Thursday, November 21, 2013

Faculty Power!

Two links. First, from The Telegraph: Carrot for IIT directors:

A former IIT director, however, said the new system [of assessing the performance and effectiveness of IIT directors] would encourage the directors to appease the faculty members.

“Since the selection panel will receive feedback from the faculty, the director will not take any tough decision (that might annoy the teachers). The administration will concentrate on appeasing the faculty,” he said.

Second, from Forbes: The Toughest Leadership Job Of All (It's Not What You Think:

The most powerful group within a university is its tenured faculty. If they refuse to listen to you, you can’t fire them. That’s the whole idea behind academic freedom. But it makes moving in a new direction fraught with peril.

As one college president told me, “You don’t say, ‘Professor Smith, I need you to make this change.’ Instead, you say, “Professor Smith, I have a great idea I’d like to run past you. I really need your input in order to make this work, and I wonder if you have any thoughts about how to improve my idea and how to implement it?”

Can you imagine Steve Jobs saying that? Brilliant as he was, he’d last eight nano-seconds as the president of Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, USC, UCLA, Caltech ...


  1. Desi Babu said...

    India does not have the tenure system for professors, which means, they can be fired. Does that mean that the job of an academic leader is any easier in Desi-land?


  2. Ungrateful Alive said...

    I read that blurb mentioning Professor Smith and realized what I was doing wrong all these years. (I am not a director ftr.) The Prof. Smith bit told me that interacting with IIX profs to get something done is comparable to working on a 3y old to put on the shirt you want him to put on. Assuming that they are eligible for a drivers license is usually tactless.