A friend of mine on facebook was angry about cuts in state funding to the University of Wisconsin. I posted this in response. For some people, more money is the only answer; accountability for how that money is being spent and what it is buying never enters into it. More, more more! is the only thing they think about:
A lot of people have lost faith that their money is being spent wisely by public universities.
has been written in recent years about the bloat in administration in
colleges and universities. What used to be done by committees of
faculty, now is
being done by full time administrators. There are lots of new
administrators, deans, coordinators, all with staff, but with little
educational value. From 1993 to 2007 the number of administrators at
UW-Madison went up 32% (on a per-student basis), while the number of instruction and research
employees went up only 5%--this in a period when enrollment went up
about 4% and tuition literally doubled ( http://www.immagic.com/.../GENERAL/GLDWTRUS/G100817G.pdf ).
addition, ridiculous amenities, things like University of North
Florida's lazy river, make a lot of news, and make people wonder about
how good all those administrators are at spending the money they are
the same time, the student loan scam is finally beginning to bite.
Taking out massive loans to study things that won't help you get a job
and *pay* for your loans is finally being recognized as a bad idea.
(Yes, education for education's sake is a lovely thought, but not if it
means going into tens of thousands of dollars of inescapable debt to do
it.) More and more press is being given to the people paying off loans
all of their lives, preventing them from getting married, buying houses,
and having kids. People are beginning the long process of reevaluation
of just what all the loan money, tuition money, and tax money is buying.
add in the problem of part-time instructors who are brought in on a
contract basis to do much of the teaching. They get hired or not hired
based substantially on student evaluations--which means the easiest
graders usually win out. A tough teacher who doesn't give all A's gets
booted. Fun for the individual students who get to spend more time
waiting in line at the keg or at the tricked-out rec center, but in the
long run bad for the universities whose whole reason for being is to
actually educate--not give out A's. Studies showing college and
university students are paying much more, while studying substantially
less don't help either. The value of the education students are getting
is under more and more scrutiny.
universities preference for out-of-state and international students,
who pay more in tuition, is also pissing off the tax-paying public in
many states. Here in Cal., the UC system had to come out publicly this
year and say that the number of in-state students would be held
constant--because more and more parents who pay taxes for 18 years are
pissed that their kids can't get in.
public universities want increased dollars, then they need to think
about how they can restore the faith of the people of their states--the
people who elect the representatives who vote on things like giving them
I'd suggest that they start by streamlining the administration, and refocusing tightly on providing useful education.