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Conference examines future of public higher education

March 14, 2012 By Rebecca Quigley

Public higher education has come under increasing scrutiny in the past year. Facing the paradox of being expected to produce an ever-more educated workforce for the 21st century with plummeting government support, public universities are struggling to adapt with the times.

As the University of Wisconsin–Madison celebrates the Year of the Wisconsin Idea, the university’s Department of Educational Policy Studies is holding its ninth annual conference, “The Public Interest and the Future of Public Higher Education in the 21st Century.”

The conference will take place from March 29-30 in the Education Building on Bascom Hill. Interim Chancellor David Ward will kick off the first day with his take on “The Public Interest in Today’s Public Higher Education.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), Division of International Studies, Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, PROFs, Wisconsin University Union, Office of the Chancellor, University Lecturers Committee, and Office of University Relations.

See below for additional presentation titles. A full schedule of events can be found here.

  • “What the Wisconsin Idea Should or Could Mean for Public Higher Education” — State Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine); Todd Berry (president, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance); Allie Gardner (chair, Associated Students of Madison); Sara Goldrick-Rab (UW-Madison Department of Educational Policy Studies);
  • “The Future of Academic Work in Public Universities” — Sheila Slaughter (University of Georgia); Richard Vedder (Ohio University);
  • “Unequal Access and the Missions of Public Flagships” — Harry Brighouse (UW-Madison Department of Philosophy);
  • “Revisiting Government Board Activism in the Public University” — Michael Bastedo (University of Michigan);
  • “The Narrowing of ‘Public Interest’: How Universities Became Economic Engines” -Elizabeth Popp Berman (State University of New York at Albany); and,
  • “The Future and the Challenges Faced by Public Higher Education” — Bettsey Barhorst (president, Madison College); William Tracy (former interim dean, UW–Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences); Kathy Cramer Walsh (UW-Madison Department of Political Science); Adam Gamoran (director, Wisconsin Center for Education Research).