I read the blog of a certain administrative writer who was lamenting yesterday yet again about the evils of tenured faculty. Basically, the lament goes like this: if the tenured folks would just do what I tell them without questioning or talking back, my college/the state of education/the whole world would be better, work more efficiently and effectively, and serve students better. Often, the lament about tenured folks is tied to a lament about unions. (There's often an undertone of regret that a former employer which was very top down failed, because the blogger can see how very much better a top down approach is.)
The post I just read basically questioned how to innovate when tenured folks are in the way and want input, and that input is seen as negative and inspired by defensiveness about our role.
Maybe I've gotten cynical, but the number of administrators I've now experienced who come into a position and want to make their mark is more than I can count on one hand. They come in, mandate some massive change, push it through, and then leave, and those of us in the faculty and on the ground work through the problems and try to make it work, and then comes along another administrator and "pivots" and mandates a different change, equally big, totally focused on something else. And then we do a massive five or ten year strategic plan, but then the administrator leaves, and the next comes in and ignores the plan in favor of their mandate, and then a year or two in, claims that the faculty is horrible because we don't put the strategic plan into effect, and writes a whole new strategic plan line on their CV, and then moves on.
All of these plans end up calling for new administrative positions, and end up putting more students in courses, and then criticizing faculty who lecture to rooms of 100 or more students. New administrators are hired, who demand more paperwork, and demand that we add the paperwork to the other things we're doing, and then change their mind and demand different paperwork because the first didn't work after all.
I love hearing that administrator X has just come from a special conference at a super fancy hotel in a big city, which was totally paid for by the school, although they didn't give a paper, organize a session, or do anything more than sit around and get lectured at by gurus (probably about how bad lecturing is). And then I'm trying to put together my funding for a conference to stay in a dorm room. Ugh.
I'm exhausted because I've barely slept all week. I need to find time to do some work, but my time feels especially fractured here.