The system for financing public higher education is broken -- and not just because of the recession, according to James C. Garland. Having served 10 years as president of Miami University of Ohio, from which he retired in 2006, and 26 years as a professor and administrator at Ohio State University, Garland spent his career in public higher education. And that left him convinced that the sector is absolutely essential -- and operating under many of the wrong incentives.
Students who take too long to earn bachelor's degrees are the frustration of parents, college leaders and policy makers alike -- who see the six-year bachelor's degree (or longer) as being more expensive for all involved, and particularly wasteful when many campuses are bulging due to increased enrollments.
No enterprise can be all things to all people, but that doesn’t stop plenty of college presidents from introducing new departments, centers and initiatives aimed at making their institutions the best at everything.
Daniel M. Fogel, who’s been president of the University of Vermont since 2002, isn’t one of them. “There are so many disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas where we have strength and could build up more,” he says. “But you can’t prioritize everything: that’s not what prioritization is. We need to pick and choose areas of focus and emphasis.”
Many public colleges and universities were overrun this year by larger-than-ever enrollments driven up by economics and demographics, and early signs suggest that this summer will approach or pass record highs.
Across the country, at flagship universities, state colleges and community colleges, administrators are reporting that their summer session enrollments are up, as the same pressures that put students in the classroom September through May keep them in their seats all summer.