Furlough Friday Pop Quiz (And News)

As today is another furlough day, I wanted to take the opportunity to give you all a “pop quiz.” Obviously, administrative closures, furloughs, or pay cuts (whatever particular euphemism you prefer) is not part of what anyone considers an “ideal” university. So what is? In a perfect world, what should SIUC look like? How big are the classes? What is the student-faculty/staff ratio? What sort of student support services should we have? How would you like to see SIUC educate our students while providing a fair work environment to employees?

News link round-up:
Raising Graduation Rates, and Questions: San Diego State, an institution known as a model for its high rates of graduating low-income students finished up its first year with more selective admission criteria. This debate going on in California — emphasizing graduation while still educating students who are less likely to succeed — seems like one to watch given SIUC’s own demographics and particular mission. We tend to draw students who are first-generation college students, minorities, and both urban and rural low income students, creating a university that is really driven to provide access to traditionally underrepresented students. However, as the Daily Egyptian reported in February, even the students in those minorities are beginning to feel like the administration doesn’t want them — because they don’t graduate at the rate the administration wants. [Inside Higher Ed]

So You Say You’re Broke?: Do we have a deficit that requires higher tuition, higher fees, and staff paycuts (or just plain cuts) or do we have a surplus? There’s a question we’ve heard a lot over the last year at SIUC — and apparently in the University of California system, the University of Michigan, the University of Maine, Ohio, and our neighbors, the University of Illinois system. [Inside Higher Ed]

Texas A&M Regents Hear Faculty Concerns About a Push Toward a ‘For-Profit Mentality’: Faculty at Texas A&M protest the push toward more “for-profit” measures at the institution, including faculty pay being decided based on teaching evaluations, separating out teaching and research budgets, and making students the primary “customers.” [Chronicle of Higher Education]

I’ll post more updates on pensions and pension reforms later — should we have them.

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