But there is also a bit of institutionalized diffusion of expertise. For example, whenever a university committee is populated, it is the faculty union that decides who gets to sit on the committee and this is always done by a vote from the larger organizational unit. In other words, there is a delegation where one member of each college represents the whole college. All union members in that college get to vote. At no point are qualifications for said committee ever considered, unless you cast your vote thoughtfully.
And of course, there is rarely more than one person running for an empty seat.
I chair a committee, a pretty powerful one. I was elected to this committee with a grand total of one vote (my own). Let my reign of terror commence!
All kidding aside, I often think about expertise on our campus. I'm essentially - by contract - assumed to be an expert in assessment, pedagogy, curriculum, peer evaluations, recruiting, promotion of events, guest speaker programming, even in crafting an effective library collection. The list goes on, as I'm sure it does for most of us.
No question that I have an opinion (usually strong) about these things, but I'm no expert.
Similarly I read posting after posting here that reflects a certain lack of respect for expertise from our students.
So when I read the article linked below, it really resonated with me.
The death of expertise.
"Universities, without doubt, have to own some of this mess. The idea of telling students that professors run the show and know better than they do strikes many students as something like uppity lip from the help, and so many profs don’t do it."