public university politics

I now work in a state university. The current political climate is, er, volatile for educators and publicly-funded institutions. Here’s a recent, multi-perspective article from CHE on the issue.

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About plasticbodies

Contemporary philosopher.
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3 Responses to public university politics

  1. prodigiesandmonsters says:

    I think you should say more about your experience from doing graduate work at a private institution to working at a public university. Many readers, including myself, are doing graduate work at a public university. We know that the academic and political climates are volatile, we live it everyday–we don’t necessarily need an article about it. What would be helpful/interesting is if you wrote about the experiences you have had so far that prompted you to blog about the political climate in your new position and as a professor. That’s a post that I would benefit from given the circumstances of my graduate work.

    –Matt Applegate

  2. plasticbodies says:

    Hey, Matt. Thanks for this. This is a great prompt, and one I should try to say something about what you suggest. I’ve only been at SRU for week or so, so my impressions are limited. I will say what I can, however, when I get a free moment. If I forget, drop me another message to make sure I get on this!

  3. plasticbodies says:

    I guess that I can say up front that one worry that I did not really experience as a graduate student is the worry about how state budget decisions will afffect the cost of tuition for students, and jeopardize the possibility of new tenure lines and/or the extension of limited term appointments like mine. Originally the PA state budget planned to slash 58% of funding for education, but that percentage eventually dropped to under 20% (I think that’s accurate). This is the kind of thing that sounds like a victory, but, of course, it’s not really. Many of the PA state-system schools still had to raise tuition. I’ve heard concerns that if this continues even in-state students will find it increasingly difficult to pay for college. I’m not claiming this is unique to my institution or PA, but it is an issue that varies from state to state.

    More and more audible is the clamor for ‘productivity’ and ‘accountability’, an issue covered heavily recently with respect to the UK. These sorts of things set the humanities on edge, as everyone knows. I guess at this point I can simply say that the volatility of the public university is more palpable for me now. Now that I belong to a faculty union, the attack on unions (a la Scott Walker) is a very real threat. Even if it is a matter of climate.

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