Friday, June 27, 2008

Thank you, Todd Simmons. My degree is now worth less for having read what you had to say.

While perusing the GT archives, I found this awesome story on how OSU ranks according to the US News and World Report. Check out this choice bit:

Over the years, Simmons said, OSU has remained steadily in the third tier, which he said is actually a testament to how hard the university has worked to keep retention, graduation and quality steady despite some very lean budget years.

Although OSU might be firmly stuck in the third tier, Simmons said the university isn’t suffering because of it.

“It really doesn’t have an impact on our recruitment,” he said.

One bright spot on the newly released report, Simmons said, is that OSU’s graduation rate has improved from 56 percent to 60 percent.

Simmons is more interested in other rankings, such as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classification, which ranks a university’s quality of research activity. OSU is the only Oregon university to receive a top ranking from the foundation.

“It’s a better reflection of what we really care about,” Simmons said.

Translation: F*** students F*** teaching! Bring on the research dollars!

I'm not saying research isn't a big deal, especially at land-grant school, and one that does do an amazing amount of world-class research. However, it clearly reflects OSU's bottom-line priority that research is more important than students - after all, tuition can't go up too fast, and state funding is, in the long run, decreasing, so it makes a certain amount of economic sense to concentrate on bringing in research funding. But there are 20,000 students here, and someone should tell them they're worth less to the OSU elite than a bunch of bacteria in a lab in a basement somewhere. This kind of move suggests that OSU, at the top, is less about being a university that offers a broad, rounded education and more about being a series of research labs and professional schools that offer job training.

Someone should make copies of this and distribute it at START sessions this summer...


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