Monday, May 21, 2018

"universities that replace truth with politics and marketing steadily lose public trust, as they should"


"Open Letter to UC President Janet Napolitano on Fundraising"

Includes:.."You represent a university that consists of hundreds of thousands of students as well as about 150,000 staff and over 10,000 faculty. Many of us have given decades of our working lives to UC. We have deep experience of the institution and highly developed expertise in our subject areas. And yet with few exceptions, we have no way of bringing this expertise to the wider public. As a group, our views are as unknown to the state at the end of our thirty-to-forty-year careers as they were at the beginning.

This places an enormous moral responsibility on you to represent hundreds of thousands of silent people correctly. It imposes an enormous intellectual responsibility as well.

As the representative of the university, your intellectual responsibility is of course to tell the truth: universities that replace truth with politics and marketing steadily lose public trust, as they should. By "truth," I don't mean a fixed obvious fact we can kick. I mean the current state-of-the-art on a topic, created by open methods, testing, and debate, and subject to further revision as better data and interpretations arise. The job of universities is to determine the truth defined as an issue's state-of-the-art understanding, which in all areas continues to evolve. This means that university administrations are in the position of having to keep up with the state-of-the-art in relevant fields as generated by their students, staff, and faculty.

One field that administrations must keep up with is higher education studies. As a scholar in some of its most pressing subfields, I sometimes feel that senior administrators are running away from research findings rather than embracing and acting on them.

A case in point is university philanthropy. Last week "...


--Just to add in here a sort of question- is the " silence" and "loyally yours" mentioned in the above part of what is described here in this Brady commencement address?:

..." loyalty is also an investment in our institutions; it is a statement that we think that they might know things we do not know, that they might be beset with imperatives that require the actions they take, or that they might engage in short-term compromises for long-term gains. This investment in institutions can make it possible to solve problems in the future."...

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