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Monday, August 12, 2013

Public Comments Requested/Poll


Responding to deepening student and parental concerns about economic security and unsustainable debt loads consequent to higher education, University of Toledo’s Joint Academic Committee proposes a program innovation: The UT Degree Guarantee™.

The UT Degree Guarantee™ warrants the marketability of a UT degree. The University enters into a contract with the student whereupon, if the student satisfies the conditions enumerated below, in the event of being unable to find a job in his or her chosen educational field, the University will make the payments on the student’s educational loan indebtedness until such suitable employment is achieved.

The program offers a number of incentives designed to accommodate committed students. By selecting for highly motivated, productive students, the program assures its own long-range success:         
  •      Students must volunteer and sign a memorandum of understanding to demonstrate commitment, diligence, consistency, and compliance with appropriate levels of academic performance.
  •      The University must aggressively and in good faith seek meaningful, appropriate job placement locally, regionally or in-state for contracting graduating students.
  •      Guaranteed jobs must be local, regional or in-state, in this order of emphasis.
  •       Student educational goals, university coursework and labor market demand matches must be data-driven and transparent at the time the contract is signed. An agreed-upon plan of study reflecting these realities must be implemented and pursued.
  •     The student must maintain a 3.0 overall GPA with acceptable progress toward graduation (a record of completed classes and full time equivalence) 
  •      Students must, prior to entering into the agreement, undergo the Strengthquest aptitude process as offered by the Gallup firm, and which will be made available on the UT campus, as administered by certified UT faculty members, an aptitude metric now is use at a number of top rated universities and business schools.
  •      UT Degree Guarantee™ students must also make use of UT career services, specifically in the areas of resume writing, networking, and interviewing skills.  These include pursuit in good faith of internship opportunities posted at the department and other levels within the university.
  •       Graduates must demonstrate good faith efforts at obtaining employment. 
  •       Changes in contracted student career goals are grounds for mutual renegotiation or termination of the contract.
  •        Freshmen enrolled on the UT Guarantee™ track must negotiate the contract at the completion of 60 credit hours of progress toward the degree, if they have maintained eligibility
  •       UT Guarantee™-track students must meet regularly with special “guarantee” advisors
  •       Transfer students are not eligible to participate in the contracted job guarantee program

The program would be launched as an “experimental” program, and closely monitored via a formal formative evaluation process.   

Returns can be plowed back into costs and scholarships for contracted students in the program.

Owing to the highly motivated nature of the students (and their parents) involved in the program, providing the program is properly monitored in its formative stages, it is most unlikely that the UT Guarantee™ graduates will prove a financial burden to the University. Quite the reverse, would be expected.  Moreover it would incentivize students (and parents) by removing much of the anxiety partial to the inevitable costs of higher education in the U.S.  

The program would establish a reputation for UT, a unique market position, while enhancing the marketability of the UT degree.   


A. Venture Capitalist said...

Unfair! I can't make a thin dime off this harebrained proposal!

Anonymous said...

It's a marketing gimmick, variation on the 'contract with students' gimmick in years gone by. These marketing types just love to inform their marketing rhetoric with legalese. Just another example of how marketing concerns and bells and whistles far outweigh educational ones. For years, the marketing strategy was advertising smaller classes with greater interaction with instructors. And of course no one is giving any figures for the cost of this or where the money will come from. And, every new idea they come up with spawns another generation of admins to run and oversee it, so look for a Provost of Memorandums next, along with the staffing, vice provosts, ad nausea. I'll also guess absolutely no one has counted up all the unemployed UT grads with 3.0 or higher GPAs and how much their student load repayments are currently, thereby giving at least one projection to the cost of this.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:09. Try donning your critical thinking cap instead of your paranoid hat, your cynical hat, your petulant hat, or whatever. This proposal seems to be well-intended and all about dramatically improving the quality of education here at UT in a student-centered way. If you don't think that a higher education degree is a high-priced consumer good/service worthy of a guarantee or a warrantee, just say so and why. What’s the difference between a UT sheepskin and a Lexus? The price is similar. Carefully consider what the Joint Committee has come up. Assess its feasibility, strengths and weaknesses. Bring forth some data to scuttle the plan while it is still in the harbor though headed for the open seas of public opinion. If you have even a single substantive thought, please share it. Otherwise your post, as it stands, is a hollow rant.

