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2011 March 31

Campaign for the Future of Higher Education

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 07:57
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The AAUP has just announced to its members the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, issuing the following Guiding Principles:

  1. Higher education in the twenty-first century must be inclusive; it should be available to and affordable for all who can benefit from and want a college education.
  2. The curriculum for a quality twenty-first century higher education must be broad and diverse.
  3. Quality higher education in the twenty-first 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.
  4. Quality higher education in the twenty-first century should incorporate technology in ways that expand opportunity and maintain quality.
  5. Quality higher education in the twenty-first century will require the pursuit of real efficiencies and the avoidance of false economies.
  6. Quality higher education in the twenty-first century will require substantially more public investment over current levels.
  7. Quality higher education in the twenty-first century cannot be measured by a standardized, simplistic set of metrics.

They are planning action (letter-writing campaigns, teach-ins, and similar faculty actions) on 13 April 2011.  That is rather short notice for anything very substantial to get organized, and I suspect that 99% of the population will never notice that anything has happened.  The formal launch for the campaign (at the National Press Club) won’t be until May 17.  It strikes me as rather strange that they are asking for action on very short notice, but taking another month to organize a press conference.  This seems backwards to me:  the press conference should be easier to put together than meaningful coordinated actions nationwide.  The AAUP often seems to me to have its heart in the right place, but to be rather clumsy in unexpected ways, as with this backwards ordering of events.

The principles they listed seem reasonable, though they do not address how to achieve quality or determine if it has been achieved.  They are basically pro-diversity, pro-technology statements that recognize that the current disinvestment in public higher education is not a sustainable model.  They are not specific to higher education: exactly the same statements could be used (dropping the adjective “higher”) to primary and secondary education—except that in some parts of the country there is now adequate public investment in K–12 education (though not in California, where I live).

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