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August 25, 1964 - Image 95

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1964-08-25

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I

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25,1964

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

'U' Faculty: Intellectuals, Employees or Speci

alists

----- --

Its 'U' Role
Is Obscured
By Disuntit
By KENNETH WINTER
Managing Editor
The faculty member holds an
ambiguous position in the Uni-
versity.
Viewed from one perspective, he
is the blue-ribbon citizen of the
community of scholars. As the
man most dedicated to-and fur-
thest advanced in--the pursuit of
intellectual excellence, the faculty
member is the true educator, and
hence the man uniquely qualified
to lead the University.
The professor who takes this
role seriously is likely to be one
of the small number of faculty
members actively concerned with
the University as awhole. He may
work through the established
channels, heading or playing a
major role in the groups which
wield the faculty's power over
University policy; he, may be a
"faculty politician," joining with
like-minded students and faculty
members to press for University
reforms. Chances are, he feels the
faculty should have a more direct
and decisive say in University
government.
Hired Man
Viewed from another perspec-
tive, the faculty member is little
more than a skilled employe of a
corporate institution. The institu-
tion pays his salary, and when he
disagrees with those higher in the
hierarchy he ultimately must
either accept their decision or
leave.
The faculty member who holds
the pure version of this view-
probably as rare as the "facult-y
politician"-does his job, collects

his paycheck and goes home. His
concern for the good of the Uni-
versity is no more acute than that
of the average General Motors
employe for GM's profits. Even
in his own job, his concern is not
with how well he educates his
students or how honestly he does
his research, but with how well
his work impresses his superiors
and leads to raises and promo-
tions.
Professional
From still another viewpoint,
the iaculty member is basically
neither part of a "community of
scholars" nor an employe. He is
basically a member of his profes-
sion: a doctor or a historian or an
architect. His association with the
University is incidental; his real
loyalty is to his discipline, and
his "colleagues" are not the pro-
fessors !on other floors of Haven
Hall but the members of corres-
ponding departments at Harvard
or Calif, r:'ia. Within his spoeealty,
he probably is a fine scholar and
possibly a great teacher. Outside
it, his interest and ability are
minimal.
Few faculty members fit any of
these descriptions perfec tly, but
many approach one of the images
- :articularly the last one men-
tioned-quite closely. Indeed, if we
are to accept any single descrip-
tion as epitomizing the faculty
member, this stereotype of the
faculty member as a professional
with perhaps a polite concern for
the University as a whole would
probably be our best bet.
VariedGovernments
The loyalty of such faculty
members to diverse disciplines
leads to diverse forms of govern-
ment in the various divisions of
the University. In the schools
where the conservative professions
of medicine and business are
taughc, the government is quite
hierachial, with decisions made at
the top after a minimum of par-
ticipation by faculty members.

Lawyers, more professionally con-
cerned with civic matters, demand
that even minor decisions in the
Law School be discussed and
made in all-faculty meetings. The
huge and diverse literary college
uses the whole faculty as its basic'
legislature, but in practice much7
of the governing is handled by'
the dean and executive commit-
tee.
Combining all this diversity into
any sort of a University-wide fac-
ulty government-or University-;
wide faculty anything-borders on.
the impossible. If it is difficult to
talk to the faculty member, it is
almost absurd to talk of the fac-
ulty: such a term implies a group
with some degree of unity, which
our faculty is not. Beyond the
proposition that professors should
be paid more, there probably is
not one basic educational issue
on which the whole faculty could
reach a consensus.
Goods and Bads
This diversity has its advant-
ages. It decentralizes the Univer-
sity, so that, in one faculty mem-
ber's words, "the mistakes they
make in another department
don't foul us up." It permits a
variety of methods and styles of
education to co-exist, free from
stifling uniformity.
But on the other hand, it muf-
fles the faculty's voice in all-Uni-
versity policymaking. It creates
a power vacuum at this level,
which permits - or forces - the
upper administration to make the
decisions. Concerned faculty have
long sought a representative
structure which will give them a
loud and clear voice-or even ac-:
tual legislative authority-in Un-
iversity policy.
Senate Structure
The present answer is theUni-
versity Senate and its committee
structure. The Senate,' composed
of the 1200-odd faculty of tenure
rank, is an attempt at "town-
meeting" democracy. It is the
body - officially empowered to
articulate "the faculty's view" on
University affairs.
The Senate meets only twice a
year. Between meetings, its busi-
ness is carried out by a smaller
executive group, the Senate Advis-
ory Committee on University Af-
fairs (SACUA). This group can
meet more frequently and act
more quickly, but has no power to
represent the faculty.
SACUA, in turn, has numerous
committees of its own. These deal

with specific areas of
versity, from student
research policy.

the Uni-
affairs to

Its Freedom

_I

Apathy
Whatever the structural merits
of this representational system, in
practice it has suffered from the
ever-present problem of apathy.
One SACUA member morosely
confided that last December's
Senate meeting, though it wen't
ahead and conducted its business,
probably didn't even draw a
quorum. (A quorum for the Sen-
ate consists of only 100 of its 1200
members.)
The "faculty politicians" hope
that a restructuring will help.
This fall will see at least the be-
ginning of a detailed discussion
aimed at revising and revitalizing
the Senate. But whether the Uni-
versity's faculty will be able to
agree on how to organize itself-
to say nothing of agreeing on any-
thing else-remains to be seen.

