Thursday, March 19, 2009

Changes Needed In Public University Education

The New York Times ran a great article today on state university education, focusing on Arizona State University. Here's a great quote from it, which kind of captures my feelings on how many public universities have lost their way:

“Universities aspire to prestige, and that is achieved by increasing selectivity, getting a research mission and having faculty do as little teaching as possible, not by teaching and learning, and taking students from Point A to Point B.” - Jane Wellman, executive director of the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability, an organization that studies spending by colleges and universities.

According to Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of California, "Your first obligation as a public university is to treat the undergraduates right. That’s going to need a national attitude adjustment from leadership and boards of regents.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow is in need of some of that attitude adjustment. ASU recruits National Merit Scholars nationwide with a four-year $90,000 scholarship, a package so generous that Arizona State enrolls 600 National Merit Scholars, more than Yale or Stanford. Through the cuts, Crow has kept that program, even while proposing to cut a scholarship for Arizona residents with high scores on state tests. Fortunately , the state's board of regents turned that proposal down.

It's time to focus on the public in public university education.


At March 24, 2009, Blogger Burgher Jon said...

It's an interesting balance. I think there do need to be some catch-alls for students who want to persue post-secondary education but don't have the grades/scores for it. I wonder if that catch all isn't the community college system though, not the state universities. Just a thought.


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