Universities should be working for the greater good | Times Higher Education (THE)
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-04-11
"What might happen if the provost of a highly visible research university that had recently reconfirmed its public-facing mission gathered the entire campus together – deans, department chairs and faculty – in rethinking the university’s promotion and tenure standards from top to bottom? What might become possible if that provost were to say that our definitions of “excellence” in research, teaching and service must have that public-facing mission at their heart? What might be possible if that public mission really became Job One?
The provost paused. Then he gave his answer: “Any institution that did that would immediately lose competitiveness within its cohort.” ...
The pursuit of prestige is not the problem in and of itself, and excellence is, of course, something to strive for. In fact, friendly competition can push us all to do better. But excellence and prestige and the competitiveness that fuels their pursuit are too often based in marketing – indeed, in the logic of the market – rather than in the actual purposes of higher education. It’s a diversion from the on-the-ground work of producing and sharing knowledge that can result in misplaced investments and misaligned priorities...."