Reclaiming Lost Ground: Creating Academic Coalitions

Rita Pougiales, Evergreen State College (2008)

Academics, though, are finding it much more difficult to keep key educational priorities in place and are experiencing formidable pressures to disrupt the balance between educational and market values. For example, higher education institutions, particularly public institutions, are required to adopt academic standards drawn directly from industry- measures of productivity and efficiency.

Academics must build coalitions within and between colleagues at our respective colleges that are grounded in what makes academics so distinctive – rigorous and inquisitive thinkers whose commitment is to education, scholarship and the public good. Academics must also go public – expressing ourselves in public forums and media, and participating as academics in community, cultural and governmental projects.

Interdisciplinary studies promises to offer a significant change in what and how faculty members teach and how students learn. Collegial groups of academics who seek to create “publics” as a way to transcend the intellectual as well as organizational constraints of academic disciplines are a public force of inquisitiveness, intellectual rigor, and the skills to pursue meaningful and complex ideas.