This is a brilliant take on the “faculty as a disposable burden while technology must be funded” narrative we hear so often in higher education.
“Mr. President, We are not employees of the university. We are the university.”
With these words, Isidore Rabi, a distinguished faculty member at Columbia University, interrupted Dwight Eisenhower, who had started off a speech by addressing the faculty as “employees of the university.” Generation after generation of faculty members has repeated this inspirational anecdote from the early 1950s, though they know very well that their universities are increasingly becoming about everything other than the faculty. And the situation appears to be worsening. To the professional managerial class that nowadays run the neoliberal version of post-secondary education, the faculty is often seen as merely the source of the university’s problems. So, before too many of my colleagues get used to being seen as a cost, not something that provides net positive value to the university, I would like to use charter accountants’ speak to argue that investment in university research excellence could be and…
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