Anonymous said...

This is just another program that we will never hear from again. Then there's another new program. Why are Ohio schools like Kent State having its biggest enrollment ever or BG having its highest freshman test scores and GPA's? Meanwhile, UT is tearing down dorms because they can't fill them and all of Jacobs' promises about enrollment and better prepared students have gone nowhere. Why did we never see the test scores and GPA's of the incoming 2013 class?

Anonymous said...

1. Do you have to be enrolled at UT to apply for this program?

2. Will they publish criteria to be accepted?

3. Will they publish the acceptance rates of those attempting to be in this program?

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that it might be more of a cautious marketing tactic then it seems.

Anonymous said...

"What’s the difference between a UT sheepskin and a Lexus? "

Because you can not simply buy a degree like a car, you have to earn it - that is the difference! And hard working students can go to UT and many other colleges at much less the cost of a Lexus and graduate to find jobs - I have many students non-STEM who in recent years have been very successful in both reducing the cost of their education and also finding good jobs. This idea fails because it makes the University and not the student responsible for finding a job.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:53. One of the bullet points indicates that a student would have to enroll as a Freshman and complete 60 credit before qualifying to apply for the UT Guarantee track. Those first two years would demonstrate the applicant's intelligence, diligence, character and so on. The answers to your questions 2 and 3 would seem to be yes and yes. Like you, I would like to see a more robust proposal. But I guess that is what the survey is for; to justify moving ahead with the outline proposal to a quality, research-based white paper (I for one don't want to see another power point for dummies in support of a half-assed idea from a consulting company). This Joint Committee looks to be in-house, talented and incorruptible. Let's encourage them forward. A university guaranteeing its degrees looks to be uncharted territory in public higher education. Its a bold move if you ask me. Let's see where this goes.

Anonymous said...

Let's state the obvious. If the proposal moves forward, it likely needs some serious legalese that removes students/graduates for things that get you eliminated from consideration at many jobs: criminal records, financial background, failing drug tests, social medial posts, inability to conform to workplace norms (like showing up on time), and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:03 asks: "What’s the difference between a UT sheepskin and a Lexus?”

Anonymous 3:30 responds: "Because you cannot simply buy a degree like a car, you have to earn it - that is the difference.”

But you can simply buy a college degree. There are college degree mills everywhere and there have been for many, many decades. Also, people who have worked hard all their lives and purchased a Lexus to reward themselves are apt to claim "I sweat blood for years to earn this Lexus.”

So I don’t see the difference between an earned UT degree and an earned Lexus. Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

who are the members of the joint committee?

Anonymous said...

Re UT Degree Guarantee, The History of Higher Ed, ASC Blog, John Dewey, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolph Hitler, Josef Goebbels, Edward Bernays etc.

Note: Bloggie, please disregard, per usual, the predictable whiners and nay-sayers. The truth is the ASC Blog (and thanks to you and the ASC Blog, your humble servant JdS as well) continue to inform, edify, entertain and infuriate.

We thank you again, Bloggie, for allowing JdS a venue for free speech, where the truth can still manage to get out to the people and for accordingly allowing us to acquire something of a small cult following.

We know many grateful readers regularly stop by the ASC Blog, if not always to comment nevertheless to silently read – to gain knowledge, information, direction and encouragement – and also to laugh out loud at the often hilarious and irreverent antics, spoofs and satires provided free of charge by YHS – JdS.

