On a number of occasions over the last couple of years, I have shared my concerns with you regarding the decreasing level of support provided by the federal government for research at our nation’s universities. Indeed, as reported in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, entitled “Strapped”, by Paul Basken and Paul Voosen, the budget of the National Institutes of Health hasn’t exceeded inflation for more than ten years. This lack of growth in the N.I.H., and other federal granting agencies, coupled with the major cuts related to the recent “sequestration” process, endangers this nation’s research infrastructure and the productivity of our research scientists. To quote the authors, “Budgets are tighter than ever. In [a survey administered by the Chronicle], more than half of the researchers who had led a lab for more than six years said this year was the toughest” …. 62% had reduced lab staff, 78% had reduced the recruitment of graduate students and fellows and 47% had had to drop an area of inquiry that was central to the scientist’s research programs.
In late January, President Obama announced the creation of a special task force to examine and, as necessary, coordinate federal enforcement efforts regarding rape and sexual assault on our nation’s campuses. This White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault will provide leadership for colleges and universities as they work on developing more transparent and more effective campus procedures to decrease and/or investigate incidents of sexual assault.
Today is higher education day at the State Capitol in Albany. SUNY faculty and students are urging the legislature and the governor to boost funding for the system. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke about the lobbying effort with SUNY professor Dr. Eileen Landy, Secretary of the Faculty Union, UUP, and SUNY student Rita Yelda.
The governor’s budget is based on a huge promise – that he will keep the budget growth to less than 2%. The governor presents this number as a simple feat, keep to the rate of inflation and he can use some of the revenues for a tax cut.
I often find myself in the odd position of addressing the question “why are the humanities disappearing?” In most instances my interrogators assume I will say something about the desire for vocational training in an environment where jobs are scarce. Clearly that is an answer, but a partial and unreflective response.
Julie Evans lives in Woodstock where she spends most of her time trying to figure things out. She is a writer, personal mentor, host of the television program Just Say So and an adjunct instructor for Empire State College. She has just completed her memoir entitled Joy Road.
Late one evening not long ago, I had left the TV tuned to the David Letterman show while I finished up some writing. As the former president of two different public universities – one in the United States and one in Canada – imagine my shock when I heard the following: “I’m dumb, I went to a state college.” Let me repeat that: “I’m dumb,” said Mr. Letterman, “ I went to a state college.”
A recent article by Larry Rulison in the Times Union posed the question, “Research Triangle found the right formula -- can we?” As the article acknowledges, there is no simple answer to this question. Champions of the concept of university–driven innovation made it happen: creative faculty and administration at North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a committed state government; and, industry leaders who saw the competitive advantage of partnering with faculty at research-intensive universities in areas of research and development relevant to their particular product lines.