Blasting Academic Silos

Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, Jan 18, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm all for getting rid of silos, but I am wary of the micromanagement that usually follows. It's an old story - we get rid of silos, but replace them with management-driven cross-department project teams with no autonomy. Cross-institutional collaboration can depend on management strategies and centralized communication systems. It needs to be driven by grass-roots person-to-person connections, the sort that can be managed and that can be enabled only by giving individual staff more autonomy and more power. If you're not going to do that, you may as well stay with the silos. Anyhow, this article presents something like the micromanagement view, suggesting that "we need to collect faculty resources from different disciplines" (as though they could be 'collected') and produce research relevant to "the big issues of the day" (as determined by, um, who?).
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