For much of the twentieth century in the United States a college education provided a path to middle-class status, and formed productive citizens. Can it still? What can we do to help ensure access to colleges and universities? Also, what do colleges and universities do for people who are not students? How can our increasingly privatized institutions continue to serve the public at large?
Dr. Christopher Newfield, Professor of English at the University of California-Santa Barbara and author of The great mistake: how we wrecked public universities, and how to fix them (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016) will speak at UL Lafayette Thursday, October 25 on “Fixing the great mistake: American universities in 2050.” The lecture, free and open to everyone, is at 5:30 PM in 112 Olivier Hall. The funding crisis and the role of the university in society are key topics. Students, parents, administrators, staff, faculty in all fields, and anyone concerned about rising tuition, debt, and the public role of universities are warmly invited.
Dr. Newfield will also speak at LSU, Baton Rouge, Friday, October 26, at the Paul M. Hébert Law Center, 3:30 to 5:30 PM, Room 110. The lecture, free and open to everyone. Both events are sponsored by the Louisiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors.
Newfield’s earlier books include The Emerson effect: individualism and submission in America (Chicago, 1996), Ivy and industry: business and the making of the American university, 1880-1980 (Duke, 2003), and Unmaking the public university: the forty year assault on the middle class (Harvard, 2008). His writing engages American political psychology, race relations, and the power of humanities-based research. In addition to more traditional material in English, his teaching includes courses on innovation studies, global California, the future of higher education, and English majoring after college. He blogs on higher education funding and policy at Remaking the University, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. His current book project is Lowered education: what to do about our downsized future. The lecture at UL Lafayette is based on research for this book.
Dr. Newfield’s The great mistake was published in 2016 and has just come out in paperback. The book addresses the crisis in U.S. higher education, as college becomes more and more of a necessity while tuition rises, and students and families suffer from unprecedented debt. How did this happen, and what can we do about it? What impacts does this situation have on society at large? Newfield combines firsthand experience with expert analysis to show how business-minded practices have increased costs and reduced the university’s value to society. He argues that higher education is a public good and must be treated as such.
[notes prepared by Leslie Bary, Department of Modern Languages, Vice-President, UL Lafayette Chapter, AAUP and President, Louisiana Conference, AAUP]