“Language is very important, and we need to be very careful about the language we use,” said Kevin Hovland, a senior director with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “How do we reframe the conversation about technology not so much as a threat but as an opportunity, at the same time recognizing that there are real threat elements, and that those concerns are legitimate vis-à-vis the changes of higher education and faculty roles in that?”
“Reframing the Conversation,” Carl Straumsheim
This is the sort of thing that drives me batty. The Republicans have become a reactionary, hateful party, so they decide that they need to “speak differently.” They don’t need to become less hateful and reactionary, they just need to find a way to talk about hateful, reactionary ideas in a way that appeals to more people. They are not really clueless racists, they just sound like it. See Ran Paul’s recent speech at Howard University.
This plain speaking thing always has limits. It’s fine to talk about unmaking the university and resistance to technology and the like but it is not proper to summarize our recent history as the dismantling of a profession by an administrative culture more interested in mimicking what they feel are ‘best-practices’ in business (never mind that these practices crashed the world economy). That, it seems, cannot be unmade.
Cathy Trower of Harvard, the writer notes, wants “to end the divisiveness between faculty on and off the tenure track.” I suspect that there is so much talk about technological change because it lends itself to a kind of naturalization. Technology changes the way the weather changes; there’s no person or group to blame. Mentioning he real historical agents–administrators and their administrative policies–that’s being divisive.