1. The concept of "innovation" has become a privileged idea in higher education, but its historical meanings and consequences have not been adequately studied.
2. The term STEM has emerged as the paradigmatic term to frame the value of disciplinary and interdisciplinary pursuits which consciously excludes liberal arts and humanistic studies.
3. Purdue University's administration under Mitch Daniels has engaged in a public "culture wars" style condemnation of how the humanities are taught at Purdue and other universities, calling for a conservative return to older narratives of historiography and canonicity.
The article "The Crisis of Higher Education: Neoliberalism and the Privileging of “Innovation” in The Twenty-First Century" discusses the concept of innovation in higher education and its impact on liberal arts education. The author argues that the term "innovation" has become a decontested concept in higher education, celebrated without question by many university presidents to rationalize radical changes in the delivery and content of education and research. However, the author suggests that the concept of innovation has been inadequately studied in terms of its historical meanings and consequences.
The article highlights how the term STEM has become a paradigmatic term to frame the value of disciplinary and interdisciplinary pursuits which consciously excludes liberal arts and humanistic studies. The author argues that this shift occurred as part of the larger trend toward the 'economization' of science and technology. The article also notes how some politicians have mocked liberal arts majors, leading to a marginalization of some valuable talent.
The article then discusses how innovation has shaped Purdue University through a two-pronged approach under former Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. On one hand, innovation has been connected to neoliberalism, with private sector gaining increasing access to land, buildings, and service contracts at Indiana’s Land Grant Public University. On the other hand, innovation has had a backward-leaning dimension, with Daniels engaging in public “culture wars” style condemnation of how humanities are taught at Purdue and other universities.
Overall, while the article provides an interesting perspective on how innovation is shaping higher education, it is biased towards liberal arts education. The author presents only one side of the argument while ignoring potential benefits that STEM education can bring to students. Additionally, there is no evidence presented for claims made about neoliberalism or culture wars at Purdue University. Furthermore, while there is some discussion about potential risks associated with privileging innovation over contemplation in higher education, there is no exploration of counterarguments or alternative perspectives.