The role of unresponsive governance structures in the crisis at the University of Missouri

Although not the only institution struggling with racial climate on campus, the University of Missouri has become ground zero for the fight to improve the experience of marginalized and underrepresented minority students on campus. Student protests including interrupting the Homecoming parade and a hunger strike by higher education graduate student Jonathan Butler came to a climax when the Mizzou football team announced they would not play or practice until the University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned. Shortly and perhaps unsurprisingly with athletics taking the protests a more national stage, Wolfe resigned as well as Missouri-Columbia Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. There are many different opinions on how the administrators, students, media, and faculty involved in the crisis have handled themselves. However, what seems clear to me is the role of unresponsive governance structures in the crisis at the University of Missouri.

Photo credit: Associated Press

The list of demands put forward by Concerned Student 1950 (the student protest group named after the year black students were first admitted to UM) is fundamentally a list of governance demands. The removal of President Wolfe, curricular changes to include racial awareness and inclusion, increase the percentage of black faculty and staff, a new strategic plan, and support for social justice centers on campus are all demands to change the governance and culture of campus.

The marginalization of students and faculty generally in shared governance and black students and faculty in particular only escalates problems with unresponsive governance structures.

Cities, geography, and universities: Need for research

Throughout history, the world’s great cities have been hubs of innovation and creativity. From the earliest communities through modern day, cities have been built by and for a great variety of societies. Additionally, universities prove to be inherently stable organizations even during times of economic downturn. This stability makes universities useful institutions around which to develop economic strategies; city leaders can rely on the financial steadiness of universities even during poor economic situations (Goddard et al., 2014). Future research can help the field better understand the various ways large metropolitan cities and universities interact as mitigated by history, context, and culture. This information will not only improve practice and policy, but also expand the understanding of the role of universities in supporting the social and economic development of cities.

Photo credit: Queens College

Higher education policy is inherently jurisdictional.

Cities and higher education

In today’s post, I want to share part of a paper that I am presenting today with some colleagues at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.  I believe that one of the most pressing areas for future research is cities and higher education.

Using Google Scholar for finding research

One of the biggest challenges for students is how to find good scholarly research. I have spoken with several of my doctoral students about this recently. Although the availability of electronic library resources are much better than in the past, I still find using library databases cumbersome and clunky. Instead, I recommend using Google School for finding research.

I want my students using empirical research to support their arguments when writing papers. However, I don’t want them to waste a lot of time trying to find research articles and books.