Academic Citizenship

jones robertjunda mary ellenRobert Jones, North Dakota State University, and Mary Ellen Junda, University of Connecticut
Chair, Academic Citizenship Committee

 

2015 was another eventful year in the work of the Academic Citizenship Committee.  The essence of the Committee continues to be defined by the following ideals and goals:

  • Responsible academic citizenship demands engaged, collegial, civil, collaborative participation in the full life of the college/conservatory/university 
  • An awareness of the institution’s strategic goals and active contribution to their achievement 
  • A willingness to integrate meaningfully the demands of our discipline with the needs and expectations of our students and of the civic community 

The Academic Citizenship Committee actively supported the theme of Sustainability as it was influenced by collegiality, collaboration, and community engagement.

At the 2015 CMS National Conference in Indianapolis, we hosted an open forum discussion entitled: Sustainability and Academic Citizenship: Collegiality, Collaboration, and Community Engagement

Three significant themes influenced our presentation: 

1. The concepts of academic citizenship and engagement with diverse communities were crucial to sustained viability and health of music departments in academic institutions. 

2. Developing collegial/collaborative work environments is necessary for music units to attain a higher growth potential. 

3. The spirit of collegiality and collaboration are crucial for the long-term development and sustainability of engaged audiences.

During the Academic Citizenship Committee’s Open Forum Discussion, two areas of concern became evident.  The first is the profound influence of administrative leadership styles upon the continued health and vitality of the academy.  Secondly, the corporate culture that characterizes today’s academy significantly impacts all facets of its collective personality, altering its mission and changing how higher education is perceived by its constituencies.  In response, the Academic Citizenship Committee will plan two initiatives.  The first initiative is a proposal submitted for a panel presentation at the 2016 CMS National Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This panel presentation would allow us to explore the influence of the corporate model of higher education on administration, the professorate, students, and constituent communities.

Transforming the Corporate Model of Higher Education Through Academic Citizenship

Today's academy is becoming a corporate enterprise. The dominant administrative model has become "top-down" governance rather than a shared leadership style characterized by faculty collaboration. The academic experience has shifted from a focus on the arts and humanities toward the narrower model of a technical school vocational education. Students have become consumers of educational commodities rather than co-investors in their future. Many professors are hired as adjunct faculty rather than in tenure-track positions. Dwindling resources too frequently cause eroding support for teaching, research and creative activity, negatively impacting faculty productivity, the students and the educational experience. 

Through a panel presentation, the Academic Citizenship Committee will respond to these circumstances impacting communities within and beyond the academy.  Successful efforts to transform the prevailing corporate academic culture into an atmosphere enriching students and faculty, while strengthening connections with communities will be explored. Questions to be addressed include:

  • How do we, in our efforts to exemplify the best of citizenship, transform adverse circumstances into positive cultures where education thrives?
  • How can administrators and faculty foster a nurturing and supportive environment, and provide the means for it to flourish?
  • How can the top-down leadership style be reconfigured to be more democratic, involving faculty collaboration?
  • What qualities of citizenship do we want to encourage in our students and colleagues?  
  • How do we transform the idea of education as a consumer commodity to one with mutual investment among student, mentor and benefactor?

A group discussion of these questions involving all participants will follow the panel presentations. 

The second initiative being pursued by the Academic Citizenship Committee is the possibility of a partnering initiative with the Committee on Academic Careers to explore the influence of administrative leadership styles on the health and vitality of the academy.  The specific theme we wish to address is the concept of the servant-leader.  The venue for this event could be a pre-conference workshop for the 2017 CMS National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

During the National Conference in Indianapolis, discussion continued among members of the Academic Citizenship Committee concerning ways to share the results of the 2014 survey on promotion and tenure with the membership and beyond.  Options under consideration include writing an article for Symposium and starting a Discussion Group on the CMS website. 

2015 has been marked by personnel changes on the Academic Citizenship Committee. Longtime committee member, David Montano, recently retired from the University of Denver, has decided to conclude his service. On behalf of the Committee, I would like to congratulate David for his many years of successful service and contributions to our work. We wish him all the best in retirement.