Wandering Eye: Why Kevin Plank's donation is what's wrong with higher ed, 'Speaking While Female,' and more

A University of Maryland alumnus says Kevin Plank’s $25 million gift to his alma mater—and what the school is doing with it—exemplifies what's wrong with higher education. "The 'New Cole Field House' has little to do with academics and everything to do with competition and money," Kevin R. McClure writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Underwritten in part by the Under Armour founder's generous gift, the new building looks to be shaping up as both a center of sports excess (which is certainly unsurprising) and the kind of razzle-dazzle, quick-buck "wealth creation" culture heretofore more likely to be found in the ballroom of a beltway Best Western. "The new building will host the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which the provost established in 2013 to 'infuse the university with a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across all colleges and curriculum,'" McClure writes disapprovingly. Taught mainly by adjuncts with real-world business experience, the academy will feature business-incubator spaces and a kind of "Shark Tank" vibe where "students compete against one another for cash and prizes that may one day translate into donations," McClure writes. "Many of the experiences do not grant credit and are part of a quasi-curriculum. Students learn to leverage institutional resources to create companies. Ideas are evaluated according to metrics like scalability and profitability." What could possibly go wrong? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Remington Village Green, also known as the Fox Street Garden, the community garden operating on vacant lots between 28th and 29th streets, is set to secure the land it cultivates. Baltimore's Board of Estimates is slated tomorrow to approve the transfer for one dollar of the four city-owned lots that comprise the garden to Baltimore Green Space, a land trust set up for such endeavors. Though the assessed value of the lots adds up to $5,600, one dollar was deemed fair given the garden’s public benefit, in keeping with the goals of the city's Cleaner Greener Initiative and its Office of Sustainability. (Van Smith)

 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's lean-in brand of "feminism" has had its share of critics for ignoring institutionalized discrimination against women. So we thought it interesting to see that an article in the New York Times, "Speaking While Female," which she co-wrote with Adam Grant, was squarely focused on internalized institutional sexism. They hone in on one particular issue—women not speaking up in the office—and cite a range of social-science studies that show how women's opinions and contributions at work are undervalued and undermined, leading them to stop speaking up. In typical Sandbergian fashion, it concludes that the best long-term solution is to "increase the number of women in leadership roles" (Sandberg seems to be a big fan of a trickle-down approach in her feminism), but there's also advice for men in the workplace to pay attention to how frequently they, or their male colleagues, are interrupting or undermining their female co-workers. (Anna Walsh)

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