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Pollster Ken Goldstein Shares His Take on Perceptions of Higher Ed on The UW Now Livestream

Political scientist Ken Goldstein discusses how highly Americans regard higher education.

Ken Goldstein is an expert in survey methodology, news coverage, and political advertising. A former political science professor at the UW, he won the Kellet Award and the Chancellor’s Award for his research and teaching excellence. His polling work and election-night coverage spans from 1988 to the present. Now the senior vice president for survey research and institutional policy for the Association of American Universities, Goldstein has valuable insight to share regarding Americans’ views of higher education.

What is your chief area of expertise? 

My chief area of expertise is I’m a nerd. I’m a political scientist who’s worked in politics, the news media, and universities with particular interest and expertise in empirical political science. [I’ve also] spent a lot of time in my career doing work about political advertising, which is something I did a lot of when I was at the UW [with] the Wisconsin Advertising Project. The work that I do in the news media is both polling work and decision teamwork on election night — calling races — which I’ve done for many, many years.

What will you discuss on the livestream? 

What we’re going to be discussing on the livestream is how Americans perceive colleges and universities and higher education in general and how they perceive institutions like the University of Wisconsin, which have multiple missions in research, service, and teaching. [We’ll also discuss] how they perceive the University of Wisconsin in particular.

What’s one takeaway you’d like to leave with viewers?

There’s a lot of noise out there about universities. And the noise can seem deafening. But there’s always been noise. You have to remember that. Even if nobody is ever 100 percent satisfied with what a university says or does, there’s still a great appreciation that, at the end of the day, this country is much better off because we have world-class universities. And the state of Wisconsin is much better off because it has a world-class university [in] the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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