Faculty vs. Staff in Education
By Robert D. Warner
January 02, 2006
While Professor Landis presents a somewhat lengthy and elitist
view of facility-staff relations in American education, some
excellent points are made in his article. To be clear,
in higher education, those who teach, engage in institution supported
research, provide professional counseling, or library services
are usually considered faculty. Those whose primary duty
is supervision of faculty are considered administrators and those
who provide important support services are called classified
or technical staff.
Historically, educational administrators gained their positions
after years of successful experience in the classroom.
Often as administrators, they would continue to teach part
time, provide student counseling or continue research
in their professional fields. Tragically, this is not often the
case today. Educational administrators are frequently
professional bureaucrats whose focus is on political correctness
rather than professional ethics. In one blatant case on
the UAS Ketchikan Campus in the 1990's, a incompetent administrator
actually boasted about "failing as a history teacher before
going into administration."
New teachers sometimes face demoralizing low salaries and corrupt
practices of merit pay systems. There are, however, equally
frustrating problems of excessive pay for educational and other
public administrators. How can we cap and reduce administrative
pay? Why do we have to pay university chancellors and provosts
such excessively high salaries? I have wondered why
we cannot hire administrative positions on term contracts; before
the terms expire, put positions out to competetive bid to see
if other qualified candidates are willing work at lower
Professor Landis is absolutely correct in describing demeaning
references that educational administrators frequently make in
describing "my staff" or "my school."
These bureaucrats clearly do not own the staff, faculty, or the
school. Faculty, however, should not fall into the same
trap by using terms such as "my class," or "my
students", or "my library, etc."
The claim that educational administrators often do not receive
rigorous assessment and evaluation that faculty do is also a
excellent point. They certainly need it! In
Alaska, university administrators do not even have to earn
a state certification and keep it current. There is a absence
of quality control standards for their performance. Sadly,
there are cases at UAS where provosts, deans, and
vice chancellors have not had meaningful evaluations in the past
30 years. How in the world can we know if these folks are
competent enough to be evaluating faculty, if they are not being
regorously evaluated on a regular basis?
I believe that the hidden danger is that educators today
tend to present themselves with elitist images that they are
somehow superior to other occupations and groups. Let's
not forget that our best teachers often come from our parents,
families, and the world of work rather than from the ivory tower!
Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Robert D. Warner is
a retired Associate Professor of Library Science, UA Ketchikan
and Ketchikan resident since 1972.
profess; we teach. We are faculty. By Rod Landis - Ketchikan,
AK - USA
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