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Thursday November 3rd, 2011

The Fall of the Faculty: Governing Universities in the 21st Century

Benjamin Ginsberg, Ph.D. -- David Bernstein Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University

Thursday November 3, 2011, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University

Universities are anomalous institutions – from early days “corporations” but not businesses; with public purposes but not governments. In theory at least, they have been truly “mission-driven,” with their missions being teaching and research, and a major role in governance for the carriers of that mission, the faculty.

In his new book The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters, Ben Ginsberg argues that new patterns of governance threaten universities’ missions. Ideas about management have been imposed without any attention to whether they make sense for the university context (never mind whether they actually work in the fields from which they’re imported). “Strategic planning” comes to mind. Administrative structures are created and then their leaders -- ‘deanlets” and “deanlings”- generate work to justify their existence. Activities that seem to faculty as diversions from their missions are justified as serving student needs or required by government mandates. But Dr. Ginsberg argues they are better understood as results of a natural human pursuit of power – and of the faculty not always being willing to insist that it take on the hard work of governance. It’s a controversial argument in the best of ways: it raises important questions and offers ideas that require discussion.

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Additional Information About Our Guest…

Ben Ginsberg earned his A.B., M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty of Cornell University’s Department of Government in 1972 and was promoted to Professor in 1983. In 1992 he moved from Cornell to Johns Hopkins, where he became David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Founding Chair of JHU’s Washington Center for Advanced Governmental Studies and Director of its Washington Center for the Study of American Government. Among other administrative responsibilities, Dr. Ginsberg also has served as founding Director of the Institute for Public Affairs at Cornell, Special Assistant to the Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins, and on many committees. The Fall of the Faculty is the twentieth book he has authored, co-authored, or edited. Some of his best-known works are Politics By Other Means (with Martin Shefter) and Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined its Citizens and Privatized its Public (with Matthew Crenson), as well as co-authoring two of the best-known American Government textbooks.