Building the Responsive Campus: Creating High Performance Colleges and Universities
Publication Year: 1999
Subject: Higher Education (general)
This critique of modern academia is also a proposal for making campuses more effective -- that is, better at meeting the clients' or customers' needs. The author addresses the problems that many academic institutions have today in clinging to the practices and organization of the past. By outlining the many problems in organization that colleges and universities face today, the author hopes to reveal workable solutions.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
To Gib Hentschke, Dean of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, for his energy, enthusiasm, and desire for bringing about constructive educational reform.
Copyright © 1999 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
SAGE Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, California 91320
SAGE Publications Ltd.
6 Bonhill Street
London EC2A 4PU
SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Greater Kailash I
New Delhi 110 048 India
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Tierney, William G.
Building the responsive campus: Creating high performance colleges and universities / by William G. Tierney.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7619-0987-7 (cloth: acid-free paper)
ISBN 0-7619-0988-5 (pbk.: acid-free paper)
1. Universities and colleges—United States—Administration. 2. Universities and colleges—United States—Faculty. 3. Educational change—United Stated. I. Title.
LB2341 .T584 1998
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
99 00 01 02 03 04 05 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquiring Editor: Jim Nageotte
Editorial Assistant: Heidi Van Middlesworth
Production Editor: Diana E. Axelsen
Editorial Assistant: Stephanie Allen
Typesetter/Designer: Lynn Miyata
Indexer: Virgil Diodato
Cover Designer: Michelle Lee
I am a lucky fellow. I sent this text out for commentary to individuals whom I was certain would take me to task for loose writing or flabby thinking. They did. Their comments forced me to spend a good deal longer on this book than I had originally envisioned, but the book (and I) are better for it. Thanks to Judy Glazer, Michael Jackson, Gail Lin Joe, Kent M. Keith, David Leslie, Yvonna Lincoln, Jack Newell, Bill Segura, Melora Sundt, Dan Tompkins, and three anonymous reviewers. Parker C. Johnson and Mujaji Davis in the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis helped prepare the text and I am in their debt. I appreciate the help of Kristen Maus in copyediting the text. Jim Nageotte, my editor at Sage, has become a true friend, mentor, and wordsmith.
Much of the work for this book was made possible by generous support from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The opinions, of course, are mine alone.
Frequently Asked Questions[Page 169]
I have had friends and colleagues read parts of this book as I have written it, and I have discussed different ideas at conferences and in lectures as a consultant to colleges and universities. I also teach a doctoral seminar on administration that is composed of midlevel administrators at a variety of different postsecondary institutions. I have used drafts of this book in class for feedback and debate. Certain questions continually arise and deserve a response.
I thought you were politically on the left. Isn't reengineering just another way for managers to assert more authority over the faculty and staff?
I am on the left, yes. Organizational redesign is neither anti-democratic nor warmed-over Taylorism. If anything, redesign offers a way for broader participation and decision making on the part of multiple groups and constituencies. At the same time, we also ought not fool ourselves that reengineering as a structure or any structure ensures democratic participation in an organization. Organizations exist through human activity and ideas. Just as it is possible for individuals to subvert democratic efforts within a democracy, it will also be possible for institutional leaders to claim that reengineering is necessary and choose some ideas that enhance their power and overlook others. As I noted, what is necessary in each institution that reengineers is to define organizational commitments and goals, as I did in the introduction. Such commitments provide definition. Unlike Taylorism or “great man” theories of leadership, reengineering at least sets the stage for possible wide-scale decentralized efforts by all of an organization's participants.
[Page 170]But don't ideas like soft projects and the lessening of departmental structure set the stage for greater administrative authority? It sounds anti-union.
Not at all. We must appreciate the necessary tension that exists across constituencies. Some, but not all, colleges and universities have unions that successfully represent the interests of different constituencies. I have been to campuses where unions are helpful, and I have visited other campuses where they are not. Many campuses also are not unionized. Unions, like reengineering, are empty concepts if they are not defined and contextualized. If unionization means the rigid definition of structure that maintains at all costs the status quo regardless of present contexts, then I fully understand how reengineering can be seen as problematic.
But few unions exist on campuses that do not recognize the dramatic changes taking place in society that demand colleges and universities to reorganize how we work. Organizational redesign is not, however, a code word for “downsizing,” which in itself is a 1990s code word for “firing.” If anything, reengineering provides all constituencies with the possibility for greater participation in deciding what work they do and how it is done. Our tasks may well be reorganized, but such reorganizations are done via full participation of those involved in the processes.
OK, fine, but elsewhere you've derided organizational fads. How come you speak of this one with such fervor as if it's a panacea for all that ails us?
