This week we attended the Association of American Universities’ annual conference of the Public Affairs Network. This group, which includes the leaders of communications and public affairs from 62 leading research universities, frequently discusses the best ways to communicate about university research and higher education more broadly.
The dialogue is particularly urgent this year in light of recent attacks on science, efforts to close off international exchange, and proposals to sharply cut federal funding for agencies that support science and medical research.
Lisa and I wrote an essay together following the conference, and it is published in Inside Higher Ed today. Our hope is that we will see the current climate as a call to action to marshal our best arguments and our most effective allies, in business and in public life, to make the strongest possible case for public investment in research.
This film should spark an interesting debate about the threat to public universities, and what to do about it. Public universities make key contributions that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Just for starters, they educate huge numbers of students compared with private institutions. Although most colleges and universities embrace a public mission in some fashion, these schools are uniquely dedicated to the wellbeing of their cities, states, region and the nation. Leaders across higher education–both public and private–are deeply concerned about the erosion in public investment and assaults on the mission of these very important institutions.
More information about the film, including the video trailer, can be found here. The film’s website also includes a thorough repository of relevant articles, documents and research on this topic.