Is Maintained
By the AAUP

The chief means for guarding
academic freedom at the disposal
of University faculty members is
to support the local chapter of the
American Association of Univer-
sity Professors.
Several hundred faculty are
members.
The AAUP is a national body
whose members include faculty
from colleges and universities all
across the nation and whose pri-
mary dedication is to the preser-
vation of academic freedom.
The term academic freedom
means the right of professors to
express their opinions freely and
without fear of reprisal from their
school if the opinion happens to

be a controversial one. The most
common deterrent a professor
faces in voicing controversial ideas
is the fear that he may lose his
job as a result of his outspokeness.
Political Pressure
The AAUP has no legal or ac-
tual powers but it wields a strong
political pressure in the form of
censure.
If it is called in to investigate
a question of academic freedom
violation and finds the case to be
such a violation it censures the
accused institution. The censure
list is published in the AAUP bul-
letin. Public statements are also
issued at the time of the censure
which the AAUP hopes will pres-
sure the school into revising what-
ever policy or action had been in
question.
The University was on the
AAUP censure list from 1955-59

because of certain Regents' by-
laws which the AAUP felt violated
faculty members' rights.
Koch Case
The charges brought before the
AAUP are varied. One of the long-
est lasting cases was that of Prof.
Leo Koch at the University of
Illinois. Three years ago Koch
made some statements in the stu-
dent newspaper condoning free
love. He was fired a while later
'as a result of the adverse pressure
put on the university.
After an extremely lengthy de-
bate the AAUP put the University
of Illinois on its censure list for
failing to use due process of law
in firing Koch.
The dismissal of history Prof.
Samuel Shapiro by Oakland Uni-
versity aroused a furor at the
University. Groups picketed in

front of the Oakland student cen
ter and the AAUP was asked t
investigate. The local AAUP look
ed into the case and issued a state
ment criticizing the rational
Oakland used in dismissing Sha
piro.
In Mississippi the faculty face
strong pressure from the nationa
AAUP for its continued silence i
the face of the injustices face
by James Meredith. The facult
was accused of abnegating it
duty as teachers because,. of it
failure to take the responsibilit
many felt was so clearly laid upo:
its shoulders.
Groups like the University Sen
ate also offer faculty a means c
voicing disfavor at certain Uni
versity practices, although again
any decisions made in the Senat
have only the, advisory power th
AAUP decisions have.

Fr .___________

T C A' 7W A ~U'1

To Boost Liberal Education

We J now

(Continued from Page 2)

graduate career.
Until and unless the college
grows big enough, however, exten-
sive library and laboratory fa-
cilities will not be duplicated. Stu-
dents-as in most other academic
and' social areas-will still have
the opportunity to use many exist-
ing facilities of the University as
a whole.
Innovative

Crucial to the new college will
be a good deal of experimentation
in the kinds of programs, teach-
ing and curriculum offered to
students. Among the innovations
proposed by the literary college
faculty committee arer:
-A simplified curriculum for
freshmen and sophomores involv-
ing a reduced number of courses
that would be broader, deeper and
worth more credits apiece.
-Pooling large lectures to pro-
vide "certain types of basic in-
formation." These mass lectures
would be made public so that stu-
dents not enrolled in the residen-
tial college could attend them.
-Elimination of course-content
duplication, a problem currently
recognized by many faculty mem-
bers.
-Orienting courses toward in-
dependent study by students so

that classless reading periods
could be beneficially worked into
courses or into the whole college's
calendar.
Permit Further Steps
While these moves are aimed at
esconomy as well as education and
are relatively basic, they hope-
fully will free faculty time and
establish a groundwork for further
endeavors:
-Tutorials for advanced stu-
dents.
-Offering courses specifically
requested by small groups of stu-
dents.
-Informal discussions between
faculty and students.
-Reduced size discussion and
seminar sessions in courses where
interchange between teacher and
student is most needed.
To all these ends the residential
college's director, Dean Thuma,
recommends that "the staff of the
new college be given great free-
dom to determine its curriculum,
internal administration and the
teaching techniques to be used."
Cut Services
It is hoped that service courses
-taught by the literpry college to
students in other schools or col-
leges-will be kept to a minimum
or eliminated.

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