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Locus of Authority:
The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education
William G. Bowen & Eugene M. Tobin

Winner of the 2016 PROSE Award in Education Theory, Association of American Publishers

Hardcover | 2015 | $29.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691166421
400 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 2 line illus.
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Locus of Authority argues that every issue facing today’s colleges and universities, from stagnant degree completion rates to worrisome cost increases, is exacerbated by a century-old system of governance that desperately requires change. While prior studies have focused on boards of trustees and presidents, few have looked at the place of faculty within the governance system. Specifically addressing faculty roles in this structure, William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin ask: do higher education institutions have what it takes to reform effectively from within?

Bowen and Tobin use case studies of four very different institutions—the University of California, Princeton University, Macalester College, and the City University of New York—to demonstrate that college and university governance has capably adjusted to the necessities of the moment and that governance norms and policies should be assessed in the context of historical events. The authors examine how faculty roles have evolved since colonial days to drive change but also to stand in the way of it. Bowen and Tobin make the case that successful reform depends on the artful consideration of technological, financial, and cultural developments, such as the explosion in online learning. Stressing that they do not want to diminish faculty roles but to facilitate their most useful contributions, Bowen and Tobin explore whether departments remain the best ways through which to organize decision making and if the concepts of academic freedom and shared governance need to be sharpened and redefined.

Locus of Authority shows that the consequences of not addressing college and university governance are more than the nation can afford.

William G. Bowen is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University. He is also founding chairman of the not-for-profit organization ITHAKA. Eugene M. Tobin is senior program officer for higher education and scholarship in the humanities at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a former president of Hamilton College.

Reviews:

"The idea of shared governance probably conjures different notions for trustees, administrators and faculty members. But let's say it's a spectrum, with faculty advocates who want a say in major (or minor) institutional decisions while hoping trustees and administrators will stay out of the curriculum on one side. On the other side, think of administrators and governing boards who desire more involvement in curricular and other decisions long considered to be primary faculty domains, who are happy to be left alone on finance and management. Now imagine somewhere right in the middle: that's where Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education, a new book by William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin from Princeton University Press, aims to land. From neither a wholly faculty- nor administration-driven perspective, it seeks to deliver a friendly but urgent message about the importance of shared decision-making to higher education's future."--Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Education

"William Bowen and Eugene Tobin's new book, Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education, has just been published: anyone interested in the governance of universities and colleges should read it."--Henry Farrell, Washington Monthly

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