Author Archives: Michael Gossett

Higher Education Post-COVID (Jacobin)

To accompany our reading this week from Steve Brier and Michael Fabricant, I thought I’d share a snippet of this short Jacobin article on austerity, the COVID-19 crisis, and the current and future infrastructure of higher education.

“Crises, Naomi Klein reminds us, are periods of undoing, as society’s key institutions shutter and collapse. But they can also be moments of redoing, as new structures emerge from the rubble…

How our universities get remade in the wake of a global pandemic is a matter of crucial public significance, fundamentally entrenched in questions of power, redistribution, and democracy. It should not be relegated to technocratic engineering and management. Now is a time to advance far-reaching egalitarian programs, to align our universities with crucial public needs rather than market conceits. The future of our universities will be shaped by the movements that rise up to fight for them.

In the coming weeks, the calls to resuscitate our collapsing higher education institutions should be evaluated according to three fundamental values that ought to underpin institutions of higher learning: How can COVID-19 responses deepen and expand democracy on campuses? Will matters of crucial public significance be collectively determined, or swept under the auspices of technocratic decision-makers? How will future access to resources — financial, instructional, material — be equitably distributed in universities? How will we govern and organize ourselves — both within and across institutions — to foster solidarity, rather than division and zero-sum competition?

The answers to these questions rest on the social struggles and organizing that occur in the coming weeks. As the COVID-19 conversation moves from crisis to recovery, we need to both resist austerity on our campuses and fundamentally reimagine how they operate and whose interests they serve. Simply returning to normal won’t be good enough.​”

Web Archiving + Intervention project

Over the next six weeks I’ll be taking an Introduction to Web Archiving course through the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s iSchool, and I thought I’d offer to “bend” my weekly assignments in that class toward our intervention project in whatever way is useful to us. For the week of March 16, for instance, we’re being asking to add seeds to Archive-It and to do some test crawls, and to draft a collections policy of some sort. As the readings and details for the assignments open up, I’ll do my best to bring relevant things back to our group so we can think about if/when/how we want to start archiving web materials relevant to CUNY and what it would mean to have a collections policy that informs the scope of that work.

I also thought I’d ask for your thoughts on how our intervention might align with and go in a different direction from the conversation being had in this Twitter thread re: collecting universities’ emergency announcement pages related to COVID-19.