From the Chronicle of Higher Education: Taking a stand against the ‘unmaking of the public university’

http://chronicle.com/article/An-Emerging-Field-Deconstructs/130791/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

“This new wave in higher education looks beyond the confines of particular specializations . . . [to take] a stand against some of those changes, notably those contributing to the “unmaking of the public university,” in the words of the literary critic Christopher Newfield. . . . Many of these analyses debunk commonplace views—for instance, that research supports other parts of the university. . . . [U]niversity studies is a response to the draining of social institutions since the 1970s, resulting in what I’ve called the post-welfare-state university, when public rights to education and other social services established after World War II have been shaved back. . . . [It] is a critique of neoliberalism and the conservative ascendency. . . . Over the past few years, the conditions prompting our investigation of the university have become even more urgent, as there have been greater decreases in public support, more pressure on selling off parts of research to businesses, more casualization and speed-up of faculty labor (adjunct positions and heavier work loads), and regular increases in tuition and subsequently student work hours and debt. There is thus a pressing need not only to diagnose what’s happening but also to oppose changes that go against the public interest and to propose policies that might strengthen higher education. We need a strong critical study of the university—especially now. . . . Critical university studies has a full slate of work continuing, but one task that I think will take on more importance in the next few years is investigation of the globalization of higher education, which is promoted as altruistic but is often actually a profit-seeking endeavor through which American or European universities sell their brands and services.”

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