JdS is thankful for the many knowing surreptitious nods, smiles and whispered expressions of thanks we receive in our daily travels – and also that we have touched a nerve and are infuriating to the MoFo PoMo crowd because of their relentless whining on the ASC Blog as well as because of the occasional glares and raised eyebrows we receive from some of the disapproving members of the PC Church Ladies Social Club:

The Truth About The Truth – “Everybody lies.” – Dr. Gregory House, M. D.

“Speak only the truth – and very soon, like Socrates, you will manage to offend nearly everyone.” – Johannes de Silentio

And so, now on to the matters at hand…

The UT Degree Guarantee – Prima facie this "UT Degree Guarantee" would at least appear to be a good faith effort at addressing some of the very serious issues (which we, JdS, have endeavored to address in repeated posts here) regarding the disconnect between the undisputed skyrocketing costs of higher education – vis a vis the corresponding increasing skepticism about the value of college education among students and other stakeholders – and the real and/or perceived diminished quality and value (practical or otherwise) presumed to reside in a college degree (or indeed, in the case of far too many pseudo-academic courses, programs and pseudo-disciplines, the complete lack of any quality or value whatsoever).

The real question is why academia insists upon such a highly redundant, strictly compartmentalized, silo system wherein the wheel must be continually reinvented ex nihilo each day in every classroom, by every teacher or professor, in every course or program, in every department, college and university, by deans and provosts and vice presidents and education bureaucrats and countless meaningless and useless (except to those who get all the cash of course) research grants, etc. etc. etc. – over and over and over again ad infinitum – eternally seeking but never reaching the Promised Land of “education”.

The answer is obvious – endless financing and busy work pseudo-careers for armies of politicized, partisan unions, true believers and proselytizers.


Anonymous said...

Yes there are college degree mills that are a complete scam as they will not lead to careers whereas I know of large numbers of UT students who worked long and hard to earn good grades in courses and a degree that has served them very well in obtaining careers.

Frankly it is disrespectful and ignorant to the hard working students and faculty at UT who take or teach the courses and degree programs to even suggest that UT is a degree mill. Yes there are many serious concerns and issues facing UT, but the ability of faculty to deliver high quality education and for students to earn degrees and be successful is not one of them. In the 10 years I have been at UT I have seen many of my students (including non STEM) go on to very successful careers in many different professional fields.

Yes, you can work hard and earn money to buy a Lexis, but you cannot earn money by taking courses, as courses and grades require more than the exchange of money but awarded through efforts and achievements. You cannot simply buy a degree as you would a car. Hard work can lead to both accomplishments but without the money earned you cannot buy the Lexis. If you could simply exchange money for a degree then everyone and anyone with the means should buy any degree from any college and any program. Yet many people without wealth manage to earn degrees.

The comparison is completely invalid with no sound basis in the reality of earning a degree. You can earn a degree and earn a car, but you can not buy a degree like buying a car.

Anonymous said...

Nobody said that UT is a degree mill. However, any person well-informed about past and present conditions at UT could hardly deny that UT is trending in the direction of a degree mill: diminishing respect for our tenured professoriate, deliberate erosion of shared governance, failure to negotiate in good faith with our AAUP bargaining unit and a documented vast increases in administrators and their salaries, and a skyrrrrrrrocketing (no pun intended) of the UT marketing and advertising budget over the past eight years. These are just the tip of a tell-tale degree mill iceberg.

Tell me: in your 10 years of service at UT have you not noticed the exodus of most of our most talented and experienced non-STEMM faculty? They were deliberately demoralized and driven away by Jacobs Inc. and the evidence of that abounds. If you want statistical and anecdotal evidence, that book will soon be published.

You claim that “many people without wealth manage to earn degrees.” Wake up. These move on to immediately face debt slavery for the remaining best years of their lives – unless they can land a decent job upon graduation.

Guaranteeing the UT degree at least demonstrates to students and their parents and the public at large that the manufacturer of the UT degree (Jacobs Inc.) is sincerely proud of it and will stake its corporate reputation on its valuation in the marketplace. If not a Lexus, the UT degree can at least aspire to be a solid F150.

