Scholar Dollars Update

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  • There have been many studies that suggest that the business model of universities is on the brink of bursting. There are data suggesting that current programs when measured indicate the value of courses, when measured in many ways, are of little value. The thinking is that people won’t pay nor will employers hire on the basis of this new information. The net result, of course, is that the whole thing is going to crash, unless we can get in front of the curve.

    Peter McCurdy | January 24, 2011 | Reply

  • Maybe all the different actors in the university system need to re-think their approach to university, including government, the university faculty, leaders and students. Let’s begin with students, who are, as Bill implied, on the whole rather passive consumers of what is on offer. What if students were able to behave more like demanding clients? Demanding not only in classroom standards, but demanding about information they need to make sensible choices about their investment in their future. Then we could let funding follow students. One of the major advantages of Nova Scotia universities is a wealth of choice in program and institution. Let students vote with their feet, and take their funding with them. (They can even go on-line.) The Dean and the VP Academic will have to get creative about what to do with surplus faculty, who should be encouraged to become self-funding.
    Similarly, let any university that fails financially go under. Yes, it’s a shame, those beautiful buildings….I remember when I went there…., and so on. However, we have excess supply, and serious financial problems. I agree with Mr. O’Neil that the government mustn’t manage at that level, but they should make it clear there will be no rescue package.
    University governance works by consensus-making among faculty, unions and administration. The president has to placate faculty, the faculty have to act collegially, alumni tend to be guardians of the past. Nationally faculty unions rattle their sabres. This is all inimical to change. So government has to provide carrot and stick incentives. Tying money to change is a powerful lever for government to improve university outcomes.
    And back to students – take 3 or 4 courses, find part time work. Have more fun, borrow less and take the time to have a rounded university experience. The old 5 course model doesn’t serve you well any longer. You will graduate later, better off financially, and better prepared for the future. And demand that your university help with all that.

    michael hodgett | January 15, 2011 | Reply

  • So,we need to attract young people to the Universities. I get it. Then, they get here, stay,start families and get kicked off the bus by rude bus drivers who won’t let them on with their strollers. We are in trouble.

    Peggy | January 10, 2011 | Reply