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When Power Corrupts: Academic Governing Boards in the Shadow of the Adelphi Case


reviewed by William Phelan — 2002

coverTitle: When Power Corrupts: Academic Governing Boards in the Shadow of the Adelphi Case
Author(s): Lionel S. Lewis
Publisher: Transaction Publishing, Piscataway
ISBN: 0765800314, Pages: 195, Year: 2000
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This relatively compact book explores two interrelated themes. First as a case study, it details the gross incompetence and mismanagement by the Adelphi University President and the failed oversight by the Board of Trustees during 1985-1996. Second, the author argues that, contrary to popular perception, there is a marked disparity between the power of a lay board of trustees and that of the faculty in matters of academic governance. In Lionel Lewis’ view the Adelphi case is not an aberration but rather an extreme example of administrative control of resources and information, a lay board with very limited knowledge of higher education, and a faculty with no formal power. As a carefully documented case study, the weight of the evidence supports the first theme. Lewis examined nearly 8000 pages of hearings conducted by the New York State Board of Regents and hundreds of documents collected from AAUP, law firms, and library achieves. He also interviewed some of the principal players. The story of Adelphi, particularly of... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 1, 2002, p. 56-58
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10737, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 8:30:23 PM

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About the Author
  • William Phelan
    University of Massachusetts Lowell
    E-mail Author
    Professor Phelan is Faculty Chair of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has published articles and presented papers on academic engagement, school dropouts, and other topics in sociology of education. He is a former chairperson of the University of Massachusetts Faculty Council, faculty representative to the board of trustees, and president of the UMASS Lowell Faculty Senate.
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