Without offering a guarantee, the UT degree is little more than assumed bragging rights and bluster that sans gainful employment amounts to hot air expelled from both ends.

Anonymous said...

"Debt slavery," just another example of how many of the postings on this forum are more interested with sound bites and appearing witty than discussion (Jacobs, inc, revolutions, Lexus degree...). What "most" people with student loans do is take advantage of the numerous ways to reduce their monthly payments or defer them. And while this will encumber them with debt for years, maybe until the end of their lives, it hardly reduces them to slavery. Talk about a debasement of the language. All anyone has to do to discredit this forum is quote from any number of the ridiculous postings that belie the fact that people who post here are supposed to be intelligent and able to take part in an actual discussion. I suppose even intellectuals channel their Bevis & Butthead persona when they know they are posting anonymously.

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a college-age student I support the proposal but would like to see it laid out in more detail. I never heard of such a thing. I would also like to know more about who constitutes this Joint Committee. Whoever came up with this idea doesn't really matter, I guess. It seems like a godsend and I hope it works.

Anonymous said...

As always, the details... the details... "“guarantee advisors" - where will they come from? how many? will UT advisors take on this in addition to their other duties or will "guarantee advisors" be new full time or part time positions? will, in fact, these positions be outsourced? If not, who will train them? recruit them? watch over them? And what about the now, presumably, failed programs that were initiated to recruit new and better students? This forum has commented on a number of admin brainchilds that just seem to have disappeared - the admins and their salaries remain, but the programs just aren't mentioned anymore. Isn't there any accountability?

Anonymous said...

Plus many hard working students earn scholarships and also work part time or full time to help cover college costs and reduce personal debt. Not all students are graduating with huge debt some actually work and planned (including with their parents) to reduce debt and many are very successful in college and securing careers. Yes debt and costs of college are a problem but lets not get carried away by characterizing all students the same way. Again I will repeat that I am aware of many recent graduates both STEM and non-STEM from UT who secured jobs, so it can be done and was because they worked hard to achieve both.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:10 and elsewhere. You have not been paying attention. Whether the guarantee advisors spring from the head or Zeus,the twat of Minerva, or are hired with gift donations by an enthusiastic Bill Gates or a curious George Soros is irrelevant at this early point in the proposal development stage. Don't hasten or harass these Joint Committee cooks and stay out of the kitchen if you don't like what is on the menu. Dine at the University of Phoenix bar if that fare is what you crave for. Beat it.

Anonymous said...

Bloggie -

Congratulations are in order to you for somehow managing to re-ignite some of the most intelligent, cogent and multi-faceted discourse and commentary we have seen here in some time.

We were beginning to feel a bit lonely...

None of the sadly often typical invective or name-calling from anyone - just plenty of civil discourse and reasonable opposing views and arguments intelligently presented.

THIS is what free and open discourse in the public square should always be like.

If only the media and the pols and academics and attorneys and other assorted chattering wonks (MoFo PoMo profs, far right, far left et al.) would all adhere to the basic rules of fair play and reasonable, logical, factual, honest, serious and civil debate - as opposed to the cynical zero-sum Gotcha! PC sophistry, buzzword-and-demonizing-epithet-hurling, bait and switch and lowest common denominator public opinion seeking that has become all the fashion today.

Politics, whether related to education or other issues, has always been a dirty, rough and tumble business - but it has been said that as recently as the days of former House Speaker Tip O'Neill it was still possible for those on opposing sides of the aisle in Congress to engage in passionate and very heated debate during the day - but then nonetheless go out afterwards to share drinks and laughs together at one of the local watering holes near Capitol Hill - like the fabled Hawk and Dove.

Hard to believe there actually used to be boundaries one did not cross under any circumstances - such as not attacking an opponent's family or children for political gain.

Our hats are off to you, sir, as well as to the intelligent posters above, for showing it is still possible to debate and disagree in a civil, respectful and intelligent manner.


Anonymous said...

