Why start a blog at this stage of life? 

I've done pretty well without having one up to now, but my students and colleagues in the lab thought it was a good idea to put some of my rants about what's going on in science and academia to better use (and maybe give them a little more peace and quiet). I've been in teaching and research since the early 1960's--some would say too long--but  during that time I've seen a lot and done a lot. 

Do my thoughts on higher education and scholarly research carry more weight than anyone else's? Not really, but there are a lot of things that worry me about the future of education, science and our country itself, so I'd like to get some discussion going.

When I hear presidential candidates trashing universities and colleges for political gain, I think there's real cause for concern. But  universities and the research establishment are by no means completely above reproach. I think academic values need to be re-considered. I don't think that teaching, research and scholarship are just commercial commodities to be sold like iPads or cars, but I see a lot of that going on these days. Are we losing our independence and objectivity by buying into the commercialization and commodification of academia? I think we are. I also think we need to fix some things and they won't get fixed unless people directly involved are willing to debate the issues and suggest some specific solutions.

So I want to try this Blog. 

I look at this from a number perspectives: as a college teacher and researcher in a small New England University for the first 22 years of my career, as a Dean of graduate studies and Vice Provost for research first at a large state university and then at well-regarded private university, for a total of almost 13 years in administration, and as a former Congressional and Fulbright Fellow who worked on Capitol Hill and spent a number of years working in European universities and research centers. So, maybe some of my perspectives might have value for colleagues and friends who have many more years of work ahead of them than I. 

I hope this Blog will lead to some discussions and maybe even open up some ideas for fixing difficult situations that are outside the box of current academic values and practice. So let's see what happens. My first one will appear in about a week. 

 

Scientific research, science, science education, brain research, academia, politics of science,