If I have been interpreted as saying that redesign or reengineering is a panacea, then I have been misunderstood. It is not a path to utopia, the New Jerusalem, or any other promised land. It is not a magic elixir. However, it is unlike previous management gimmicks in two fundamental ways. First, reengineering provides a way to break out of traditional molds. Whereas TQM, strategic planning, and the like sought to improve upon present day practices, redesign seeks to change fundamentally such practices. We don't tinker with what we do, we change it.
Second, I have always felt that some of these ideas that are borrowed from business demand an organizational contortionist in order to fit them to academe. Colleges and universities are special places. They are different from for-profit businesses with “bottom lines.” Nevertheless, in an era when dramatic change is needed, it is not helpful to suggest that our leaders either have to go with their intuition, since nothing from the business world will work, or use ideas for organizations entirely different [Page 171]from ours. Reengineering is intellectually driven and appears to be a perfect fit for organizations that have a history of shared governance and collegial decision-making.
That's fine to say, but I don't think you understand the pressures everyone faces right now. I have faculty who need training in technology and I have to get the place wired so that everyone can interface with the library's new electronic gizmos; I don't have time to redesign.
You've just answered why we need to. I fully appreciate the pressures we face. Everyone, not just the faculty, is facing new challenges in the workplace as they recognize the need for changed infrastructures, among other things. We have two choices. We can muddle through and continue to feel like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland screaming, “no time, no time.” Although we will accomplish some tasks in this manner, we will end up exhausted, burned out, and incapable of dealing strategically with comprehensive reform.
Or we can take a breath and consider how to redesign processes so that individuals and groups work with one another across functions and structures in a cohesive manner.
You don't get it. I can't just put the brakes on everything for a year and say we're going to reengineer and let everything come to a halt.
I never said that everything should come to a halt. Think of it in two ways. First, when we run a marathon we don't just wake up and say, “Pm going to drop everything; Pm going to run 26 miles today.” We train. Different people train in different ways, and depending on the shape we're in, we might begin very slowly or relatively quickly. Organizational redesign is similar. We don't drop everything. Reengineering is a process, and processes occur over time.
Second, we learn about reengineering and educate the institution about it. We don't simply get the reengineering bug and begin. We discuss the idea with our colleagues. We raise and debate issues. We create study groups that set agendas. Remember, reengineering will never work if it is the brainchild of a single individual. It takes an organization to bring about reengineering.
OK, you've got me. How do I begin?
You just did.
References[Page 172]1996, September). Process redesign. Executive Excellence, p. 14–15., & (American Association of University Professors (1985). Academic freedom and tenure: Statement of Principles, 1940. In M.Finkelstein (Ed.), Ashe reader on faculty and faculty issues in colleges and universities, pp. 143–145. Lexington, MA: Ginn.1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Harvard Business Review, 69(3), 99–109.(1993). Flight of the buffalo: Soaring to excellence, learning to let employees lead. New York: Warner Books., & (1990). Teaching the elephant to dance: The manager's guide to empowering change. New York: Plume.(1996, September). 21st century organization. Executive Excellence, p. 7–8., & (1987). The empowered manager: Positive political skills at work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(1987). The closing of the American mind: How higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students. New York: Simon & Schuster.(1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.(1978). Measuring organizational effectiveness in institutions of higher education. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23, 604–629. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2392582(1996). Organizational effectiveness and quality: The second generation. In J. C.Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 11, pp. 265–306). New York: Agathon Press., & (1897). Heroes and hero-worship. London: Chapman and Hall.(1988). Collegiate culture and leadership strategies. New York: Macmillan., & (1998). Listening to the people we serve. In W. G.Tierney (Ed.), The responsive university: Restructuring for high performance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.(1995). Reengineering management: The mandate for new leadership. New York: Harper Business.(1987, March). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 3–7., & ([Page 173]1980). The organizational saga in higher education. In H.Leavitt (Ed.), Readings in managerial psychology. Chicago: Chicago University Press.(1983). The higher education system: Academic organization in cross-national perspective. Los Angeles: University of California Press.(College Board (1993, September). Trends in student aid: 1983–93. Washington, DC: The College Entrance Examination Board.1973). Alaskan Eskimo education: A film analysis of cultural confrontation in the schools. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.(1994). Built to last: Successful habits of visionary companies. New York: Harper Business., & (1991). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness and the pohtics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.(Conrad, C. (Ed.). (1985). Access to quality undergraduate education. Atlanta, GA: Southern Region Education Board.Council for Aid to Education (1997). Breaking the social contract: The fiscal crisis in Cahfornia higher education. New York: Author.1990). Managing the non-profit organization: Principles and practices. New York: Harper Business.(1997, July). Revolutionary changes: Understanding the challenges and the possibilities. Business Officer, p. 1–15.(1990, July/August). Student aid: Is it working like it is supposed to?Change, 22(4), 35–42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091383.1990.9937644(1996). Off the tenure track: Six models for full-time, non-tenurable appointments (AAHE forum on faculty roles and rewards working paper series). Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.(1991). Building a learning organization. Harvard Business Review, 71(4), 78–91.