Friday, May 13, 2011

A university selling its soul

I'll get back to physics shortly.  These two articles (here and here) explain how, in exchange for $1.5M in donations, the Florida State economics department agreed to give the donors veto power over faculty hiring for the donor-supported positions.  Moreover, the donors can withdraw the positions if they aren't happy with annual performance reviews of the professors.  Wow.  I know times are tight, but FSU has clearly decided that they're up for bid.  I don't care whether the donors are right-wing or left-wing (hint:  they're right wing) or centerist - a university that allows donors direct control over faculty hiring and evaluation is out of its mind.  Gee, you think those professors are going to be free to do whatever research they want?  Do you think there's going to be pressure on all of the faculty within the department to toe the line rather than risk angering the donors?  What a mess.  Well, at least it confirms that Texas doesn't have a monopoly on idiocy.

Update:  blogger ate this post, and I had to reconstitute it from the cached version on bing (google blew this one all the way around).  Clearly the Koch brothers are responsible :-)

4 comments:

Heumpje said...

These two bits are really quite painful:

"The Kochs find, as I do, that a lot of regulation is actually detrimental and they're convinced markets work relatively well when left alone," he said.

...

"Students will ultimately choose," he said. "If you believe strongly in something, you believe it can win the debate."


Apparently, opinions are really enough to do "science" in economics. So Mr. Koch believes government regulation is bad and then hires faculty staff to promote this idea as scientific truth, all on the premise that it is good for the students to have more opnions to choose from.
True, I am reading this physics blog for a reason, I am a physicist, but this smacks of quackery to me.

PJW said...

Before Blogger ate you post it pushed in onto the rss feed. When I tried to follow the link on the 11th all of Blogger was down.

Anonymous said...

All for 1.5 mil? I mean, if you are going to sell yourself at least aim high...

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