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The Journal of General Education 52.3 (2003) 232-235

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McMillin, L.A. and Berberet, W.G. (Eds.) (2002). A new academic compact: Revisioning the relationship between faculty and their institutions. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing, 256 pages, $39.95 hardcover.

This book grew out of an extensive project by the Associated New American Colleges (ANAC) to bring institutional policies and [End Page 232] practices and the actual work of faculty into optimal alignment with the student centered missions of the institutions. ANAC is a national consortium of 21 private comprehensive colleges and universities, 19 of which participated in the Faculty Work Projects I and II from 1996-2000. ANAC used Boyer's (1990) and Rice's (1996) calls for a new faculty professional paradigm encompassing multiple scholarships and flexible career paths culminating in "the complete scholar" (Rice, 1996), as guiding concepts.

Phase I of the project included an examination of the current state of faculty work on member campuses through the lens of the relationships between faculty and institutions, in particular the alignment among institutional missions, expectations for faculty work, faculty work patterns, and reward systems. The study revealed a "double disconnect" (p. 13) of individual faculty who, though satisfied with their own work, felt estranged and disconnected from their larger institutions and from each other as a faculty community. Phase II of the project used these results in multi-institutional think tanks to develop and articulate the design principles for ANAC and others to improve the alignment of faculty policies and practices with institutional missions, as well as to provide guidance on that process. The three objectives around which work groups formed were: 1) To initiate institutional policies, practices, and rewards that treat the faculty career as an integrated whole, responsive to faculty needs and potential from the point of hiring to post-tenure and late career, for the purposes of sustaining career-long professional growth, effectiveness, and satisfaction; 2) To clearly define institutional service expectations within a framework of all faculty professional responsibilities (e.g., teaching and research), including faculty roles in governance and quasi-administrative functions at the nexus of institutional life; and 3) To develop differentiated faculty workload policies and unit planning and evaluation models (at the department, program, or school level) in order to use faculty resources most effectively in serving the institutional mission.

These objectives, and an understanding that evolved through the project that the vitality of higher education depends on a balance of faculty autonomy and community as well as strong relationships among faculty and institutions, form the core of the Compact: a formalized set of reciprocal understandings regarding faculty careers [End Page 233] within institutions. These reciprocal obligations are depicted in a "circle of value" (p. 23) in which the work of faculty adds value to the academic unit, the work of the academic unit adds value to the institution, and the institution in turn adds value to the work of individual faculty members.

Section 1, "The Compact" describes in detail the vision driving the project and the results of intense work by multi-institutional work groups to re-conceive faculty work and relationships to their institutions in the three project objective areas: professional development across the faculty career, institutional citizenship as a model for service and governance, and faculty workload. Chapter 1 explains the overall project, its participants, and timeline, the conceptual framework within which the project developed, and the processes used to develop the Compact. Subsequent chapters present the principles that work groups articulated regarding each project objective, and include extensive institutional examples of those principles. Section 2, "The Compact in Action" provides extended discussions by select campuses on their experiences enacting change in one or more of the three areas of the Compact. Section 3, "The Compact in Context" includes thoughtful commentary from faculty work specialists across different areas of higher education on the work of ANAC, on the processes used to develop the Compact, and on potential outcomes and problem areas involved in enacting the Compact across ANAC institutions and beyond...


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