Monday, August 6, 2012
Okay, so the search continues for the Provost. Or, does it? I skipped the Scarborough presentation having seen him in action before the old Arts and Sciences Council. I did, however, go to the presentation of the very nice gentleman from UMBC.He was very proud of the record they had for excellent undergraduate teaching. This alone may disqualify him but let me continue. The three outside candidates all had similar qualities. They come from a science/engineering/medical background and have spent most of their time trying to recruit and retain very bright students. While that may be a problem for us, the much larger issue is retaining and graduating marginal students. The state is going to start reimbursing universities for those who are retained and eventually graduate. So what do we do with a 16 ACT who doesn't come to class, makes little effort when there, and then leaves without graduating and for whom we get no state aid? The state has also said we may no longer teach remedial classes. Can we insist that student do a year at a community college? Can we insist they take a semester of college boot camp that will not count toward graduation? Not one of the candidates addressed this issue or what they are going to do to increase the graduation rates. My fear is the faculty will take the hit in some way. I do not have a magic wand but I do know this problem will not go away. It will not be solved by technology. It will not be solved by hiring more administrators. It is the elephant in the room and needs to be discussed openly and forthrightly. One of the candidates noted Akron was no longer going to accept anyone with lower than a 16 ACT. If our university decides it is no longer going to be open enrollment then what does that really mean? Are we Toledo Tech? We need to partaicipate in this discussion.