Education structure based on triangle of strengths

A University professor recently wrote a column about the role of students, faculty and administrators in a university.

She recounted the story of a history teacher who explained the role of university administrators and their existence of managing the university’s logistics.

Infrastructure and logistics now play an essential role in achieving a university’s mission.

Students, faculty and administrators form an educational triangle.

Contrary to current talk, students are not the center of education any more than they occupy the center of the educational triangle.

All sides of the educational triangle should be centered on this objective, each using their unique perspectives and talent.

An engineer or architect will attest that the triangle is one of the strongest geometric shapes and is widely used in design and construction.

However, outside groups have grafted themselves onto the educational triangle, and the resulting structure is not only weakened, but also unrecognizable.

Faculty unions place themselves opposite from the administration. Faculty unions are not a proxy for the faculty, a substitute side in the educational triangle. A faculty union does not speak for the entire faculty. As with any organization or bureaucracy, their interests tend to revolve around power and self-perpetuation.

Just as in geometry, where changing the length of a side distorts a figure, so too is the educational institution distorted and weakened as students, faculty, the union and the administration jostle for power.

Other parties can intervene, just as additional sides can be added to our geometric figure. Student alliances with unions, excessive government interference and certain types of outsourcing can soon transform our educational triangle into something strange and grotesque.

Understood properly, the three sides of the educational triangle have a symbiotic relationship with each another. None can exist or prosper without the active aid and support of the other two.

At a modern university, the active and constructive support of all three elements is essential in achieving the central goal: the pursuit of truth. When we introduce other elements, or distort a position or place in the structure, we do so at our peril and that of the educational institution.

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