After reading this SC Times news article, one paragraph jumped out at me.
Tucked into the fourth paragraph was this information:
But rising costs have upset some student advocates, who say students are unfairly bearing the budget burden.
Let’s run this crisis through the lens of free markets improving things. Student activists apparently think that the product they’re receiving isn’t worth the price that they’re paying. Whether that’s true or not isn’t my decision. That’s for the students, their parents and the university to debate and determine. As an outsider to that debate, I’d suggest that some of the things that must be decided upon are staffing levels for administrators, what degrees are offered and which degrees are better off eliminated entirely.
In the past, the legislature has simply increased funding without getting into a discussion of the business models used by MnSCU. That’s because they haven’t challenged the quality of MnSCU’s ‘leadership’. In the past, they’ve simply acquiesced when leadership personnel decisions were made.
In a private business’s model, people throughout a company’s leadership structure would debate the wisdom of the top management’s decisions and, if it’s required, to recommend course and personnel changes. Further, performance evaluations would be required to objectively measure performance. I remember writing about Chancellor Rosenstone’s performance review in this post:
Trustee Thomas Renier, who on Thursday was elected the new MnSCU board chairman, was part of the committee that evaluated Rosenstone. In the public summary of the evaluation, Renier said Rosenstone excelled at focusing on the key question of what’s best for MnSCU students. Renier also commended Rosenstone’s handling of a new strategic plan for MnSCU, “Charting the Future,” which calls for the system’s colleges and universities to work more collaboratively. “We are extraordinarily enthusiastic about the new and powerful ways in which our colleges and universities have begun to work together under Chancellor Rosenstone’s leadership,” Renier said.
This is what I noted earlier in the post:
It’s been a terrible year at Mankato, too. President Davenport fired head football coach Hoffner in 2013. This May, the Bureau of Mediation Services, aka BMS, ruled that Davenport wrongfully fired Hoffner. Then they ordered Hoffner be re-instated and that he be paid for the year he didn’t coach. The presidents at Metropolitan and Moorhead are ‘retiring’ effective June 30. If they hadn’t accepted retirement, they would’ve been terminated.
It should be noted that the then-outgoing MnSCU board chairman Clarence Hightower said this about Chancellor Rosenstone:
This has been a highly successful year for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities under the Chancellor’s leadership.
Literally millions of dollars were misspent on consultants in an attempt to prop up MnSCU’s image.
The point is that the MnSCU Board of Trustees did a worthless job of managing the management. Without a profit incentive, they have no reason to rock the boat. I encourage parents, students and other taxpayers to step forward and expose the inefficiencies found within MnSCU. Just to name a few inefficiencies expressed through LFR’s pages, there are too many administrators and not enough faculty. There isn’t a commitment to academic excellence, either.
It’s long past time for legislators to step forward and hold MnSCU accountable. It’s also time for citizens to hold legislators and MnSCU accountable. Finally, it’s time to start a discussion amongst ourselves on what We The People expect from our higher education system.
There is a better way to run higher education. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has supplied the model:
An ongoing tuition freeze, now aimed for its seventh and eighth years after getting the formal blessing Friday from Purdue University trustees, came as no surprise. Purdue President Mitch Daniels signaled that intention in February, in what has become an unclimactic expectation on the West Lafayette campus since the former governor arrived on campus in January 2013. A few dollars under $10,000 Purdue’s in-state tuition will stay for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
The increased enrollment is the direct result of President Daniels’ insistence that the school fit its budget into families’ budgets, not the other way around. What a revolutionary idea. As a direct result of Daniels’ high-quality decision-making, Purdue will have its third straight year of record-breaking enrollment.
Now that’s an alternative.