"Don't hasten or harass these Joint Committee cooks and stay out of the kitchen if you don't like what is on the menu. Dine at the University of Phoenix bar if that fare is what you crave for. Beat it."

This is an open and free speech zone and as such we are entitled to our opinions including those counter to the initial post, an open debate is the own means to discuss and consider such proposals.

In my view UT does have many challenges and issues including the costs of college, administrative growth etc... but to be fair and reasonable these same problems exists all across the country at public and private colleges of all types and sizes and not unique just to UT - talk to faculty, staff and students at other colleges and you hear the same issues raised.

Yes we need to discuss and deal with these problems, and debate solutions such as this proposal (which in case anyone is still wondering did not come from any official UT sources), but lets not believe for one minute that somehow UT is better or worse then higher education in general.

Anonymous said...

Be very careful.

What is see is an increase in expenditures for supporting the administration of the program without an additional revenue source. Can the marketing of the program bring additional students? Maybe. But it is very hard to compute the number of new students that would be brought in.

Furthermore, I could see lawsuits I. The future over the due diligence of the students to find employment after graduating from the program. How does the university plan to monitor this and evaluate the efforts of the students? It would be extremely difficult to write a contract that would bind the student after they graduate to insure that their efforts in finding a job are in the spirit of the program. This is the bane of every Unemployment office in the United States while a person is receiving unemployment benefits. They have not been successful.
How does UT see that they can be any more successful?

Again be very careful here. This seems to be a good sounding venture but the costs outweigh the benefits as they are currently envisioned.

Anonymous said...

A close family friend, representative Ed Boland roomed with Tipp O'Neil for more than 20 years. My mother had a personal opposition to Teddy Kennedy due to his womanizing but she still suported his politics. She had strong feelings about O'Bama and Hillary - while still able to speak respectively at age 90 regarding the politicians (including her brother in law a governor of a New England state). Yes I miss the old politics vs the current ideologues.

Anonymous said...

meanwhile undergraduate enrollment is down by at least 3% this year...

Anonymous said...

UT is only one local example of a systematic higher education malaise

Yes, it is certainly true that at least for the most part what ails UT specifically ails higher ed in general.

The human by-products of the post-1960's Tenured Radical MoFo PoMo pseudo-academy (the so-called Millennials - ages 18-34) are going to be a big, big problem and they will have a very rough go of it with their huge student loan debt and BS pseudo degrees and no jobs.

These poor young folks are getting the royal shaft from us snot-nosed ungrateful spoiled brat pot smoking hippie trust fund baby boomers, who have killed the golden-egg-laying goose of the American Dream we inherited from our frugal, hard working family value WWII Greatest Generation parents.

Our parents handed us the undisputed wealthiest and most powerful and noble beacon of freedom and democracy - with the best science, technology, industry, education, infrastructure and economy in the world.

We blathered on about Marx and "Western imperialism" and partied our asses off and (at least those of us who were not too debauched, deluded or stoned) set ourselves up in cushy unsustainable subsidized bullshit careers in academic administration etc. - while squandering our legacy.

We got ours and had our fun and are now passing on the post-apocalyptic "multi-cultural" degenerate Orwellian PC Wasteland of Mad Max, Fed funny money, Obamacare, hip-hop youth "culture", spy drones and "Detropia" to our children - Gens X,Y,Z.

Detroit is like Rome during the Dark Ages - frightened roaming bands of destitute ignorant people, scrounging for food, killing one another and huddling in the collapsed ruins of a once great civilization - wondering what happened.

Behold! The Marxist-Feminist Postmodern Utopia made manifest on Earth!

Et tu, Toledo?

How very, very sad.

Failure to launch:

Anonymous said...

To “Furthermore, I could see lawsuits”

I can see lawsuits too.

These will be an emerging slew of lawsuits by students and parents who begin to sue their public higher education institutions for engaging in deceitful practices that contribute to a higher education bubble.

What is the value of the UT undergraduate degree in the marketplace?

When enough people start to ask that question, it will be the universities who have the courage to guarantee their degrees that will earn the public trust, endorsement and patronage.

