Why the angst over academic administrators?

Over at the UW LISTSERV, Sarah Nash Gates commented on a controversy about administrators

The controversy was a (false) accusation that our current Provost and President had not been or were not now academics.   The truth is that both Dr. Cauci and Dr. Young are superb scholars, the knd of folks we really need.

Dr. Gates wrote:

I know many administrators  who fit the example you offer of Ana Mari
.  In    the College  of Arts and Sciences for many years our    “Administrators”  , Deans, have recognized the accomplishment of     faculty in the School of Drama and supported our research and    creative work.  Just as there are many student athletes who are    indeed thoughtful,  hard  working STUDENTS, in my 30 years on the    faculty and 20 years as a chair I have known many thoughtful,     helpful and dedicated “Administrators”.  Yes, I have known what I    would term to be useless “administrators”.  I also have  known    students of all  majors and backgrounds who do not focus on    academics and make no useful contributions in a classroom.  My point    being that sweeping generalities are simply that and not facts.

I agree with her, we are lucky this time.  However that is not true across the UW and is also very much not the case across the US.   NOn academics. often people like our former President Marc Emmert. rise as administrators in the protected world of the University.  These folks likely do not have the skills that would be resent if they made a similar career in industry.  Worse, they exude a false aura of intellectual authority, taken from the academy, that justifies politicians trusting these folks  with decisions about curriculum and development of programs.

I have no issue with MBA types making the UW more efficient, that is a form of “giving unto Caesar” that makes sense.  These technical issues ought not, however, have authority over academic misconduct, curriculum requirements, branch campuses, or even the proper academic requirements for students playing on UW pre professional athletic teams.



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