate programs and, if employed, in entry-level administrative positions. Most had a civics class understanding of governance, but they hadn't thought of it as having much to do with colleges and universities. As for that sacred artifact of higher education, “shared governance” — it was a new concept for them.

Seventeen blank slates, mine upon which to write the rules of how power is distributed and decisions are made in higher education settings.

Long years in the company of doubting board members, jaded administrators, and recalcitrant faculty had almost done me in. But eight weeks with these administrators-in-the-making restored my confidence that shared governance makes sense. Better yet, that it can be understood — if people are given a chance to learn.

Article from: Summer 2013

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