In the UNC academic scandal, insufficient attention has been given to the role of the faculty in protecting the integrity of the university.
In my years on the Duke faculty, I was often deeply involved in “faculty governance,” the system that makes sure the collective voice of the faculty is adequately heard. I chaired our faculty senate back around 1980, and I served on our faculty athletic council. So I have some knowledge of what can and should be done.
From what I have read, the faculty governance system at UNC could use some repairs. In a functioning system, it would be impossible for a single instructor to list himself as supervising more than a few independent study courses, or for a nonfaculty employee to be assigning grades, or for a large fraction of the student body to know about the sham courses while the faculty athletic committee remains ignorant.
Obviously many people at UNC looked the other way. But the faculty bears part of the blame, too, for not looking at all. A university faculty that relegates entirely to the administration and trustees the academic integrity of the institution is asking for trouble and will get it.
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