Hello, chickadees and chickadoos. This week I rounded the web, which is way easier than rounding the globe – especially considering that the web is so very large – and found the latest, hottest, most exciting news about the (sometimes sorry) state of higher education! If you want to alternate between feeling angry and feeling sad, then this is the post for you.
First, the big news from this weekend was Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, Paul Ryan. Mama always told me never to trust a man with two first names and if you care at all about strong, productive colleges and universities, then that advice is applicable here. Paul Ryan has an atrocious, albeit short, record on higher education. He has spoken out against Pell Grants and funding for education and research. His plan looks to slash and burn the National Endowment for the Humanities and do serious damage to the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. Ryan’s attitude toward academia and research falls in line with much recent Republican ideology and that can only lead to disaster for our universities, colleges, and students.
Second, Penn State could lose its accreditation as part of the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky crime scandal that shook the university earlier this year. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the accrediting organization for the mid-Atlantic area, wants to ensure that Penn State will comply with penalties doled out by the NCAA and will address the issues found in an internal investigation. The Middle State Commission gave Penn State a warning and will follow up over the coming weeks. In the meantime, Penn State continues to maintain its accreditation. Loss of accreditation would seriously affect students and faculty.
Third, have you heard about Fischer versus University of Texas, a case before the Supreme Court where a young woman argues that she was rejected from the university on the grounds of her race? The white student felt that using race as an admission criterion discriminates against white students. The White House commented on the case on Monday and supported the University of Texas’s decision and affirmative action citing the importance of diversity in the function of the federal government.
Fourth, I want to present a link to a thought-provoking piece about the state of higher education. The author, The Homeless Adjunct, breaks down the factors they see as leading to the decline of higher education and the increasing reliance on underpaid and under-appreciated adjunct faculty. While I do not necessarily agree with everything in the post, I find the article to be a good piece for stimulating thought.