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Understanding Authority in Higher Education

Dean O. Smith

Hardback
eBook
Within the complex environment of higher education, administrators and faculty members face daunting challenges in their unique domains of institutional governance. Many of the greatest challenges arise from basic misunderstandings of authority and its limitations by administrators and faculty members alike. These misunderstandings are the primary source of disruptive confusion, mistrust, and mismanagement. Consequently, an institution’s governance would improve significantly if its personnel clearly understand the fundamental principles of authority. To bring about this improvement, Understanding Authority in Higher Education clarifies issues of authority in an academic setting. Throughout, it introduces basic concepts of higher-education administration and then examines the limits of authority in context. Pedagogically, the book strives continuously to ascertain whether authority is used properly from a legal perspective, emphasizing the influence of academic cultural norms on legal principles and vice versa. But, Understanding Authority in Higher Education goes further than law textbooks by using real and anecdotal case studies to examine aspects of authority that don’t appear in court proceedings— those that lie beyond the reach of the law. In these cases, the book explores the anthropology— the behavior and the culture—of authority in the academic environment.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 360Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-4177-0 • Hardback • January 2015 • $58.00 • (£39.95)
978-1-4422-4178-7 • eBook • January 2015 • $55.00 • (£37.95)
Dean O. Smith has been a professor of physiology for thirty-seven years at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (twenty years), the University of Hawaii (eleven years), and Texas Tech University (six years). For twenty-two of those years, he was in the higher administration as an associate vice president for research, a vice president for research, an executive vice chancellor, and a system senior vice president. Over the years, he has published 135 scientific articles and a definitive book on university research management. He is now professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii.
PREFACE
CHAPTER 1 – ORGANIZATIONAL AUTHORITY
Authority in Academia
Authority Defined
Acceptance of Authority
Modulation of Authority by External Factors
Delegation of Authority
Rescission of Delegated Authority
Responsibility and Accountability
Chain of Command
Organization Charts: Line and Staff Authority
Authority in Agency Law
University Type: Private or Public
Obscured Limits of Authority
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 2 – SHARED AUTHORITY
The Meaning of Shared Authority
Consultative Authority
Shared Governance
Limited Rights to Consultation
Jurisdiction of Shared Governance
Breakdown of Shared Governance: Censures and Sanctions
Refusal to Share Authority
Failure to Accept Responsibility
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 3 – LOYALTY
The Nature of Loyalty
Loyalty Oaths
Duty of Loyalty
Loyalty to the Employer
Familial Loyalty
Political Campaign Contributions
Political Endorsements
Power Base
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 4 – LEGAL LIMITS OF AUTHORITY
Legal Rights and Responsibilities
The Constitution
Due Process
Deprivation of Life, Liberty and Property Interests
Title IX
Athletics
Sexual Harassment
Institutional Policies
Exhaustion of Remedies
Sovereign Immunity
Charitable Immunity
Qualified Immunity
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 5 – ACADEMIC AUTHORITY
Academic Freedom
Students’ Academic Freedom
Fundamental Limitations
Freedom of Expression
Faculty Criticism of the Administration
Expression in Private Life
Curriculum
Religious Institutions
Research
Grades
Conferring Degrees
Revoking Degrees
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 6 – ADMISSIONS
Authority to Admit
Fundamental Constraints
Discrimination
Affirmative Action Admissions Programs
Legacy Preferences
Bribery
Personal Favors
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 7 – STUDENT AFFAIRS
Relationship with the Institution
Authority over Student Life
Honor Codes
Disciplinary Actions
Housing
Room Searches and Seizures
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 8 – HIRING
The Generic Hiring Process
Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws
Affirmative Action
Institutional Recruitment and Employment Policies
Imposed Hiring: Patronage
Political Patronage
Invisible Patronage
Patronage Sanctioned By Policy
Fallback Appointments
Spousal Hires
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 9 – EXCEEDING AUTHORITY
Exceeding the Limits
Lack of Authority
Apparent Authority
Estoppel
Promissory Estoppel
Deliberate Exceedance
Unintentional Mistakes Due to Inexperience
Overestimated Authority
Premature Assertion of Authority
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 10 – INTRUSIVE MANAGEMENT
Questions of Competence: Micromanagement
Over-Caution
Organizational Change under New Leadership
Intrusion under New Leadership
Intrusion by Outgoing Leadership
Intrusion through Fear of Retribution
Legislative Intrusion
Legislative Line Items
Legislative Intent
Gubernatorial Intrusion
Governing Board Intrusion: Special Favors
Summary

Notes
CHAPTER 11 – RESISTING AUTHORITY
Disobeying Orders
Passive Resistance
Deliberate Procrastination
Duplicity
Strategic Procrastination
Administrative Resistance: Lame Ducks
Incompetence
Decision-Making Delay
Failure to Give Information
Failure to Report Information
Summary
Notes

CHAPTER 12 – TERMINATIONS
Firing Personnel
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Contractual Termination Clauses
Termination “For Cause”
Incompetence
Insubordination
Breaches of Academic Integrity
Moral Turpitude
Wrongful Termination
Alternative Dispute Resolution
At-Will Agreements
Progressive Discipline
Constructive Discharge
Substance Abuse
Summary
Notes

CASE INDEX
SUBJECT INDEX
Trenchant, incisive, and nuanced, Understanding Authority in Higher Education is the most lucid and comprehensive explanation of how various constituents in colleges and universities derive their legal authority to take actions and why. A veteran in higher education administration, Dean Smith systematically explicates how authority flows throughout an institution, including in the context of shared governance. This book is a must read for everyone in academe—faculty and administrators alike.
Gary A. Olson, president, Daemen College, Amherst, NY


Given our increasingly litigious society, this book is a “must-read” for students and faculty in higher educational administration and for university administrators and decision-makers. The author has done a truly masterful job of presenting, dissecting, and analyzing the full spectrum of decisions in higher education that frequently end up in court. Relying on recent case histories or anecdotes, the author does an excellent job of clearly and systematically describing the chronology of events from administrative decision-making to court decisions, and the ramifications of those decisions.
Judith K. Inazu, acting director, Social Science Research Institute, and Director, Office for Evaluation and Needs Assessment, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Dean Smith has given us an outstanding analysis of the amorphous nature of authority in the academy. In 12 chapters he merges theoretical concepts with specific examples and case law about the actual functioning of academic culture and tradition. The specific chapter summaries make it a useful tool when a quick overview of a complex topic is required. Graduate students in Higher Education will find this a practical guide to a difficult set of issues. Administrators and faculty will want to keep it on their shelf for reference when considering the crucial question of "Who Governs the University?"
Kenneth P. Mortimer, president emeritus, Western Washington University and the University of Hawai'i and chancellor emeritus of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa


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