Article: What Will Replace Behemoth State University?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by telefax, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. telefax

    telefax New Member

    What Will Replace Behemoth State University?

    The author, Robert Koons, teaches at University of Texas-Austin. I don’t agree with his prescription for higher education, but his discussion of what is missing is very thought-provoking.
  2. bmills072200

    bmills072200 New Member

    I lose respect for any article on higher education that uses as a central argument in the first paragraph that "the football coach got a 2 million dollar raise and the foreign language department was cut, what a shame."

    Football coaches are paid based on revenue that they can bring into the school independent of student enrollment in the courses they teach (if they teach any courses at all). This argument is asinine. Foreign language professors do not bring in any income for the school outside of the classes that they instuct. If the demand is not present for the classes that they teach then, of course, they will be cut.

    I hate to look at everything from a purely economic perspective, but let's be honest, colleges, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, are looking at the bottom line. If a football coach at a major university can pack the seats and get the team to major bowls that generate huge income and recognition for the school, then of course they deserve huge salaries commensurate with their abilities. In turn, professors that teach subjects that are in low demand should not be surprised if their budgets are cut!
  3. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    He calls arguments that a college education increases income "crude"...

    then proceeds to argue that the economic fortunes of Texas and California show research universities don't matter.

    Um....pot, kettle, etc.
  4. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    With all due respect, I think your argument is asinine and that type of very linear regressive thinking is what's wrong with a lot of businesses. Are universities really here to enhance the bottom line?

    I'm a CPA. From the AICPA perspective, they'd make more $$ if more people were allowed to take the exam. So why make it stringent? Why make the requirements tough? Why not open it up to anyone and everyone and enjoy the short-term benefit? The reason? We believe CPAs have a duty to protect the public and states license CPAs as a result. Some things go beyond the bottom line, my friend. Our government is built on the notion that there are aspects of our society that commerce cannot and will not support.

    Are universities here as developmental sports leagues? Should an instructor be paid based on how popular his or her subject is? By your line of thinking, universities should maximize their income by focusing on the popular. Pop Culture U, here we come.

    Those unpopular language courses are the very backbone of the fabric of a college's academic rigor and substance. Replace that with a bunch of 'popular' courses and athletic 'hoo-ha' and you have large, state-funded and colorfully-themed sports team and not much else.

    The professor's right but sadly, because of our unending obsession with how young men perform on an athletic field or court, we're winding down our notion of what makes for great education.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    "Asinine"? Is that really the most civil way you could have expressed yourself?

    Anyway, your argument seems to assume that sports and classes are mutually exclusive activities. On the contrary, the donations from alumni that often accompany a winning sports team can make a big difference in what resources are available to maintain unpopular departments (like languages). In that case, paying a lot for a great coach may make sense, both from the athletic and academic perspective.

  6. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    I used the same phrase the first dissenter did. Is it that you felt it was ok in one case but not in another?

    I don't assume anything by the way. I specifically challenged the assertion that a class schedule or class line-up should be based on the popularity of the offering in and of itself.

    And I also think there's quite a bit of research that suggests the economic effect you're describing from sports team is a bit inflated in terms of its benefits to other departments. Essentially, the argument that many sports teams are making is that they should be allowed to use the funds they generate, which is a classic case of empire-building.

    We, through our university system, have subsidized professional sports leagues' developmental squads. It's not different than how we, through our tax dollars, have subsidized professional sports arenas. If these teams were truly self-supporting, they'd be completely capable of surviving from television contracts, ticket revenues, and merchandise sales. No city would ever have to pony up for a new stadium. No school would ever find itself in need of increasing tuition during a time in which they can also build a new stadium.
  7. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    Hopkins/Eastman? I don't think so because I am sure Eastman had a blond beard at the time of their fight but I can't think of another prematurely balding fighter at that weight class (I'm guessing middleweight from the pic).
  8. Glor1295

    Glor1295 New Member

    Of course they don't open up the test to everyone. You are talking about an organization that determines the requirements for accountants that is made up of accountants - they would increase competition for their own positions. That would be like putting me in charge of the entry requirements for my own career field. They are looking out for the bottom line, but it is their own and not the AICPA's.
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    No, the AICPA does not have that role. As with other professions, the organization that sets the requirements for licensed accountants is the state accounting board (a government agency) or the state legislature itself (which may enact laws regulating the practice of accounting).

    The AICPA prepares and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, which state licensing boards use. But the state ultimately determines who can take the exam, and sets other licensure requirements, such as those for education and experience.

    State licensing boards typically consist of a mix of accountants and public representatives; they do not consist solely of CPAs. The California Board of Accountancy, for example, has 15 members, and only a minority (7 of 15) of these are CPAs. The board members are appointed by politicians, who may or may not make choices that accounting organizations would prefer, depending on their ties to particular interest groups.

    Professional organizations certainly influence state licensing boards, but they do not control them. For example, do you think there would be unaccredited DL law schools in California, or unaccredited B&M law schools in other states, if the ABA controlled the licensing requirements?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2010
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It seemed the first instance was referring to the argument in the article, but the second was to that of a fellow poster. Sorry if I read it wrong.

    And in that case, the university should respond, "Request denied." Although I suppose I'm not shocked by your suggestion that this isn't what really happens.

    The difference is that professional sports are privately owned (except the Green Bay Packers), whereas university teams are not. So if university level sports are a moneymaker, and the net income goes to some part of the university other than the sports teams themselves, then at least in theory they might be a good idea. Whereas municipal stadiums for pro sports teams are just corporate welfare.

  11. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    Nope. Reread. I specifically wrote 'I consider your argument to be asinine' and not the person.

    And here's the problem. Many colleges challenge the assertion that the revenue from the sports teams goes anywhere but the sports team program. From a managerial standpoint, it's a classic case of empire building as in "Hey, we generate this much so we deserve it all in our budget" while ignoring the fact that the role of a sports team is to generate money for the school and not itself.

    Again, if these teams were completely self-funded, why not spin them off completely and make them privately-owned college-themed teams who pay the schools a licensing fee?

    Then the relationship would be obviously beneficial. In an era in which professional sports team can't make it work from a profit and loss standpoint, I doubt the Central Mississippi Mud Ducks could either.

    But obviously, your mileage may vary...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2010

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