Do you get the feeling we are on the verge of major changes in the United States? Our economy has reached at least the second worst point in its history, our two-party political system seems to need overhauling, public funds for running a massive nation are drying up with no promise of replenishment all while our infrastructure is crumbling, our education system is no longer the envy of the world and our healthcare system is perhaps the worst in terms of cost-effectiveness.
In my opinion, one thing needed is a rededication of institutions of higher education to the role of major resource in the communities in which they exist. The Morrill Act of 1862 created the original 106 land grant colleges, of which the University of Tennessee is one. I believe we need a new act stating that these and perhaps other institutions should be primarily focused on the betterment of the region and state, to provide knowledge in areas beyond just agriculture, to include social, psychological, nutritional, financial and other areas of practical understanding. As they currently exist, these institutions are too often considered irrelevant to the everyday problems that exist around them and for good reason, they often are.
Perhaps no universities are in a better situation to take on this assignment than ones with a regional mission such at the University of Tennessee – Martin.