Page 43 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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of tactical objectives. There’s always a set of tasks and chores to tend to. But when the tasks drive the mission instead of the other way around, that’s when the institution loses its way. And sadly, that’s too often been the case with higher education and networked computing.
But in our response to COVID-19, we can’t put off thinking about our values in the context of surviving the current crisis. We are forced to act fast. So what were “academic” or “philosophical” questions raised by pesky people in the meeting room have suddenly — in the time it took for the novel coronavirus to cross over into our regions — become critical and time-sensitive value decisions that profoundly shape our everyday lives in the arena of teaching and learning.
I think about higher education as representing certain values, not just because we are in a position to do so given our privileged stations in an academic world, but because of our obligation to live up to those privileges; our obligation to society.
CT: What are some of those values? Campbell: Higher education has always stood
for certain values that I think are very important: Integrity is at the top of the list, along with truthfulness; openness; rigor; care; diligence; and an attempt to make the work we do as error-free, as thoughtful, as honest and as authentic as we can.
We can get into endless debates about any or all of those words, but I think that most academics would agree with that notion of integrity topping the list. In higher education we hope to share a kind of unity of purpose and approach — a type of honesty and transparency about the work that we do.
That’s what peer review is about; that’s what being in a college is about, where faculty all work together — sometimes at odds with each other, to be sure, but also capable of coming together to produce a whole that’s greater than the sum of the parts.
We are always concerned that the work that we do should not be cheap, it should not be disposable, and in some way, it should add something beneficial to civilization. It should contribute to equitable opportunities for human flourishing.
CT: And so, by keeping integrity at the
“Especially as we rely on internet technologies in times of crisis, we need to focus on values.” — Gardner Campbell

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