What Happens When Women Run Colleges?

Article here. Excerpt:

'"What happens when women run colleges?” Could be just a provocative question. Could be the opening line leading to a challenging set of discussions. Could be a joke awaiting a punch line.

It is in fact the title of an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (link here to paywalled article, excerpts to follow). The Chronicle is higher education’s most important and influential journal and, as such, the topic is covered in a fashion that reveals the culture and concerns of the higher education world.

A gendered view is not wholly inappropriate in any such analysis. It has been argued that the impulse to serve in the West arises from two main sources: Athens and Jerusalem. That division, made famous by Leo Strauss, is based on the tension between reason and revelation. But that plays out in different ways in each tradition. From Athens we derive concepts like duty, virtue and civic obligation. From Jerusalem we derive concepts like compassion and charity. Athens, in a crude gendered sense, is the Daddy Impulse. Jerusalem is the Mommy Impulse.

It tells you something about the drift of the overall culture since at least the late 1960s that within public affairs the Jerusalem side has been dominant and the Athens side recessive. Nowadays in public affairs we seem to hear more about caring than duty; more about compassion than virtue. Where are the inherently complex values that call for balance, such as prudence or wisdom? What do those things even mean anymore?
Again, nothing necessarily wrong with that. With women comprising 58% of undergraduate enrollment there are sound reasons to keep customers satisfied. But there are those icebergs to worry about, too. To say nothing of the other 42%.

The second noteworthy aspect of Gardner’s treatment of the effect of female leadership on the agenda is less subtle than the above but in some ways more important. Note that none of the items mentioned above have any relationship to the academic program, allegedly the vital center of institutional mission.'

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... has morphed into the pursuit of someone's idea of *whatever*, not educating "the customers". That is what the author has missed.

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