Kick the Bums Out

Great boards recognize the difference that David Leslie has pointed out between a good governance structure (which properly gives them the ultimate authority over all aspects of the college) and good governing (in which boards defer some of that decision-making to internal groups or individuals that have far more expertise than they). Boards need an information-driven governing process that operates within a culture of collaboration — among themselves, with the president, and with the faculty. Making decisions too quickly or in isolation often erodes core institutional values.

Governing Higher Ed Through Balance: Why Cultivating Collaboration Is Crucial, Now More Than Ever,” H. Kim Bottomly

President Obama was elected, at least to some extent, because he called for an end to partisan politics. He’s not quite running on that principle anymore, because experience taught him that the Republican opposition is less interested in making government work and more interested in defeating the first Black President, no matter what the apparent cost to the country, or, indeed, to common sense itself.

Ms. Bottomly, who’s president of Wellesley College, has a very Republican idea of compromise that seems typical of the academic administrator’s brand of bipartisanship. The board of directors, dominated by members “heavy with business experience,” she tells us, should “retain ultimate authority over all aspects of the college” but should also promise, to “defer some of that decision-making to internal groups.” Is that balance and collaboration?

Republican policies destroyed the U.S. economy, as well as many economies around the world, and as long as they keep advocating these policies they should fought off or ignored. The business people on the boards have likewise undermined or even destroyed the foundations of U.S. education, making full-time jobs more and more rare and college so expensive as to be nearly inaccessible. Compromise? I say we kick the bums out.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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