Academic Leader Urges Congress to Invest in Higher Education

Katherine Wolfe

The stimulus bill is not going to be enough to fix all higher education woes, wrote Gary Rhoades, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, in an open letter to Congress and the president Wednesday. 

According to Rhoades, higher education is in need of a complete overhaul and the government’s continued investment.

"Mr. President, and members of Congress, you have the choice to either touch the future or to torch it, to open the door of opportunity or to slam it shut, to lay a solid foundation or to leave us with little basis for future growth," he wrote. "I hope you choose the path that has led to this nation’s greatness, a path not of cutting, but of building, a path not of saying ‘No, we can’t,’ but of saying ‘Yes, we can.’"

He also urged the nation’s universities to stop trying to "move up" in rankings and to start seeking how they can better engage and serve students and communities.

"I think we need a moratorium on "US News & World Report" rankings," he wrote. "We need to set aside these childish things. We need to focus more on what matters most. The ranking race drives institutions to spend money on various areas other than instruction and intellectual capital, to attract students."

The University of Minnesota is on a quest to become a top three research university.