Chronicle of Higher Ed Article calls Prof Roksa's Book "Revolt" Against Top Down Ed Model


02/15/2017

Chronicle of Higher Education

Article from the Chronicle of Higher Education sites book Curry prof. Josipa Roksa contributed to in discussion on improving higher ed.

 

You Will Be Assessed and Found Mediocre

 

...Bureaucracies must grow to keep themselves alive, and 'administrative bloat' is sometimes spoken of as a virtue, a make-work project for the academically underemployed.

Departments that ignore assessment systems risk losing funding or credibility. However, Maynard can decide to be only adequate in his responses ('No need to be perfect. Just done by Tuesday.') He can delegate small parts of the process to a working group, offering them flattery and crumbs ('I know you’re the perfect person for this important task — and it will look good on your annual report'). He can create a small committee to nag the working group ('The subcommittee won’t meet more than twice, but it’ll beef up ‘service’ on your annual report'). If the assessment process requires teaching observations, Maynard can create a committee of observers. He can make all tasks smaller and reward everyone who pitches in. He can 'incentivize.' Everyone who shows up gets an A.

In essence, Maynard is making his own small bureaucracy — but he doesn’t have to be a true believer. He can look for shortcuts. He can study Richard Arum, Josipa Roksa, and Amanda Cook’s 2016 book, Improving Quality in Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century. It is part of a small yet simmering revolt against the top-down model in which ignorant outsiders try to tell you what, and how, to teach.