The University of Scranton’s administration is attempting to circumvent both the faculty union and the idea of the academic department with its scheme to make department chairs appointed by administration – and non-union.
This is going to be problematic for several reasons. Not only does it weaken a union (we can discuss the relative merits of academic unions at some point), it places governance even further from faculty, in whose hands it should be. It creates yet another class of administrators who may or may not have the necessary experience as a faculty member to truly understand the work of an institution. And finally, it will likely lead to a decrease in tenure-track faculty lines and an increase in contingent faculty, thus threatening academic freedom and the possibility for anyone who isn’t already independently wealthy to make a living as a professor.
It’s all a part of the increasing corporatization of the university. Maximize profits, treat students like consumers instead of students, and create a permanent administrative class with no actual connection to the “product” at hand.