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Ed Webb

Liberal Education after the Pandemic | AAUP - 1 views

  • The current massive and unanticipated experiment in online education could transform higher education as we know it. We should begin these difficult conversations about the future of the liberal arts now, in cyberspace, before the new normal takes shape—whenever that may be. Even if we feel trapped in our own homes and beset with anxiety and cabin fever, we also have an opportunity to reconsider the aims of higher education not in the abstract but in this concrete historical moment, with attention to specific institutional needs, public policy proposals, ideological pressures, and the overarching economic crisis.
  • A genuine commitment to ethical, historically aware, egalitarian, or democratic principles can land an individual in a world of trouble. I am thinking, for example, of the basic scientific literacy, historical awareness, and ethical commitment that equip an individual citizen to recognize the expertise of infectious disease specialists and reject the common sense of neighbors or the priorities and demands of an employer—or to spot the bogus claims, fundamental incompetence, or ethical depravity of some elected leaders. Such scientific literacy and basic familiarity with statistical analysis allow nonexperts to understand the arguments of climatologists and reject the sophistry of coworkers or talk show hosts or governors who point out, for example, that “the climate has always been changing.”
  • The reason that individual institutions cannot pitch such potential outcomes under ordinary circumstances is that these intellectual faculties serve the public good but do not necessarily advance the economic interests or career objectives of individual prospective or current students, especially those incurring significant debt. Being a whistleblower, for example, is generally a costly, painful career move—but the public needs to know nonetheless if the US military is shooting civilians in the streets of Baghdad; or the pharmaceutical industry is engineering a profitable opioid epidemic; or the health insurance industry is denying legitimate claims.
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  • just as the current crisis represents an opportunity for the people who have been working hard to privatize everything imaginable, dismantle public education, sink net neutrality, and align higher education with the demands of prospective employers and industry moguls (think here of the interventions of the Koch brothers in higher education, for example), it also represents an opportunity to push for the basic conditions under which a liberal education might properly serve its public functions. We should use these months to advocate for the kinds of public policies, such as tuition-free higher education, that recognize liberal education as a common good. We must articulate the reasons why a liberal education is in fact a common good and why a liberal education is disfigured if it is made to promote the demands of prospective employers.
  • We need a society capable of devising new and more humane social contracts, new political economies, new food and energy grids, and sustainable use of resources—whether or not these projects produce financial dividends for individual graduates or for their employers. An accessible, publicly funded liberal education decoupled from the demands of industry and prospective employers is the best way to prepare people to do these things.
  • we should use these months of confinement to strategize about a long-term case for liberal education and for public investment in an educated citizenry. Now is the time to invest some of our intellectual capital in education advocacy that ultimately makes a difference not only in the lives of students but also for the collective well-being of our nation and the world
Martin Burrett

Every Last Drop - 2 views

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    "A well designed water awareness site. Scroll down the page to reveal how the average person uses water everyday and ideas for reducing it."
Ben Rimes

Earth911.com - Find Recycling Centers and Learn How To Recycle - 8 views

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    Great site that lets you search for recycling centers and what they accept in your area. Also includes other resources and information about recycling, including problems that people can have when recycling.
Ruth Howard

Super Eco: This planet means the world to us. - 0 views

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    Social network for sustainability.
Ben W

Michigan, Ground Zero For Sustainability, Struggling To Develop Wind Power : TreeHugger - 0 views

  • while surrounded by water resources that are the envy of half the population of the US and many arid nations
    • Ben W
       
      Michigan may see a resurgance in vitality as water resources become increasingly taxed elsewhere (i.e. Atlanta). MI is a state mostly free from worry about weather calamities (no hurricanes, flooding happens, but hasn't been horrible, forest fires are rare, and mudslides are unheard of), and may become a "safe haven" in the future.
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    Describes MI's problems w/ adding serious wind power to the existing electrical grid. Calls for an improvement of transmission lines to be able to handle new energy sources.
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