In its eagerness to welcome students - that is, global citizens - to campus last week, the University of Missouri misspelled "Welcome" in Farsi and Arabic on a sign bordered by various national flags that included the word in English, Spanish, Malay, Hungarian. Whoops! That's awkward. Oh yeah, we're in Missouri, not the Dubai airport. After student center staff learned that some words had been misspelled, they blacked out the erroneous ones on the signs. Perhaps next time these citizen-of-the-world wannabes try to be cosmopolitan, they'll double check their Arabic dictionary first. H/T Chronicle Tweed [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="461" caption="Nick Agro/Senior Staff Photographer, The Maneater"][/caption]
That's the subject of my Clarion Call today. I like some aspects of the book. Best of all is Wildavsky's argument that we should abandon educational mercantilism -- the notion that nations have to compete to be tops in educational "investment," university prestige, and similar distractions. Because knowledge is not constrained by national boundaries, we should stop worrying about musty old "us versus them" ideas. Also, Wildavsky doesn't go for the tendency to bash for-profit higher ed, showing that it fills some important niches. What I didn't care for so much was the author's enthusiasm for the trend toward globalized universities, with lots of American universities setting up campuses in places such as Abu Dhabi. I see that as mostly glitz and conspicuous consumption rather than true educational advance.
Over at NAS.org, we occasionally re-post one or two pieces from the same month a year ago in order not to lose sight of some of NAS's best articles and the ones that have received the most attention. Today we re-post an article NAS president Peter Wood wrote after visiting Macalester College and noticing its Institute for Global Citizenship. What is "global citizenship" anyway? According to a Macalester student, it's "universal universalism." Huh?
Should sustainability be a "defining feature" of higher education? I examine the sustaina-zeal at Penn State U in a recent NAS.org article. It sounds as if sustainabullies are ready to invade every aspect of the university. Some takeaways: