Measuring Collegiality

Can you test for academics’ collegiality?

And would you want to?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a piece on the launch of a new test to help determine academics’ collegiality or,as they put it, whether a faculty member is “a bully or a jerk or an all-around pain in the neck.”

Two higher-education consultants believe they have an instrument that does just that. They call it the Collegiality Assessment Matrix, and they are promoting it to colleges as a tool for both professional development and faculty evaluations.

“I’m more collegial than you lot”

The two consultants, Jeffrey L. Buller, dean of the honors college at Florida Atlantic University, and Robert E. Cipriano, a professor emeritus of recreation and leisure studies at Southern Connecticut State University, say the test offers something colleges have long needed: a reliable means of identifying good and bad behavior in the academic workplace.

The instrument is objective enough, they say, to enable colleges to weigh collegiality as a distinct criterion in making decisions related to faculty members’ reappointment, promotion, or tenure. By using it, the consultants say, colleges can confront faculty members over actions that vex their colleagues and either coach them on how to behave better or, if necessary, show them the door.

It’s not clear to me why you would want to do this or why such a test would substitute for simple awareness of behaviour and sensible day-to-day management. Really can’t see it catching on.

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