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V21N1_08-14_Newton

V21N1_08-14_Newton

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Published by: The Integrated and Well-Planned Campus on Jun 08, 2013
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10/14/2013

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"Why
planning
sometimes
stumbles,
and
how
colleges
can
increase
its
success.
The
Two
Cultures
of
Academe:
An
Overloo'-"'''
Planning
If
RobertNewton
t the 1991 SCUP annual con-ference in Seattle I encoun-tered several academicadministrators who observedthat
the
conference had adearth of sessions designedspecifically for academic planning.
The
pur-pose of SCUP, one person said, seemed tobe the adaptation of corporate and architec-tural planning models to higher education.Several of these administrators, and manyfaculty I know, are uneasy that
the
spreadof such business planning techniques willerode traditional university values.On the other hand,
the
strategic plan-ning literature and articles about the behav-ior of professors and high school teachers
Robert Newton
is associate academic vice presi-
dent
at
Boston College. A graduate of
the
Uni-versity of Scranton,
he
holds graduate degreesfrom Fordham, Yale, and Harvard. He served as
headmaster
at
New York City's Regis HighSchool, a selective Jesuit secondary school, andtaught at the University of San Francisco beforecoming
to
Boston College
in
1980. He is
the
au-
thor
of numerous articles
on
curriculum andacademic organization issues.
..
0f
charge that most faculty and teachers havebeen reluctant to change despite radicallynew conditions, seem oblivious to crucialmatters such as money, enrollments, andpublic opinion, and prefer "organized anar-chy" (Cohen and March 1974) to a coher-ent institutional purpose, harmonious newinitiatives, and thoughtful organizationaladaptation.I think both camps are right. More-over, I believe the tension is indigenous tothe
universitas
magistrorum
et
scholarium,
the corporate body of masters and stu-dents. A university
or
college is necessarilyboth a corporation,
or
organized, business-like body
or
guild, and a very personal,sometimes contentious community ofteachers and learners. Though numerousscholars have written about the "culture" ofindividual institutions in higher education(Clark
1980,1987;
Dill
1982;
Kuh and Whitt1988; Schein 1985; Tierney 1988, 1990), Ithink every good college and university haswithin it
two
cultures, not unlike
the
twomindsets that
c.P.
Snow described in
The
Two
Cultures
33
years ago
(1959).
These
two cultures in academe make
PLANNING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION Volume
21,
Fall
1992
 
college or university planning an especiallydifficult venture, a fact not always suffi-ciently acknowledged. And it means
that
higher education planning requires an
un-
usual degree of mutual understanding andrespect, of diplomacy, and of generosity ofspirit.
It
suggests
that
higher educationplanning will always
be
different in its pro-cedures and unusual in its style.To get the
two
cultures to agree on onecollaborative course of strategic action for
the
institution requires an exceptional un-derstandingofthe historyandnatureoftheuniversity and a special kind of leadership.
The
corporate
community
The
one
culture-the
corporate commu-
nity-tends
to view universities mainly asbusiness organizations, as pieces of the$140-billion, 3400-institution
U.S.
highereducation industry, delivering educationand training to clients at a price they can
af-
ford. Persons in this culture point out thatuniversities have substantial capital assetsand
huge
operating budgets. (Major
U.S.
universities today have annual budgets of ahalf billion to one billion dollars a year.)Many colleges and most universities con-tain residence halls, scientific laboratories,restaurants, parking garages, sports arenas,libraries, offices, theaters, student centers,classroom buildings, religious chapels, andpower plants.
The
campus police force atsome suburban and rural institutions can beas large as the law enforcement division oftheir surrounding towns.People of this culture are mindful thatmodern colleges and universities have ahighly differentiated workforce: experts inaccounting and finance, personnel, psycho-logical counseling, institutional research,admissions and financial aid, constructionand maintenance, alumni relations, pur-chasing, fundraising, government lobby-ing, athletic coaching, public relations,computer programming, information andrecords management, mail distribution,and book acquisition, not to mention
in-
house legal counsel and job placement
of-
fices (Rehder 1979). Almost none of theseprofessionals has anything direct to do withteaching and learning. And among
these
staff persons unruly students and outspo-ken professors are often mentioned as asource of problems for
the
smooth func-tioning of the college.
The
corporate community is involvedwith
market
research and publicity, gov-
ernment
aid programs, classroom designand furniture, competitive strategies andcomparative advantages, serving
the
cus-tomer, and cost-efficiency ratios. They areresponsive to outside publics:
the
press,school guidance counselors, legislators andother politicians, alumni, minority leaders,
the
courts, potential employers, parents,church officials. They experiment with totalquality management to improve their ser-vices; they accept measurable performancetargets and administrative hierarchies; theyuse outside experts, from architects to audi-tors. Many in this culture believe
that
the
university's scholarship and teachingwould collapse in a
few
years without theirdiligence.
ill
II
111
Every
good
college
and
university
has within
it
two
cultures.
..
IE
In this culture, central planning, andcontinuous change and adaptation are nec-essary, supervision is normal, the financialcondition of the institution is of vital inter-est, and
the
physical appearance and work-ing condition of the facilities are important.
The
university usually is viewed as a busi-ness
enterprise-of
a significantly differentkind.
The
corporate community may boast
that
"our university is one of
the
largestemployers in our region,"
or
that "ours is awell-run organization."
The community
of
scholars
The
second
culture-the
community of
scholars-views
the college as a near-sa-cred institution with a special and indis-
PLANNING
FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
Volume
21,
Fall
1992
9
 
