Examining faculty voice in a contemporary decision-making context
Terry, Jarrett Lamont
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This qualitative study examines the perceptions and expectations that faculty have regarding their role as quality assurance agents in higher education. As a case study, participation in the process to change the way remedial math is designed and delivered to under-prepared students at public, access institutions is examined. The topic brings the broader subject of shared governance to the forefront. The structure used to explore the topic begins with an examination of a changing environment in higher education and follows with a discussion of the faculty roles regarding curriculum and instruction. The study focuses on five access institutions within a 2-year and 4-year university system and the role that its faculty played in the strategy, development and implementation of a curricular change known as the transformation of remedial mathematics. The goal is to inform the literature regarding the management of faculty units affected by pressures resulting from support of strategies meant to improve higher education. These strategies include, but are not limited to, those that are focused toward completion. Support for the research findings is collected from interviews, surveys, meeting minutes, published articles and reports regarding contributions to the effort from state institutions within this university system. In conclusion, implications are made regarding the authority, influence and power of the academic core. The results show that faculty feel that although involvement is expected and perhaps realized, influence in the decision-making process is not expected nor perceived. Further, the responses in the study indicate a disconnect between faculty and those who were asked to represent them in the matter. This dissertation presents these results in context among theories that highlight why this might occur beyond this case study.