EducationEssays

Graduate Education and Health Insurance

A fundamental challenge at the New School for Social Research

Last year, NSSR and the University Administration announced a new fellowship initiative for NSSR students. The plan consisted on full scholarships for Ph.D. students that included full tuition and a $20,000 yearly stipend for up to three to five years of study. Dean’s Fellowships were also maintained. The scholarships were rolled out this year: 23 students were recipient of the Prize Fellowship (tuition + stipend) and 12 students received the Dean’s Fellowship (tuition only). The new plan was funded by $1,000,000 given to NSSR by the University. According to my notes taken from various Dean’s Advisory Councils that I attended as a sociology student representative, by 2022, Ph.D. students will be reduced from 510 to 350. As of spring 2014, only 7% of Ph.D. students had full tuition

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EducationEssaysRaceRace/isms

How My Social Justice Failed My Family

I’ve never felt more helpless than when I heard my dad tell me that he was selling the house where I was raised. After using my student loans to help cover the overdue mortgage payments, we were still unable to stave off the inevitable. Facing the prospect of the bank foreclosing on the house, my father was forced to sell my childhood home. And despite my knowledge of the precarious position of middle and working class black people and the enduring nature of poverty, particularly in an area like the Mississippi Delta, I still feel like it’s at least partially my fault.

The sociologist in me says that divorce often plunges black families into poverty. My parents divorced in 2009. The sociologist in me says that the economic downturn disproportionately damaged black people. My dad lost his job soon after the divorce. …

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CapitalismEducationEssays

The Plight of Greek Higher Education

Greek higher education has been, for the past four years, under a double attack, both by crippling austerity-induced budget cuts and by an attempt to accelerate the imposition of aggressively neoliberal reforms towards an entrepreneurial model of higher education.

To understand the importance of these processes, we must take into consideration the role of higher education in Greece as a contested terrain of social struggles. For a long time one of the basic forms of upward social mobility, access to a public higher education was considered at the same time a basic social right and something worth fighting for, both individually and collectively. …

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CapitalismEducationEssays

Austerity and Higher Education

The case of the United Kingdom

University reform in the UK can be understood in light of the following dilemma: the system must expand if it is to meet the demand for skill in the labour market, but the more it expands the less it fulfills its other major function of reproducing social division.

This is crucial because the transformation of higher education being implemented under the rubric of austerity indicates that austerity is not in the first instance about cutting spending. The evidence of past austerity projects demonstrates that cuts are a means rather than the primary objective, which is social engineering. In the case of higher education, a coalition government has cut state funding for universities while raising fees, on the pretext of debt consolidation. However, the major effects will be firstly to reorganise the system along market lines, re-pivoting the relationship between the student and the institution as a consumer-enterprise one …

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EducationEssays

Between Ideals and Realities

An overview of the General Seminar on the legacies of the University in Exile

Last Wednesday, on February 26th, there was a special meeting of The New School for Social Research’s General Seminar, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the University in Exile. Three faculty members and three graduate students were asked to address a foundational question: “What is the meaning of The University in Exile for New School for Social Research of the future?” The answers they presented and the discussion that followed, it seems to me, present a unique opportunity to reflect upon not only the history and future of our specific institution of higher education and research. It also sets the stage for thinking about how universities, and specifically The New School with its special traditions, should address broad and pressing political, economic and social challenges of our times. As the University in Exile was an elegant response to the dark clouds over Europe in the 1933, thinking about its meaning for the future challenges us to respond in kind. …

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