Under New Management
Universities, Administrative Labor, and the Professional Turn
Publication Year: 2011
Faculty members who care about the institutions of higher education where they work are often at odds with university management. In his forceful book, Under New Management, Randy Martin takes a novel, evenhanded approach to this gulf between professors, who feel a loss of autonomy, and administrators.
Martin imagines a political future for academic labor based on a critical understanding of the administrative work that faculty already undertake. He considers the differences between self-rule and specialized expertise and provides a case study of a New York City public school to show how kids and families respond to the demands of managerial productivity that is part of preparing students for college. Under New Management also considers changes faced by students, faculty, and administrators in light of this reworked social compact of professionals.
Published by: Temple University Press
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For all its promise as the noble leveler, higher education today is part of the great divide in the United States. At once an engine of opportunity and disequilibrium, it is at odds with itself. For faculty, perhaps no gulf is greater than that between itself and what is frequently referred to in an ominous tone as “the administration.” In the iconic picture of the professoriate is...
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Much has changed in the thirty-five years since I entered higher education as a bright-eyed premedical student at the University of California, San Diego. Tuition bills were negligible and the horizon for what an education could deliver was broad. Now I find myself teaching at a university with the highest student debt in the nation at a moment when...
1. The Ends of Education
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Higher education today seems to reside in the two cities of Dickensian fame. More students, faculty, and campuses. Bountiful endowments. Its own celestial beings. A program for every proclivity. Lifelong learning. An abundance of patents, strategic partnerships, and product lines. Whether these attributes make for the best of times or the worst is the...
2. Getting There
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Time was, higher education could trumpet its own new beginnings and govern its own ends. Learning was rigorous, comprehensive, original, enlightening—but above all, autonomous. Whatever values were attached, college could claim authorship. Now primary and secondary education have become preparatory to an unprecedented degree, not only because...
3. What Is a Student to Think?
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Students seeking a self-made college experience find themselves navigating between implied market coercion—higher ed as obligation—and sustained cultural criticism, which says education is hopelessly compromised, not worth the cost, and a waste of time. Yet beyond the pincer grasp of economic instrumentality and wholesale devaluation, there remain many...
4. W(h)ither Academic Freedom? Revaluing Faculty Work
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Immanuel Kant begins a personal exchange with King Frederick William II of Prussia by offering to give an “account” for “having misused my philosophy.” His aim is to wrest a measure of authority away from state power so as to render the professoriate a kind of incorporated scholar. “The University would have a certain autonomy (since only scholars can pass...
5. The Work of Administration
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The shift in value of higher education from a public to a private good centers power and authority on senior administrators, who are taken to be responsible to delimit a particular brand of excellence that will maintain the health of the enterprise. At the same time, faculty governance under the sign of the proletarianization of professions is transcribed into ever...
6. Conditions of Interdisciplinarity
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Interdisciplinarity appears in so many guises and hails from so many quarters that it might seem to be the organizing universal within the university. From on high or at the margins, the formulation covers innovation— whether through administrative consolidation or critical initiative. Ambiguity as to its intentions jostles with ambivalence toward its end. To move inside...
7. Registering Organization
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The dream of autonomy is that you can do what you want when you want: lingering over the perfectly crafted cappuccino and conversation with a colleague, reading well into the night, briskly writing in the morning and attending an intimate seminar in the afternoon, flying overseas as an invited lecturer, engaging in an incisive phone consultation. The...
8. (Out) from Under New Management?
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That new management would spell trouble for faculty comes as little surprise. That it would press us into something other than service, something perhaps unwanted but entirely more serviceable, is rather more unexpected. Making these latter prospects legible might require some narrative sleight of hand. Let us return to the Dickensian figure of best and...
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Publication Year: 2011