Friday, February 18, 2011

Higher Education Finally Getting The Closer Look It Merits?

I knew that college costs were rising, but I didn't know they were rising this much:

Nationally the price of college tuition increased more than 274 percent from 1990 to 2009 -- roughly four times the rate of inflation. That's even more than the brutal rise in health costs that has touched off a near-crisis in that field.

How might higher education problems be addressed? Here are some ideas out of Utah:

Some of the rumblings are already shaking the Utah Legislature this session:

• Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, inveighed against state funding for impractical "degrees to nowhere," and wants more emphasis on math, science and technology tracks.

• Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, introduced HB 485 to ban the granting of tenure to professors at state colleges and universities. Critics have long said that tenure deprives some professors of motivation and responsibility.

• Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Odgen, is backing SJR 9, which would amend the state constitution to give the governor control over both public schools and higher education. That could be seen as expressing general frustration with Utah's academic establishment.

Degrees to nowhere. What could they possibly mean by that? Certainly not Aggrieved Victim Studies degrees. No, definitely not.


MikeAT said...


Just one thing I noticed on you post. Everyone actually working to fix this problem has a R behind their name, not a D.

Do I detect a pattern here?

socalmike said...

Even though I"m not a big fan of tenure (it certainly should be given to pre-college teachers), remember that in order to acquire and maintain tenure, professors must publish regularly. My master's advisor at CSUFullerton told me that they must publish 3 times within 6 years - basically once every two years. The problem, of course, is that some of them (not all) put a lot of time and effort into their research and not into their teaching. The UC system is notorious for bad teaching (I have some bad memories from UCRiverside - long story), and I'm sure others can give horror stories as well.

So, if a college prof can teach well and still publish (as my masters advisor and many others in that particular dept at CSUFullerton), I guess I don't have a problem with it.

But not in pre-college.

socalmike said...

Correction to my earlier post - tenure should NOT be given to pre-college teachers - there was a contradiction in my comment. Sorry, it's been a long day.