Times Higher Education Summit "World-Class Universities and the Public Good"By Beth Golden
The annual Times Higher Education's (THE) World Academic Summit in UC Berkeley brought together school administrators and education experts from all over the globe sharing ideas and strategies that universities can use for the benefit of their communities and the local population.
Experts and keynote speakers touched on subjects that concerns the importance and advantages of having a college degree and how it can benefit students and the impact of the rising costs of education and how the dwindling government support is affecting the quality of education and its output.
In his welcome speech, UC Berkeley's Chancellor Nicholas Dirks highlighted that individuals who holds a college degree are more likely to make a million dollars in their lifetime compared to their peers who has a high school diploma. In this respect, it simply says that the more you learn, the more you earn.
However, as former Labor Secretary, Robert Reich observed that public education is dying. Reich is currently the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the UC Berkeley and served as chief of the labor department from 1993-1997 under Pres. Bill Clinton. The continuing and rapid rise of tuition costs and diminishing support from the state is killing public education.
"Universities create jobs and support livelihoods far beyond their own walls," said Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. However, it is sad to note that in the U.S. support for public universities like Berkeley continue to dwindle, 46 states have been giving less to their universities since the crisis of 2008 and its affecting the schools.
American Association of Universities (AAU) president Mary Sue Coleman appealed for the continued support of public universities in her keynote speech noting that, "Public universities are the workhorses of American research and education." Making the case for the research contributions of public universities that have benefitted the public.
Coleman also quoted UC Berkeley's first chancellor, Clark Kerr. "As society goes, so goes the university," Coleman said. "But also as the university goes, so goes society."
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz also noted that universities and the work they do is not just for their own alone but for a global scale. It is the responsibility of the academe to help improve the lives of billions subsisting on less tolerable situations.
Chancellor Dirks closed the event with the following words, invoking the spirit of idealism and innovation that have always fueled the pursuit of higher education, "As I reflect on so much of I what heard and learned, I leave this summit with great hope and optimism for the future. I suspect that you, like me, come away from this gathering reinvigorated and better prepared to advance our cause and shared interests. And, among the primary reason for that confidence is another one of this summit's powerful takeaways: We are not alone. We are all in this together. We are, each of us, a part of something larger - a global community of educators, scholars and administrators."