Academics around the world face threats to their security and freedom. What drives universities to respond or ignore pleas for solidarity with academics under threat within this broader context? Many top-ranked universities have published statements expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter and their commitments to climate justice. However, in both cases, calls for solidarity based on decades of scholarship did not result in the same universities publicly expressing solidarity, which raises questions about whether scholarship matters to how what, why and when universities mobilize knowledge related to public issues. This presentation will focus on how top-ranked institutions engage with public issues that call for solidarity. I argue that the rise of mediatized rankings and statements of institutional solidarity are interrelated and grounded in intersecting trends, including marketization and mediatization of education. I end my presentation by examining the pertinence and contributions of cooperatively governed networks of scholars and activists in developing solidarity informed by scholarship that challenges academic capitalism
Michelle Stack is Associate Professor at the Department of Educational Studies of the University of British Colubmia at Vancouver Campus, Canada. She is the author ofGlobal University Ranking and the Mediatization of Higher Education, and she is editor of a second upcoming book on university rankings and journal impact factors. Michelle has led several courses and workshops focused on building the capacity of scholars and scholar-practitioners to engage media to expand policy debates. She has also led community engaged research using photovoice and video. Michelle is an associate professor in Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, winner of the 2017 Killam Award for Teaching, a public commentator on education and a former senior policy advisor. Her central research interest concerns how people, knowledge and institutions are categorized and the influence of these categorizations on our ability to grapple with “wicked problems” including inequity and climate change.