Shared Governance Still Needed (Opinion)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In Sunday's Des Moines Register, former Regent Michael Gartner offered up a smörgåsbord of commands for Iowa's universities.

Demanding that "universities must change dramatically -- and quickly," as he did, is no more effective than it is specific. It's like telling the captain of the 1,132-foot Queen Mary 2 that he must turn her around "dramatically and quickly" without designating a reason, direction or destination.

Some of Gartner's ideas need better facts and serious rebuttal. Others you've heard before -- even from me.

But this time he had nearly 3,000 words; and I don't. Limited to one issue, I've chosen his assault on governance.

Gartner wrote, "The pleasant-sounding concept of 'shared governance' should be scuttled. ... (F)aculty political leaders insist they should help manage the institution -- but ... the concept has outlived its usefulness and is a roadblock to planning, to change and to effective administration. It institutionalizes mediocrity, stymies change and intimidates presidents, and it is a misuse of faculty time and energy."

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