Thursday, June 21, 2012

Political donors trump academics

The leadership coup at the University of Virginia was conducted by a governing board with profound financial means and limited professional educational experience.
The members of the school's Board of Visitors were appointed by two governors from different political parties and have donated more than $2.1 million to partisan political causes in recent years. Board members' lack of academic expertise, and their messy ouster of UVA President Teresa Sullivan over the objections of students and faculty, underscore a trend in the leadership of public higher education institutions toward wealthy, politically connected executives.
The 18-member board, led by university Rector Helen Dragas, forced out Sullivan less than two weeks ago without input from the school's faculty, who have since rallied for Sullivan's reinstatement amid a general outcry on the school's Charlottesville campus and from American higher education professionals. UVA consistently ranks among the top U.S. public universities.
Read it at Huffington Post
Teresa Sullivan University Of Virginia Ouster Led By Political Donors Lacking Academic Experience
by Zach Carter and Jason Links

"UVA consistently ranks among the top U.S. public universities." If cronyism continues to trump at UVA, that is soon to read "ranked" instead of "ranks," as credentials from compromised institutions cease to be trusted.
"More and more boards come from non-academic backgrounds, and one consequence of that is a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the academic enterprise," said Robert Kreiser, Senior Program Officer at the American Association of University Professors, who told HuffPost the UVA debacle is only the most extreme example of an ongoing phenomenon in which those "who don't appreciate what higher education is about and who are more concerned about corporate interests and corporate considerations" come to govern academia.

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