When Power Corrupts
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When Power Corrupts : Academic Governing Boards in the Shadow of the Adelphi Case

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"It is often said that the American academic, protected by tenure, is free to do pretty much as he or she pleases. Lewis argues that this freedom is largely an illusion. Faculty actions are greatly limited by governing boards and the academic administrators they appoint, who control institutional resources. Although ostensibly independent professionals, in many ways faculty have no more autonomy than most employees. Indeed, what power they have derives from faculty-student relationships. Lay governing boards ultimately control how money is spent and who spends it. This volume addresses issues relating to current debates over the most appropriate and effective method of academic governance.

When Power Corrupts details the conflict between the governing board and administration and faculty at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, between 1985 and 1996. This conflict culminated in the removal of the Board of Trustees by the New York State Board of Regents. The new trustees in turn removed the president. Although the book focuses on board administration-faculty relations at one university, its findings have implications for almost all other institutions of higher learning in the United States. Lewis draws on the nearly 8,000-page transcript of the hearings of the Regents. These eleven volumes of exhibits include hundreds of documents obtained from individuals and organizations.

Lewis suggests that academic administrators have more control of governing boards than is generally recognized. Besides influencing who is asked to join a board, administrators may largely determine the information boards receive and on which they must make decisions. When faced with decisions, boards often defer to academic administrators or acquiesce to a campus president's suggestions. Because conflict over governance all too often takes precedence over academic work on American campuses, the implications for higher learning are profound. Faculty, academic administrators, members of governing boards, college students and their parents, and general readers concerned about problems relating to American higher education will find this book provocative and informative.

Lionel S. Lewis is professor emeritus of sociology and adjunct professor of higher education at SUNY/Buffalo. He has written more than 150 research articles, essays, and reviews. He is the author of Cold War on Campus: A Study of the Politics of Organizational Control and The Cold War and Academic Governance: The Lattimore Case at Johns Hopkins.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 158.8 x 237.2 x 20.8mm | 547.41g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0765800314
  • 9780765800312

Review quote

-Lionel Lewis provides a lucid, well-documented portrayal of the failure of academic governance at Adelphi University. This book will challenge administrators, trustees, and faculty to examine the integrity of the decision-making process at their institutions. When Power Corrupts should be read by all practitioners and researchers of academic governance in contemporary American colleges and universities.-

--William Phelan, Teachers College Record

-...Lewis presents a thoroughly researched case study of the strife-ridden administration of President Peter Diamandopoulos and the complex interrelationships among the University's board of trustees, the president, and the faculty.-

--History of Education Quarterly

-Lewis's study is not only fascinating but also instructive for its cautionary reminder of the importance of informed oversight by the board and the significance of meaningful shared governance. Faculty, academic adminstrators, and especially members of governing boards will find this book provocative and enlightening because it demonstrates the deleterious results when conflict over governance takes precedence over academic work on Americam campuses.-

--Community College of Journal Research and Practice "Lionel Lewis provides a lucid, well-documented portrayal of the failure of academic governance at Adelphi University. This book will challenge administrators, trustees, and faculty to examine the integrity of the decision-making process at their institutions. When Power Corrupts should be read by all practitioners and researchers of academic governance in contemporary American colleges and universities."

--William Phelan, Teachers College Record

..".Lewis presents a thoroughly researched case study of the strife-ridden administration of President Peter Diamandopoulos and the complex interrelationships among the University's board of trustees, the president, and the faculty."

--History of Education Quarterly

"Lewis's study is not only fascinating but also instructive for its cautionary reminder of the importance of informed oversight by the board and the significance of meaningful shared governance. Faculty, academic adminstrators, and especially members of governing boards will find this book provocative and enlightening because it demonstrates the deleterious results when conflict over governance takes precedence over academic work on Americam campuses."

--Community College of Journal Research and Practice "Lionel Lewis provides a lucid, well-documented portrayal of the failure of academic governance at Adelphi University. This book will challenge administrators, trustees, and faculty to examine the integrity of the decision-making process at their institutions. When Power Corrupts should be read by all practitioners and researchers of academic governance in contemporary American colleges and universities."

--William Phelan, Teachers College Record

..".Lewis presents a thoroughly researched case study of the strife-ridden administration of President Peter Diamandopoulos and the complex interrelationships among the University's board of trustees, the president, and the faculty."

--History of Education Quarterly

"Lewis's study is not only fascinating but also instructive for its cautionary reminder of the importance of informed oversight by the board and the significance of meaningful shared governance. Faculty, academic adminstrators, and especially members of governing boards will find this book provocative and enlightening because it demonstrates the deleterious results when conflict over governance takes precedence over academic work on Americam campuses."

--Community College of Journal Research and Practice
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