Dr. Lisa Levenstein (Women’s and Gender Studies) received new funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council for the project “Collegeland: A Podcast Featuring Untold Stories from Higher Education.”
“Collegeland: A Podcast Featuring Untold Stories from Higher Education” invites listeners to use the lens of the humanities to reflect in a creative and enjoyable way on the value of higher education in the United States and the relationship between campuses and the public. The US system of higher education is known throughout the world for its high quality and relative accessibility.
The UNC System is one of the best examples of this achievement: its campuses reach across the state to both rural and urban communities and offer education, jobs, social services, stimulating programming, and business opportunities to a host of North Carolina residents, greatly enriching economic and cultural life. Yet higher education has been threatened by budget cuts and austerity measures of the past decades – trends that have only accelerated under the COVID-19 pandemic. Accompanying the cuts has been a campaign, well-funded by rightwing think tanks, to undermine the public’s faith in higher education as a public good. While many supporters of higher education have tried to push back against the critics, too much of this discourse takes an individualistic and narrowly economic approach, relying on statistics about graduation rates, students’ projected salaries, and burgeoning costs of tuition. “Collegeland”offers dynamic storytelling and commentary in order to raise deeper questions about personal and collective value.