UT can be the first!

Anonymous said...

Here's another interesting link:

Anonymous said...

It's a PR gimmick and the details are important. UT will build so many requirements into it that the only students who might actually benefit from it will be those that would get jobs after graduation anyway. Or are people really arguing that this program will apply equally to Pharmacy majors and Theater majors?

Anonymous said...

“UT will build so many requirements into it that the only students who might actually benefit from it will be those that would get jobs after graduation anyway.” I agree with you. Screening will be stringent. Which brings up the question “Why are most young students in public higher education at taxpayer expense today if they don’t envision being gainfully employed after graduating?”

Anonymous said...

“Why are most young students in public higher education at taxpayer expense today if they don’t envision being gainfully employed after graduating?”

Because most of them will be, the unemployment rate for college graduates is half that of high school only graduates.

Any all studies of future employment trends clearly indicate future demand and greatest potential for careers earnings is higher for college graduates compared to high school only.

Plus they are not attending college at taxpayer expense since the largest source of revenue is student tuition either paid for by students/parents or by federal student loans they have to pay back.

Anonymous said...

The UT guarantee: to spend money we don't have!

Anonymous said...

Anyone seen anything on enrollment? I've heard there's another decline, somewhere between 3-8%

Anonymous said...

The most recent numbers I've heard are about 2% drop in enrollment for this fall. The swampbubbles posting above mentioned 8%, but that particular article was dated from this spring.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous August 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM:
The Dean of NSM said more than 3 %.

Anonymous said...

Jacobs Inc. finally solved the parking problem. He did it his way. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if we could get this sort of attention for our plight:

Anonymous said...

Take my word for it a 3% decline in enrollment has not improved the parking situation, just try and find a spot mid morning or later - good luck!

Anonymous said...

I always go to campus around noon or 1 pm and I find plenty of spots available at the Driscoll Alumni Center, while it was not so during last year... just saying.

Anonymous said...

Re: Akron, at least their faculty is the highest paid of all MAC schools except Buffalo, and they're in the final phases of a ONE BILLION dollar capital campaign while UT is trying to figure out how to raise $200 million.

Anonymous said...

It may depend on schedule of classes in Driscoll or parking lot enforcement issues, but my standard is lot 10 which is the largest lot closest to most classroom buildings, and certainly the first week of classes it was busy mid day Mon-Thurs as previous years. For many students Driscoll lot is unknown and is designed staff/faculty only so it may be targeted for enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous August 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM,
a the Driscoll center there are not any more parking spots reserved only to staff/faculty, at least since Fall 2012 and students have been well informed about this.
Indeed, all parkings reserved for staff/faculty have been accessible to students since a year ago at least.
The only truly reserved parkings are for administrators, but those are just a tiny number.

So this is not an explanation for Driscoll Center parking lot not being full; moreover, last year at this time and during the Fall semester 2012 it was indeed full.

Maybe it just means students have become lazier and want to park as close as possible to class.

Anonymous said...

Maybe people don't like to park over there because crossing Bancroft is an added hassle and because the lot doesn't feel that safe. The latter is particularly true for people who have to be on campus past 5.

Anonymous said...

"at the Driscoll center there are not any more parking spots reserved only to staff/faculty, at least since Fall 2012 and students have been well informed about this.
Indeed, all parkings reserved for staff/faculty have been accessible to students since a year ago at least."

Parking enforcement in specific designated lots is not done the first few weeks of a term, but after that period yes students can be ticketed for parking in designated staff/faculty lots as I have had students tell me about such tickets, so I have no idea where you got that information as none has been communicated to students and the posted signs, permits and list of lots continues.

I have no idea if or why the Driscoll lot is less busy or not compared to 2012, but I do know that even with a 3% decline in enrollment, lot 10 (which has always been the most popular shared lot) and the food court in SU at noon are still both full. Plus Tuesday of this week by 9am traffic was backed up down Bancroft Street.