Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penn. State Priorities

The Penn. State scandal grabs my attention not only because I am a PA taxpayer, but also because of my disgust at the widespread corruption and incompetence in American higher education.  As I've said before I am very much in favor of the mission of academia and against the attacks from the outside, but that does not excuse it's culture and behavior.

Anyway two unrelated items caught my eye yesterday that together bring into sharp focus that the priorities of PSU.  First, this comment from a student  the head of the university's alumni association chapter in London on CNN on the NCAA sanctions against the football program,
By essentially taking away the main pillar of the university, you are almost pulling the university down," former student Ujas Patel told CNN. What really hurts, he said, is taking wins away from Paterno, known affectionately by fans as "JoePa."
Really, football is the main pillar of a large research university?  Maybe it's true, because I had this in my inbox from the Mineralogical Society of America's listserv:

I am looking for an EPMA facility preferably near southwestern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), that is used to dealing with geologic materials.  In the past my company has used the facility at Penn State University, but that is no  longer possible as they no longer provide this service.
Yep, a large research institute apparently doesn't has the staff and or resources to provide availability to their analytical equipment.  Guess what, contract work like that can make such labs self-sufficient and able to afford scheduled maintenance, as well as pay for research on unfunded projects.  The latter is particularly important because NSF grants are very difficult to get.

Fight on Nittany Lions, fight on Ivory Tower. You've met your the mirror.

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