Locus of Authority
The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education
William G. Bowen & Eugene M. Tobin
Do higher education institutions have what it takes to reform effectively from within? 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. 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. Using case studies of four very different institutions, the authors demonstrate that college and university governance has capably adjusted to the necessities of the moment and governance norms and policies should be assessed in the context of historical events. They also demonstrate that successful reform depends on the artful consideration of technological, financial, and cultural developments. Locus of Authority shows that the consequences of not addressing college and university governance are more than the nation can afford.
William G. Bowen (1933-2016) was president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University and founding chairman of ITHAKA.. His many books included The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions (with Derek Bok) (Princeton). Eugene M. Tobin is senior program officer for higher education and scholarship in the humanities at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former president of Hamilton College.