Davis Faculty Association

Archive for January, 2009

Arizona’s Problems

Davis Faculty Association member Ron Hess pointed us to an article in yesterday’s East Valley Tribune (Phoenix, AZ) that discusses the dire state of public higher education in Arizona:

Budget Cuts May Force ASU To Shutter Polytechnic Campus.

“ASU President Michael Crow has directed the university to prepare to shutter its Polytechnic campus in east Mesa as higher education faces hundreds of millions of dollars in funding cuts.” The proposed cuts “might include $314 million from the three public universities, 30 percent of their state money.” Crow said, “We could eliminate the nursing school, the journalism school, the law school and the engineering school and still not meet these cuts.”  The article notes that “the polytechnic campus…is the planned centerpiece of east Mesa’s future economic development,” and “has become a sort of higher education laboratory… The applied science school, for example, helps the education program train math and science teachers.”

Full article is available at:
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/134344

The New York Times on The Last Professors

FA Chair Ian Kennedy thought that the membership might be interested in an article, by Stanley Fish, published in the New York Times. It is essentially a book review of “The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities” by Frank Donoghue. Some excerpts from the article:

“[The book argues that] the for-profit university is the logical end of a shift from a model of education centered in an individual professor who delivers insight and inspiration to a model that begins and ends with the imperative to deliver the information and skills necessary to gain employment. In this latter model, the mode of delivery – a disc, a computer screen, a video hook-up – doesn’t matter so long as delivery occurs. Insofar as there are real-life faculty in the picture, their credentials and publications (if they have any) are beside the point, for they are just ‘delivery people.'”

Ultimately, Donoghue “advises humanists to acquire ‘a thorough familiarity with how the university works,’ for ‘only by studying the institutional histories of scholarly research, of tenure, of academic status, and… of the ever-changing college curriculum, can we prepare ourselves for the future.’ But – and this is to his credit – he doesn’t hold out the slightest hope that this future we may come to understand will have a place in it for us [faculty].”

Full article at http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/the-last-professor/

Bee article re: California Faculty Association report

The California Faculty Association just released a report titled “California at the Edge of a Cliff: The Failure to Invest in Public Higher Education is Crushing the Economy and Crippling Our Kids’ Future.” It is similar to reports CUCFA distributed last spring — full of data illustrating the neglect of higher education in California. For example:

“In 1980 California appropriated $12.86 from state tax funds for the operations of higher education for every $1000 of state personal income. This ranked California’s investment effort 11th among the states. By FY2008 this had dropped $7.71 per $1000 of state personal income, a decline of 40.0%. California ranked 21st among the states by 2008.”

The full report is available at:
http://www.calfac.org/calattheedge.html

The Sacramento Bee has an article in today’s issue about the report. The Bee article is available at:
http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/story/1530649.html

A brief excerpt from the Bee article:

“Lillian Taiz, president of the CFA and a history teacher, believes this decline didn’t just come out of nowhere. There have been a number of tipping points, but term limits for legislators, she believes, has led particularly to ‘the worst of short-term thinking in a world that demands long-term vision.’ The result is that we’ve seen a slow erosion of education as the engine of progress and opportunity in California. That idea of upward mobility, however, is deeply rooted in American thought and practice. Thomas Jefferson, in launching the University of Virginia, sought to nurture the talents of all classes: ‘We hope to avail the State of those talents which nature has sown as liberally among the poor as the rich, but which perish without use, if not sought for and cultivated.'”

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