(1993). Research and relevant knowledge: American research universities since World War II. New York: Oxford University Press.(1990, June 21). The fidgets aren't just in childhood: Adults with troubles are learning. New York Times, B6.(1994, August 31). The coming dark age of U.S. research. Los Angeles Times (Commentary), p. B7.(1993). Reengineering the corporation: A manifesto for business revolution. New York: Harper Business., & (1990). The age of unreason. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.(1990). The college tuition spiral. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.(1997). Quality in higher education: Developing and sustaining high-quality programs. Boston: Allyn and Bacon., & (1985). Enrollment effects of alternative postsecondary pricing policies, journal of Higher Education, 56(5), 458–508. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1981207, & (1996, Autumn). Learning productivity: Some key questions. Learning Productivity News, 1(2), p. 1–3.(1987). Reconstructing American education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(1994). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. New York: Harper Business., & ([Page 174]1983). Academic strategy: The management revolution in American higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.(1996). Qualifying examination. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, School of Education.(1993). Credibility: How leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass., & (1987). The leadership challenge: How to get extraordinary things done in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass., & (1986). High-involvement management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(1996). Faculty workload and productivity: Recurrent issues with new imperatives. Review of Higher Education, 19(3), 267–281.(1996). Wise moves in hard times: Creating and managing resilient colleges and universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass., & (1991). Raising productivity in higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 62 (3), 242–262. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1982281(1974). Leadership and ambiguity. New York: McGraw-Hill., & (1995, July/August). Improving productivity: What faculty think about it and its effect on quality. Change, 27(4), 10–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091383.1995.9936431, & (1979). Surviving the eighties. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(1994). The fall and rise of strategic planning. Harvard Business Review, 72(1), 107–115.(1987a). The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy. California Management Review, 30(1), 11–24.(1987b). The strategy concept II: Another look at why organizations need strategies. California Management Review30(1), 25–32.(1994). The state of working America. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute., & (1983). The structure of presidents' and deans' careers. Journal of Higher Education, 54(5), 500–515. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1981624(1971). Blind man on a freeway. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(1996). Removing college price barriers: What government has done and why it hasn't worked. Albany, NY: SUNY.(1992). Visionary leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(National Commission on Responsibilities for Financing Postsecondary Education. (1993). Making college affordable again. Washington, DC: National Commission on Responsibilities for Financing Postsecondary Education.1994). Let them eat skills. The Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies16(1), 15–29.(1966). The Oxford dictionary of English etymology. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.(1982). In search of excellence: Lessons from America's best-run companies. New York: Harper & Row., & (1978). Leadership is a language game. In M.McCall & M.Lombardo (Eds.), Leadership: Where else can we go?, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.(1993, November 15). The taxpayers vs. higher ed. Newsweek, p. 51.(RAND. (1997). Breaking the social contract: The fiscal crisis in higher education. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.1986). Corporate culture: The last frontier of control. Journal of Management Studies, 23(3), 287–297. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.1986.tb00955.x([Page 175]1992). The work of nations. New York: Vintage Books.(1996). Making a place for the American scholar. (AAHE Forum on Faculty Roles and Rewards Working Paper Series). Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.(1994, September). Reich says jobs fail to offset wage, income inequality. Los Angeles Times, p. A27.(Ruben, B. (Ed.). (1995). Quality in higher education. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.1996). Generation X goes to college: An eye-opening account of teaching in postmodern America. Chicago: Open Court.(1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday Currency.(1994). Diversity's diversity. In DavidTheo Goldberg (Ed.), Multiculturalism (p. 140–156). London: Basil Blackwell.(Tierney, W. G. (Ed.) (In press). Faculty productivity: Facts, fictions and issues. New York: Garland Publishing.Tierney, W. G. (Ed.) (1998). The responsive university: Restructuring for high performance. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.1997). Tenure and community in academe. Educational Researcher, 26(8), 17–23.(1994). Building communities of difference: Higher education in the twenty-first century. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.(1993). Academic freedom and the parameters of knowledge. Harvard Educational Review, 63, (2), 145–159.(1989). Curricular landscapes, democratic vistas: Transformative leadership in higher education. Westport, CT: Praeger.(1988). The web of leadership: The presidency in higher education. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.(1996). Promotion and tenure: Community and socialization in academe. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press., & (1990, June 21). A life spent out of focus. New York Times, p. B6.(1991). Responsibility center budgeting: An approach to decentralized management of institutions of higher education. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.(
About the Author[Page 185]
William G. Tierney is the Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis at the University of Southern California. He holds advanced degrees from Harvard and Stanford Universities and a BA from Tufts University. His most recent book is The Responsive University: Restructuring for High Performance (1998). He is currently involved in a 4-year study pertaining to faculty roles and rewards. He recently received the distinguished research award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and Change magazine recognized him as one of 40 young leaders in the academy.