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View Diary: Pennsylvania System of Higher Ed Slashing Faculty; More Schools to Follow Suit (10 comments)

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  •  There's a fly in my outrage... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and it's the duplication of effort across state schools.

    We seem to have developed the notion that higher education must be delivered both in close proximity to our homes and to whatever breadth and/or depth we desire.  As a result, we spend a great deal of money duplicating efforts within state university systems.

    For instance, Kentucky has two major state universities--the University of Kentucky (Lexington) and Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond)--separated only by 25 miles and a straight-shot drive down Interstate 75.  

    Does it make sense to automatically duplicate every academic program between the two schools?  Of course not.  Does it make sense to do the same across all seven state universities?  Of course not.  Student demand drives that question.  There's only one state university in Kentucky that offers an Athletic Training degree, simply because the demand is not sufficient to fund it at all seven state schools.

    If the demand is there, yes, I would expect the university to maintain the degree's/program's availability.  If not, however, there's nothing wrong with providing that program at another state university.  If a degree program averages 200-300 students/year over a 10-year span, it makes sense to keep it; if, however, it only average 10-20 students across a 10-year span, it may make sense to direct those students to another state university.

    As far as this particular case is concerned, I have two observations:

    1) How many students are currently pursuing the degrees in question (BA German, BA Music, BA Music Education, BA Philosophy, BA World Languages and Culture) at Edinboro?  Can we reasonably expect a university to maintain/fund a degree program pursued by only a handful of students?  This is a particularly important question where the music degrees are concerned; a music degree program requires faculty across all instruments, e.g. a percussion instructor, several woodwind instructors, several brass instructors, et al.

    2)  Are there suitable options within a reasonable distance?  A quick look at Google Maps tells us that Clarion is only 48 miles from Slippery Rock; it seems reasonable to have a low-volume degree program at one or the other, but not both.  Kutztown is only 62 miles from Cheyney, and 65 miles from East Stroudsburg; does it make sense to replicate low-enrollment degree programs among those three schools?

    I see a big difference between "we aren't going to offer these degrees anywhere in the state university system" and "you can still get that degree, but only at these universities."  The latter is common practice, particularly where engineering disciplines are concerned; for instance, Kentucky only offers engineering BS degrees at two of its seven state universities.

    Do you have greate detail?

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 08:13:17 AM PDT

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