This week’s readings were very thought provoking and different from our previous readings focused on CUNY (though more like the Anthony Jack chapter). Harvard occupies such a large place in (inter)national notions of higher education that I wonder whether it makes sense to focus on issues of diversity and access at Harvard, decentering Harvard within the field of higher education, or both simultaneously? While I am critical of many of the logics behind diversity at Harvard, such as meritocracy, I think it’s vital to take into account what the right is doing there as it will have an impact beyond Harvard. 

3 thoughts on “Harvard

  1. Matt Brim

    Yes, we get stuck looking at Harvard as a model, and you rightly raise the question of whether we ought to do that. More broadly, if we want to think about progressive public higher education, how do we articulate our position to those influential model institutions that we don’t want to model CUNY after? Can we just look away?

  2. Katina Rogers (she/her)

    Right, this is a good question—is it most effective to get Harvard to lead by example so that others will follow, or to lead from “below”? What happens to prestige if other institutions refuse to engage in the game? How can we articulate a different set of positions and values, and have it be meaningful?

  3. Eve Bromberg (She/her/hers)

    Hi Lucien!

    I absolutely agree with your skepticism of being Harvard-centric, and I wonder (although maybe this is optimistic) if Harvard were less Harvard-like, if we’d speak about it less. Are we all just in awe that there’s a place of higher education that chugs on with the of the best in one place? Is our fascination with it some unrealized goal to be more perfect? I say that as someone who is very skeptical of the place and yet fascinated with it simultaneously. Its lore has made it such, I imagine some people forget it’s a place of learning where people have to take Introduction to Botany classes and get their hearts broken. It seems almost post-human. I wonder what you think about this. One of the most pressing priorities to critical Institution Studies, to me, is placing the human back into the untouchable Ivory Tower. Every student is a person first, right?

    Hoping to hear more of your thoughts tonight!

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