Get Industry Out of Higher Education

I got my ENGINEERINGWV magazine which I usually throw away but this time the headline for a story talked to me. “DRILLING FOR ANSWERS: Marcellus Shale 101′ was beside a young gas company employee in a logo shirt taking serious notes behind some serious looking gas well piping. I had a sudden revelation–this is why WVU is controlled by coal and gas companies, too mention just two of the industrial puppeters. My solution–get industry clear out of education, teach the arts and sciences, teach students to think and then if the corporations want to train folks in industrial processes let them do it after graduation somewhere else. Of course this means the state would have to pay the bills to replace the bribery and control now provided by industry.  Dream on, huh?

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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