Value Centered Management

l.m.fosse at l.m.fosse at
Sat May 25 14:36:35 UTC 1996

Madhav Deshpande wrote:

  Jan Houben's concern about diminishing job markets in Indology is
>indeed shared by all of us.  However, in my opinion, it has less to do
>with the mode of scholarship in Indology than with the relative numbers
>of students we serve and the willingness of institutions and governments
>to put their resources to serve the needs of such small numbers.  At
>Michigan, my courses in Hinduism are over-flowing with students, while
>the Sanskrit courses are starving for students.  The deans obviously
>would prefer that I teach the courses with high numbers than teach
>courses with small numbers.  No problems for teaching Hindi, which
>attracts over a hundred students each year from the large immigrant
>community.  But the same cannot be said of Tamil or Marathi.  At least in
>the US, the future of the jobs lies more with the numbers of students we
>serve, rather than with the type of scholarship we produce.  This has
>been made absolutely clear to us at Michigan.  The university recently
>officially instituted a policy called "Value Centered Management".  In
>simple terms, this means that each department must earn its own
>salaries.  If teaching Chinese literature does not attract students, then
>teach them how to make Chinese chicken.

A similar way of thinking sees to be making its way into university studies
here in Norway too, although we haven't quite reached the "Value Centered
Management" model yet. It would seem that university administrations - and
politicians - forget that universities do more than produce students. They
also produce knowledge, and knowledge is necessary in a number of contexts,
even if society does not need a large number of people who master a
particular kind of knowledge.

The Value Centered Management model seems to regard the university as a
closed world, but it is an integral part of society, and even if a
particular subject or department does not "make a profit" in the immediate
university context, society as a whole may profit by it. Academics should
spend some time informing the public about this, particularly the
politicians. I always felt that academic life could learn something from
business (where I worked for several years), but "Value Centered
Management" is ridiculous.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Lars Martin Fosse
Research Fellow
Department of East European
and Oriental Studies
P. O. Box 1030, Blindern
N-0315 OSLO Norway

Tel: +47 22 85 68 48
Fax: +47 22 85 41 40

E-mail: l.m.fosse at

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