Ruin and Rebirth: Save the Date for Chris Newfield’s Talk October 24

The Innovation Conspiracy: Ruin and Rebirth in the American University

A talk by Christopher Newfield

Sponsored by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory

October 24, 2011, Levis Center, 3rd Floor, 8pm

Why is the American university system in crisis? A central reason is the financial pressure put on colleges and universities by the “innovation economy,” pressure which has led to rising student debt, less personalized instruction, and growing research funding deficits. The lecture shows that the leading response at public universities to this pressure — large tuition increases and other attempts to replace public with private funds — has made the budget problem worse. Now that we are stuck with a failing public university funding model that no one would have designed on purpose, how do we fix it? The bulk of the talk proposes as a solution a new public purpose (and funding structure) for universities, one enabling mass access to new individual capabilities for a “post-innovation society.”

Christopher Newfield is professor of English at UC Santa Barbara and author of Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle-Class (Harvard, 2008). He maintains the terrific Remaking the University blog at http://utotherescue.blogspot.com/.

He is one of the most insightful current critics of the structure and prospects of American public higher education.

For background readings by Newfield you may go to the Unit for Criticism’s website: http://criticism.english.illinois.edu/2011%20Fall%20pages/Newfield_Readings.htm

The event is free and open to the public.