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Power and Empowerment in Higher Education

Power and Empowerment in Higher Education: Studies in Honor of Louis Smith

Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Power and Empowerment in Higher Education
    Book Description:

    The tangled relationship of power and higher education is a fascinating one. Where power centers arise on campus, they influence and are influenced by sources of power outside. Students, faculty and administration compete for authority within the academic community; citizens whose education has placed them in a position to obtain social, political, and economic power outside the university walls frequently use it in a way that deeply affects the direction and nature of academic development.

    This collection of thought-provoking essays is dedicated to Professor Louis Smith, who has long been a student of higher education in this country and abroad. Considering matters as varied as the place of the department head in the academic hierarchy and the image of political leadership promulgated by the academic world, distinguished scholars present here a rich harvest of insights on a significant topic.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6430-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Empowerment and the Integrity of Higher Education
    (pp. 1-20)

    To begin with my definitions, integrity in higher education is personal and social devotion to the wholeness of the individual and to truth. It is also responsible freedom dedicated to both social and ultimate values. Empowerment refers to the power education bestows on persons for effective participation in the social, economic, and political orders. I shall try to show how, once education has empowered persons to function effectively, their accommodation to goals of material success creates a tension between integrity and empowerment. The alumni and the larger community share with the faculty and the administrators in this empowerment. They also...

  5. Democratic and Other Principles of Empowerment on Campus
    (pp. 21-40)

    “Happy the natural college,” wrote Emerson, “. . . instituted around every natural teacher; the young men of Athens around Socrates, of Alexandria around Plotinus, of Paris around Abelard. . . . But the moment this is organized, difficulties begin.” Organization, he held in his essay “Education,” stifles the educational process; it inhibits the enthusiasm that stimulates learning, and it promotes routine: assignments, notebooks, examinations, and grades.

    Today’s objection to Emerson’s “natural college” is that there are now too many students. Committed to mass education, we have no alternative to complex organization. With over 7,000,000 young people intent on an...

  6. The Academic Hierarchy and the Department Head
    (pp. 41-58)

    In the vast literature of the history and organization of education, the department head is all but ignored. Only recently, and in light of the threat of organized bargaining, has this academic functionary received much serious attention. It may well be true that the department head as he has existed in the last century of American higher education is an administrative anomaly. His has been a position without clearly specified authority, and the nature of his office in American higher education has had nearly as many variations as there were departments themselves. To a large degree this position is a...

  7. Notes on Departments of Religion
    (pp. 59-78)

    There is a fairly long tradition of interest on the part of philosophers, theologians, and sociologists in the relationship between religion and power. We think, for example, of such men as Karl Marx, Max Weber, Walter Rauschenbusch, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and such studies as those of Paul M. Harrison. While Ronald H. Bohr complained some years ago about the dearth of “scientific” studies of religion and power, other types of studies are available.¹ Since the 1960s, particularly, institutions of higher education have been studied more intensely than ever as maelstroms of conflict and power, but...

  8. Images of Power in Academia: A Critical View
    (pp. 79-106)

    As the political trauma known as Watergate recedes from everyday consciousness, there appears a tendency to dismiss it as an anomaly or a curious flaw in the administration of former President Richard Nixon. From the earliest beginnings of the crisis, most Americans refused to accept the possibility that the highest circles of American government would conspire to tamper with the electoral process, burglarize the headquarters of the opposition party, use the FBI, CIA, and the IRS for political gain, and so on. Most citizens had to be forced to this realization by a deluge of overwhelming evidence, and there is...

  9. Amnesty and Fairness: The Power to Educate and the Duty to Dissent
    (pp. 107-134)

    Usually when we think of “power and education” we think of something fairly tame and academic. But during the past decade, the major meeting place between power and education was the Vietnam war and the discussion it created. The war was education, in the sense that no other event in the past decade taught the nation more or changed its way of thinking more. And the war was power, the power of killing and death, and the political power of the struggle to change minds and policies about the war’s continuation.

    Many of those who sought to develop a widespread...

  10. Comparative Politics of Education in Four Industrial Nations
    (pp. 135-152)

    Antistatist attitudes have held sway in the United States for many years, and as a consequence active governmental involvement in the provision of social services has often been looked at askance. The machinery of government in the United States has not been considered an instrument to be used casually but only in the most extreme circumstances. Excessive government is believed to endanger liberty; in addition, private enterprise is believed to be more efficient than government, and government is expected to encourage private initiative and free competition. The United States consequently has lagged considerably behind other industrial nations in the area...

  11. Louis Smith Is a Man of Many Talents
    (pp. 153-156)

    When Louis Smith became dean of the Upper Division of Berea College in 1944 and dean of the College in 1947, the institution acquired an unusually valuable administrator. For several years there had been discussion and anxiety about organization. Berea, made up of three schools, experimented with a two-year Upper Division (last two years of college) and a four-year Lower Division. Fine educational theories supported such a division, but the plan did not work out as anticipated. Studies were made, a return to the unified four-year college was desired, and the change was effected. Louis Smith was welcomed as the...

  12. Bibliography of the Published Works of Louis Smith
    (pp. 157-158)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 159-159)