Department of English

"After the Devolution: Notes on Rebuilding the Public University"

Fri, December 7, 2012 | GEB 3.312

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Christopher Newfield, Professor of English at the University of California - Santa Barbara will give a talk on "After the Devolution: Notes on Rebuilding the Public University" on Dec. 7, 2012 from 12-1:30 pm in GEB 3.312.

According to Newfield, public university officials all over the country are locked in a fatal embrace with their states' political and business leaders. These officials have a small set of solutions that they use repeatedly to deal with continuous funding and confidence declines. Unfortunately, all of their solutions make the problem worse.  Newfield's paper will describe the devolutionary cycle that universities have created in which individually rational decisions add up to mutually-reinforcing disaster.  It will then propose ways of breaking the spell of a failed paradigm, paying particular attention to the reconstruction of the meaning of the humanities disciplines.

Christopher Newfield teaches literature, theory, and American Studies in the English Department at UC Santa Barbara. His books include Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke, 2003), and  Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard, 2008). He is the author of recent articles on solar energy policy and collaboration in nanoscience.  He blogs on higher education funding and policy at  Remaking the University  (, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is completing a book called Lower Education: What to do about our Downsized Future.

Bookmark and Share