That languishing article

It is hard to write. One of the reasons for this is the number of directions in which it leads. Something I notice in real life, that people do not realize, is in fact how the neo-liberalization works. So we accept “bringing money into the university” as a good thing, without realizing what sponsored research really does to budgets.

That is why I should be talking about the neoliberalism itself, as well as the rhetoric that functions to cover it.


8 thoughts on “That languishing article

  1. And there was this thread, about how we jumped on the bandwagon out of desire for the toys.

    So true, re: bandwagon jumping–and some of that in the mid-90’s was, indeed, about building fiefdoms, and getting special deals, etc. So, a new way of doing that old practice. Perhaps not at your place, but at mine there was, also, quite a time when that bandwagon was jumping on us, as it were. The year after I arrived they eliminated the position in the office of research that helped people get NEH’s (very successfully, too). The next year, they eliminated the Graduate School and downloaded all that admin to individual departments.

    And even IUB–which is still great in many ways with real research funding for humanists, was an ‘early adopter’ of RCM (responsibility centered management). Official word is that RCM keeps Deans from having slush funds, squirreling away $$ and building private fiefdoms. That may be true, but as far as I’m concerned it just means that only the Pres. & Provost have slush funds–big ones, which they spend on ‘building’ programs themselves. All that said–and sorry for the long comment–it’s very hard NOT to make compromises, even with one’s eyes open, out of a desire to ‘save’ things. So some of the desire you speak of is also a desire to keep faith with the things we love / the reasons we got into this business in the first place.

    You’re totally right. Lived history is so “thick,” as Geertz used to say. (Cf. Napolitano re your point about slush funds.) And I laugh (hollowly) as I read this because I’m so AGAINST Grad Div having so much power to set agendas for our grad programs and having so much of the money WE used to have (in my fantasy) to run the program ourselves. But the point is that we would not, now, ever simply be given the amount of money it takes for Grad Div to operate our corner of the world. The process of taking back money for this and then putting it into that is brilliant for getting money out of the hands of the faculty. Who would have thought that legal and official money-laundering would have been one of the chief ways they did it?

    Maybe we’re just seriously unprepared for how little truth means.
    Right. These things are *profound*
    You know you’re right

  2. Students are treated like customers and don’t like it:

    Someone said:
    no surprise: the real state hedge funds with an educational nonprofit on the side we call universities are no longer engine of mobility as the assault on core areas of knowledge, administrative bloat, superfluous spending in buildings and recreation centers and Republican and Democratic legislators further and further defunding public institutions lead to less economic diversity and to the strengthening of structural inequality

    about this article:

  3. And:

    For my article, from a friend, who was completing a recommendation form:

    i) Positive attitude in meeting the needs of *customers* (i.e. parents, students, staff, vendors, community members, etc.)

    ii) “Can you identify anyone else who could provide relevant information regarding the applicant’s fitness for employment?”

  4. On another article, in the NYT I think, by one Selingo, a friend writes:

    People who think like Selingo think money answers all problems/determines all solutions in education. He’s the very worst of economic sensibility with no awareness of the implications he argues. What disregard he shows with his rooms like prison cells simile. Are students similar to being prisoners? What an inhuman and cold simile, reflective of an inhumane and calculating argument.

    Furthermore, where are the considerations of human needs like students feeling safe and getting what they need on campus? What about faculty and staff: are fair salaries and wages too much to ask for? Are smaller teaching loads to give students more attention and faculty more ability to research a frivolity? Selingo implies as much in his hackneyed and disregarding arguments about higher education.

    As I see it: Business-minded solutions decimate the respectability, currency, and humanity of our profession. At the same time, these solutions dismiss the importance of our students as humans–beyond them being just paying customers.

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