Thank Goodness Football Didn’t Suffer

National CrossTalk

is a publication of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Their summer issue features a story on Virginia’s university system and, in particular, the “charter university” bill that morphed into broader university management legislation during the 2005 General Assembly.

The set-up for the story is interesting. We’re lucky our state universities still exist because things were so bad before this legislation:

Virginia’s reputation as a nurturer of excellence in higher education teetered on collapse.

The despair expressed by education officials was notable. One college president described the state as delivering “grievous wounds” to the campuses. The director of the state’s Council on Higher Education departed his post, saying any more time on the job would amount to “cruel and unusual punishment.” A dean at the University of Virginia said the starving of public institutions represented “insane, ideological, odd thinking” in Richmond.

While this article is a useful discussion of the potential impact of the legislation and includes an interview with Gov. Warner, it is more noteworthy for what it says about the way the higher education establishment views the world.

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  1. Terry M. Avatar

    The article also fails to mention that in 2000 that state achieved funding at 60th percentile on faculty salaries (a state goal).

    It also does not mention anything about SCHEV’s role in developing the legislation.

    As with most reporting, it is something less than complete.

  2. I went to UVA during the budget cuts to higher education. I saw teachers leave, classes overfilled (way beyond what was normal) and students forced to stay extra because they couldn’t complete their majors (everything was filled up).

    People can mock this situation as unreal, but it was very real.

    That’s why groups like Virginia21 are able to find bipartisan support for higher education spending amongst the college crowd. That’s why many of their campus coordinators are staunch conservatives. People realized that if we let the Phil Rodokanarkis’ of the world run this state, we’d see a huge dip in quality of services.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    After reading the article, I was left with the impression that the greatest difference between each school within VA’s higher education system is the pot of gold known as the endowment.

    Clearly, certain schools in VA cater to, and go after, a specific socioeconomic segment of society. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be worried about having “Socioeconomic Diversity” that was discussed in a previous post.

    It is no coincidence that UVA has the largest endowment – they let the wealthiest individuals in – who ironically pay one of the lowest tuition rates in the Commonwealth.

    Only time will tell if colleges and universities in the Commonwealth will be able to meet the goals established by the General Assembly.

    One thing is for sure, if the folks who contribute to the endowments don’t like it then it will be history.

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