an exercise in exploring complexity and tension

Reflection

I think the tensions are between understanding a complex capitalist system, participating within that system and also the idea that everyone can be an agent of “change” or “positively affect that world”. When the system has a perpetuated culture of systematic oppression and stakeholders who perpetuate the structures of power within that system.

This data set includes many aspects that compliment or support each other. The mission of educating “good citizens” and serving the public good, corresponds with daily work of educating students by engaging them with partners in developing competencies. However, the issues highlighted within the context sections do pose a threat to the ability we have to achieve the mission.

I keep reloading and looking at the “daily work,” which seems here almost exclusively described as the work of faculty/admin/staff. That’s because of who’s here, of course — but what of the “daily work” of students? Or, for that matter, of food service workers? (They will be preparing our lunch for today…)

Daily work: Focusing on “basic needs” but also needing to be “cutting edge” and innovative. Faculty resistance to change and being innovative. Competing with other institutions for a shrinking pool of students.
Context: Rising costs, first gen, students, the image of “party school” when trying to attract students to campus.

Tension in our daily work. We need to walk the talk. Advertising the great things we do is great, indeed, but we need to actually have space to do authentically great things. The lives of the faculty matter. Most of us didn’t come come into academia thinking we would be ‘recruiters’. Instead, we are following our own passions and find value in sharing the pursuit of those passions with the next generation. The university should be a family in which students take comfort and find their own path. We need to leave space for that evolutionary experience to occur for students, faculty, and staff.

Innovative teaching (and change from the student as consumer of information model) requires institutional support ($$) and this is in tension with the context of shrinking pools of money allocated by the state.

A tension exists between the fact of being a single institution with significant constraints and the need to broaden our audience, appeal, and service. As we reach out for broader sources of support, we struggle not to be spread so thin that we support nobody. (No surprise, for instance, that the students we struggle most to retain are students from places very different from rural NH.)

In Mission, tensions exist between individual student growth and enrichment and students’ need to contribute to the community and wider world.

We are attempting to give students competitive educational experiences while state financial support shrinks.

CONTEXT: We are trying to serve a wider pool of applicants, many of whom are coming from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds. At the same time, we are facing increasing operating costs and shrinking support from the state. So while we are opening our doors to students who need more support (students we SHOULD serve, as a “public” uni), we are receiving less money to support them.