Slogans instead of Substantive Institutional Change

ACADEME BLOG

In an opinion piece published several days ago in the Wall Street Journal, Harvey J. Graff, an English professor at Ohio State University has, in essence, provided readers with “An Education in Sloganeering” in the process of delineating why the university is a case “study in institutional puffery.”

Here are the first few paragraphs of the piece:

“Universities have always engaged in relentless self-promotion. But the relationship between rhetoric and reality has become ever more tenuous, and the line separating honest aspiration from fabrication fainter.

“The Ohio State University, where I teach, is a particularly dramatic example of this devolution. Not that it is alone-since its claims to uniqueness are based on imitating others.

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the university’s slogan, “Do Something Big,” morphed into “Do Something Great.” The urging of the former was deemed too ambiguous.

“’VISion 2020: Access, affordability and excellence’ is the…

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