No subject

Wed Jun 1 15:13:38 CEST 2016

[Moderator&#39;s Note: The comment period is now closed. The final comments=
 will go out over today and tomorrow.]<br>
I greatly appreciate the comments from Allen White and Bill Rees, who in cl=
ear and direct terms laid out the fundamental problem with private higher e=
ducation in the US. Higher education in the US mirrors the social-economic =
system in which it is embedded. Here are but three obvious examples:<br>
1. Universities seem to equate growth with success, as evidenced by endless=
 expansion of campus infrastructure administrative overhead, and revenues. =
In thirty years I have taught at Clark University (a 130 year old instituti=
on) the number of buildings has probably more than doubled; and I see that =
trend on every campus I visit. The urgency to raise larger and larger reven=
ues from tuition, donations from (hopefully rich) alumni and from research =
grants is relentless;<br>
2. The baseline of what constitutes necessary amenities, such as athletic f=
acilities, health clubs, and so on, has been moving relentlessly upward, re=
flecting the lifestyles and expectations of the top socio-economic tier in =
the society on which the universities depend for revenues;<br>
3. Income inequality has been dramatically increasing among the faculty and=
 staff. University presidents earn million dollar salaries and enjoy tremen=
dous benefits, such as free elegant housing, first class air travel, and ot=
hers. Top administrators (whose numbers have visibly increased over the yea=
rs) follow at a steady distance. The next tier are faculty members in high =
paying professions and those with access to large research grants. The dist=
ance between the salaries of these &quot;haves&quot; and those of the facul=
ty in the humanities, and office and custodial staff is getting larger ever=
y year.<br>
4. Just like all other private market-driven organizations, universities co=
mpete with each other for &quot;customers&quot; (students) and feel pressur=
ed to offer to these students the type of education they seek in exchange f=
or very high price they pay: practical, leading to future economic security=
. Is it surprising?<br>
At Clark University we have some wonderful interdisciplinary programs, have=
 relatively permeable walls between departments and disciplines, and are ju=
stifiably proud of the deep and genuine social engagement of many of our st=
udents and faculty members. But the features I outline above are very much =
part and parcel of Clark.<br>
The institution of a private university in the US is deeply embedded in the=
 society around us and it reflects the values and priorities of other domin=
ant societal institutions. I have not studied public universities in the US=
 but based my occasional readings I understand that in the age of decreasin=
g public support their experience is similar to that of private universitie=
No, I do not expect such an institution to be an agent of social change. In=
 that sense I read Cristina&#39; essay as aspirational. Which is not to say=
 that individuals who are part of that institution might not become agents =
of change. Over the years I have had the privilege to work with students an=
d faculty who inspired me with their unwavering commitment to social change=
. I can only hope that these individuals will be agents of change in our so=
ciety. Who knows, perhaps if that happens the universities will join the mo=
Halina Brown<br>
Original Message<br>
=C2=A0Transition Network [mailto:<a href=3D"mailto:gtnetwork at greattransitio=">gtnetwork at</a>]<br>
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 9:30 AM<br>
=C2=A0Higher Calling for Higher Education (GTN Discussion)<br>

More information about the P2P-Foundation mailing list