Search This Blog

Friday, November 14, 2008

interesting articles

here are two articles that have been brought to my attention:
Ohio's Public Colleges Lure Businesses With the Promise of a Skilled Work Force
Could the Wrong Assessment Kill the Liberal Arts?

1 comment:

Diogenes said...

Hello Lawrence. Thank you for posting links to these two timely and provocative articles. I agree that all A&S faculty, students, staff and alumni should read them -- and especially Roundtable members. These articles both deal with familiar national and state trends involving assessment and its direct and indirect impacts on the liberal arts. However, neither article is particularly instructive about how we at UT might deal effectively with the TLA investigation at this point in time. For some solid instruction and needed inspiration I recommend this well-written article about higher education assessment

titled "Measuring the Unmeasurable." It is written by the esteemed and popular President of Johns Hopkins University. It offers clear insight into the poverty of thought and deliberate mischief involving expensive quantitative assessment and benchmarking taking place these days here at UT.

Here is a teaser from the Brody critique of higher education assessment that might motivate everyone to read it at length in preparation for the next TLA visit:

"Well, we are a business but we're not a business. We're a mission-driven organization, and in a mission-driven organization, no margin no mission. It's very simple. You have to figure out how to generate a margin so you can deliver the mission. Education, research, and service are all activities that intrinsically lose money. That's why gifts and endowment are critical to make up the shortfall. At the same time, it's incumbent on nonprofit organizations to make business decisions for business reasons and academic decisions for nonbusiness reasons. You shouldn't confuse the two. I mean, if we were a for-profit business, we would close two-thirds of our departments. But we have to operate as efficiently as everyone else does in our society. So to carry out our mission, we need to make sure that whatever dollars we use are employed in an efficient fashion, but not using business metrics."

Unfortunately, and contrary to the clear logic of Brody's arguments, TLA/Brady/Jacobs/Haggett "market-smart" strategic planning at UT seems intent on employing business metrics as rapidly as possible to justify its purge of A&S graduate-level liberal arts departments, their faculty and students.