pensable mission, a mission that is moresimilar to that of medicine and religion than
to
that of industry and commercial services.For many faculty, teaching is not justpart of a job description
but
an integralcomponent of a vocation that passes on thebest of civilization's accomplishments. Stu-dents are not consumers or clients, but
neo-
phyte members of a select intellectualcommunity devoted to exploring the peren-nial questions of humankind and
the best
new ideas and methods of inquiry of thescholarly disciplines. Knowledge is impor-tant not just to prepare for a career but forits own sake, and one of the duties of
the
masters is to inspire students to extend theheritage of knowledge, great ideas, andgreat art.Members of this culture believe theyare the central, driving force of
the
college's vitality, reputation, and success.
The
university changes and moves forwardthrough the work of individual scholars;changes should emerge from the bottomup rather than from
the
top down. Underthe benevolent and seldom intrusive guid-ance of a department head or dean, indi-vidual teachers and scholars
set
their ownteaching and research agenda and decidewhat courses should be taught.
:I
III
-
embers
of
the
secondculture
believe
they
are
the
central,
driving
force.
-
he
organization is held together bycollegiality and persuasion and not by
ad-
ministrative direction and compliance.
The
academic organization chart should
be
simple and flat rather than complex and
hi-
erarchical, resembling a small cottage en-terprise rather than a complex corporation.To those in this culture, faculty and stu-dents are only loosely joined to the institu-tion, and are free to pursue the vague,general purpose of the university in theirown idiosyncratic ways. Evaluations arebased on flexible, professional, peer judg-ments rather than on precise and manage-ment-determined standards.Finances, enrollments, and physicalplant operations are the concerns of others.Planning, marketing, recruiting outstand-ing students, and campus architecture arethe distasteful task of non-academic person-nel, whose duty it is to provide for those inthe scholarly culture, just as hospital
ad-
ministrators minister to physicians. Teach-ing, research, and learning are the centraland real business of the campus; all othercampus business is operational support forthe academic mission.
Planning, assessment,
and
change
The
complications caused by the coexist-ence of these two cultures
-the
corporateand the
scholarly-are
illustrated by look-ing at three activities: planning, assess-ment, and institutional change.Planning in the corporate communityis viewed as an activity that is necessary,ratismal, comprehensive, and fairly cen-tralized.
It
should
be
strategic, a series ofcoordinated actions to strengthen or reposi-tion the college in relation to its competi-tors and to opportunities
or
threats in
the
environment. The planning process placesconsiderable reliance on data: applicantpools, space, revenue and expenditureanalysis and projections, faculty workloads,construction costs.
The
process also moni-tors external
forces-demographic
shifts,changes in government funding and regula-tions, economic
fluctuations-that
affectthe college.Criteria should
be
established againstwhich alternative courses of action can
be
weighed. Timetables and measurable re-sults are useful, as are the assignment oftasks
to
specific persons or departments toimplement the strategic plan.In contrast, those in
the
university'sscholarly community view planning asmostly intuitive, piecemeal, and decentral-ized. Individual professors and depart-ments should set the scope and direction oftheir own and their discipline's activities.
PLANNING FOR
HIGHER
EDUCATION
Volume
21,
Fall
1992
0

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