This article by David Karpf, Assistant professor of political communication, George Washington University, nails it on the UVA fiasco (should we go ahead and start calling it UVA-gate, since every scandal has had to have “gate” attached to it since Watergate?). Here’s an excerpt (bolding added by me for emphasis), but I strongly recommend that you read it all:
Revenue problems for public universities are not originating in competition from online learning programs. They’re coming through systematic defunding by state legislatures. Higher education in America faces its share of problems, to be sure. Tuition soars and students are racking up mountains of debt. But the underlying revenue model faces no direct threat. A modern-day Good Will Hunting might gain his education through MIT’s online lectures rather than a Boston public library card, but the great mass of privileged 18-year-olds will keep heading off to college. Neither the University of Phoenix nor MIT’s online courses offer a replacement for the college experience that students are currently paying for. And competition does not equal disruption.
Behind all the silly jargon about “strategic dynamism,” it appears the great tragedy of the UVA Board of Visitors is not that they’ve brought effective business sense into the Ivory Tower. It is that their business acumen proves stunningly lackluster.
This is governance through second-hand op-ed clippings. It is governance through rah-rah PowerPoint presentations. It is governance through Cliff’s Notes and Wikipedia pages. It bears no resemblance to an effectively-run company, much less an effectively-run university.
The University of Virginia deserves better than this, in so many ways.
So true. Sadly, this great university is NOT getting what it deserves here, and that’s largely thanks to the pathetic “leadership” of the UVA Board of Visitors, which appears to have the collective IQ (not to mention moral quotient) of a rotten eggplant. Then there’s Gov. T-Bob, who’s basically AWOL on all this. Great leadership there, huh? In sum, this entire situation is a disgrace and embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as seriously damaging to one of the greatest public universities in the United States. Other than that, great job guys! (snark)