University of Wisconsin-Madison

A friend writes on this article:

Let me see if I understand. This state university is essentially becoming a for-profit academy. They can’t afford not to spend the money to keep the grant winners. Of course, that money spent to keep grants is public money being spent primarily to make money, not to educate. So that is the university as investment house. Research and learning are not really the point. Dollars drive knowledge, what gets to be known and what gets to reproduce its institutional status. The only legitimate use of public dollars is to make money. There is no public good beyond that to be served by higher education as such. That is the narrative in force right now and it is highly of cynical, especially given its power among nativists and a majority of voters.

Not enough people see the long term benefits of higher learning across the fields of knowledge and we are at that place where there is too little public support for knowledge that is critical or not supportive of commonplace understanding. The collapse of public faith in the inherent benefits of public higher education, while largely attributable to the activities of the Right since 1981, must be attributable too to some lack on the part of faculty. We and our immediate forebears witnessed these problems rising (adjunctification, exploding administrative ranks, corporatization, inability to engage in public rhetoric) and did too little to abort them. Now perhaps I expect too much. A small subsystem cannot control the whole. But I cannot escape the sense that too many faculty members abandoned the public and their students, because little of the market fundamentalist agenda is good for either the public or our students.


4 thoughts on “University of Wisconsin-Madison

  1. This is the university my husband got his PhD from. He had a NASA scholarship (He did not even have to teach!) and we lived in cheap, subsidized student housing. This was in the late 60s.

    Our lives were not fancy, but we could get by.

    1. Ah, but that was before Scott Walker (and I suppose, his predecessors). They were the first place to unionize TAs, I am quite sure during the time you were there.

    2. With a NASA or NASA-type scholarship you can still have those late 60s-style conditions or better.

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