As if I wasn't enraged enough at how the anti-education slimeballs at the Capitol were screwing up my state, I had to wake up and see this excellent article from the Capital Times today. UW-Madison is losing faculty right and left because these highly-talented people are done with putting up from the BS from the GOP-run state government, and unsupportive administrators like UW System President and WisGOP donor Ray Cross.
One part of Pat Schneider's article focuses in on UW-Madison history professor Will Jones and his wife, UW-Madison gender studies professor Christina Ewig. They were planning to stay in Madison and raise their kids here, and spoke highly of their colleagues, but the disinvestment and political environment in the state encouraged them to take similar positions with the University of Minnesota.
Jones sounds an ominous warning on where he the university may be heading, where the needs of the state become overridden by the needs of individual donors.
As academic departments become increasingly reliant on private money, the donors have more influence over the focus of the department, Jones said.Which is exactly what the Kochs and ALEC want- to have corporates and oligarchs be the ones who decide the mission and curriculum of public research universities like UW-Madison. Remember Assembly Speaker Robbin' Vos talking about "Ancient Mating Habits of Whatever" right after the 2014 elections? And Wee Wobbin' (a UW-Whitewater PoliSci grad, by the way) has been an ALEC water-carrier his entire career.
“Traditionally, when we hired, the department decided where it wanted to shore up weaknesses or build on strengths — the decisions were made on curricular and pedagogical reasons,” he said. “Now we often have to hire based on what position someone is willing to endow. We control the decision of who to hire, but the initial framing is what someone is interested in funding. I see that happening more and more going forward."
Tenure as it was reshaped by the Board of Regents probably won’t lead to faculty losing their jobs for what they say anytime soon — at least not in the history department, Jones said.
But he is concerned that support staff will not be replaced, leaving those remaining under increasing pressure to do the day-to-day tasks that keep a department running. Most importantly, diminished advising staff will be stretched to adequately guide students to graduation in an efficient manner, he said.
Jones also is concerned about the long-term combined impact of financial considerations and the weakening of faculty governance on curriculum. With financial considerations ruling, it will be tempting to close those programs that don’t have wealthy alumni to fund them or don’t produce high earners, regardless of the discipline’s value to society, he said.
Phil Hands of the Wisconsin State Journal summed it up quite well in a cartoon from this week, which not only explains the anti-academic mentality of today Wisconsin GOP, but also their regressive mindset toward business and developing human capital in the 21st Century.