In an upcoming post on his blog that is tentatively titled “Full Moon Setting,” James C. Garland, president emeritus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, reaches for the album-oriented rock catalog (his title is a riff on the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, “Bad Moon Rising”).
The song’s lyrics seemed apt, he said. “I hear hurricanes a-blowing/I know the end is coming soon/I fear rivers overflowing/I hear the voice of rage and ruin.”
“The metaphor in higher education is that the bad moon is rising,” Garland told Inside Higher Ed. “You’re hearing the voices of rage and ruin. It comes from unhappy faculty who want to form unions to protect themselves, declining standards, students who aren’t willing to work, the corporatization of the university and the general sense that things are getting worse.”
Garland’s larger argument is actually more philosophical (and, he said, influenced by his wife's t'ai chi teacher) -- that those in higher education should seek to gracefully manage change rather than pine for a bygone era. “You’ve got to realize that full moons aren’t forever, that the moon rises and sets,” he said. “That’s just in the nature of things. That seems to be what's happening, particularly to public higher education.”