Carleton’s Loyalty Oath

Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Aug 24, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As a former board member for two universities (University of Alberta, and Athabasca University) I can attest to the prevalence of the board philosophy, specifically, "Support all actions taken by the Board of Governors even when in a minority position on such actions. Respect the principle of Board collegiality, meaning an issue may be debated vigorously, but once a decision is made it is the decision of the entire Board, and is to be supported." Like Alex Usher I always disagreed with that position. But I think it's a philosophy that permeates management generally. The first requirement for any manager, I've observed, is a willingness to do what they're told, to show a primary loyalty to the management team. We need to rethink this generally, and not just for university boards.

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