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The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers

The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers

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Higher education is becoming destabilized in the face of extraordinarily rapid change. The composition of the academy's most valuable asset -- the faculty -- and the essential nature of faculty work are being transformed. Jack H. Schuster and Martin J. Finkelstein describe the transformation of the American faculty in the most extensive and ambitious analysis of the American academic profession undertaken in a generation.

A century ago the American research university emerged as a new organizational form animated by the professionalized, discipline-based scholar. The research university model persisted through two world wars and greatly varying economic conditions. In recent years, however, a new order has surfaced, organized around a globalized, knowledge-based economy, powerful privatization and market forces, and stunning new information technologies. These developments have transformed the higher education enterprise in ways barely imaginable in generations past.

At the heart of that transformation, but largely invisible, has been a restructuring of academic appointments, academic work, and academic careers -- a reconfiguring widely decried but heretofore inadequately described. This volume depicts the scope and depth of the transformation, combing empirical data drawn from three decades of national higher education surveys. The authors' portrait, at once startling and disturbing, provides the context for interpreting these developments as part of a larger structural evolution of the national higher education system. They outline the stakes for the nation and the challenging work to be done.