By Wendy Conklin
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The stories today give us déjà vu, yet they are perhaps more compelling since our relationships with international colleagues are so much stronger twenty years after the “bubble memory” incident. These recent anonymous examples (from among many) illustrate the burden immigration problems are putting on universities: ◆ Dr. B has been coming to TechU for visits of varying lengths since 1993 as a guest of a faculty member and in conjunction with a large international project. Dr. B is a member of the Russian Academy of Science as well as the European Academy of Science, and is chair of a large department in a top Russian university.
Coping mechanisms may not always work or may come at an unacceptable price (for example, the emotions may have a mind of their own, defying attempts to manage them; constant vigilance can produce fatigue, reducing both performance and quality of life). 1 The institutional resources for risk management parallel those employed by individuals, and are subject to analogous limitations. Institutions arise to overcome individuals’ limitations. However, their design and execution rely on individuals, with unruly emotions, mixed motives, intellectual blinders, misplaced commitments, agency issues, and the like.
That image might reflect convention (what we have always said), parochialism (what we specialize in), strategy (what we would like the public to believe), or prejudice (what we believe about the public’s knowledge and capacity). When the image is wrong, communications fail the public in the short run by denying them the information needed for effective decisionmaking (for example, ill-advised surgeries, insufficient attention to land-use practices that create waterborne parasite risks). Over the longer run, poor choices can undermine respect for the public.