During my brief hiatus from teaching (the month of May), I have spent a considerable portion of my time catching up on the happenings of higher education across the country. Unfortunately, the news hasn’t much changed over the past several years. Universities are facing increasingly difficult economic circumstances, journal subscriptions are increasingly expensive, and institutes of higher education are increasingly relying on contingent faculty to teach the majority of their courses.
In response to these trying circumstances, a group of academics and administrators representing many institutions from 21 states met in January 2011 to hash out a response. The result is the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. The CFHE has been written up in many places (including ProfHacker) and the campaign’s principles speak for themselves:
- Higher Education in the 21st Century must be inclusive; it should be available to and affordable for all who can benefit from and want a college education.
- The curriculum for a quality 21st Century higher education must be broad and diverse.
- Quality higher education in the 21st Century will require a sufficient investment in excellent faculty who have the academic freedom, terms of employment, and institutional support needed to do state-of-the-art professional work.
- Quality higher education in the 21st century should incorporate technology in ways that expand opportunity and maintain quality.
- Quality education in the 21st Century will require the pursuit of real efficiencies and the avoidance of false economies.
- Quality higher education in the 21st Century will require substantially more public investment over current levels.
- Quality higher education in the 21st century cannot be measured by a standardized, simplistic set of metrics.
I encourage you to join the campaign and do your part.
In a related(ish) manner, the Modern Language Association is attempting to pass a resolution in support of educational funding for all American students–regardless of their native state. Here is the exact language of the resolution:
Whereas the United States Senate refused to vote on the DREAM Act, which would have granted eligible undocumented students paths to citizenship and tuition assistance, be it resolved that the MLA supports the efforts of undocumented students seeking paths to legal status by attending institutions of higher education.
If you are an MLA member, please do vote on this important resolution. Along with the DREAM Act resolution, you can vote for a new by-law that would stipulate that every MLA resolution would need a majority vote to pass as well as at least 10% of the membership to participate in the vote.
Lastly, the Joe and Rike Mansueto Library at UChicago is leading us one step closer to the singularity. Look at the video linked here.
Anything new you’ve noticed?