IBJOpinion

Small schools give bang for buck

April 10, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Economist Morton Marcus [on March 29] took issue with the notion that college and university graduation rates can be improved by tying compensation to increases (or decreases) in institutional graduation rates.

Improving graduation rates is a worthy goal, Marcus argues, but he predicts that educators will respond simply by lowering standards, watering down expectations, and producing more—but less well educated—graduates.

Moreover, Marcus theorizes that “employers want certificates or degrees because they recognize that those pieces of paper signify endurance. They want employees who have proven they can tolerate anything for an appropriate reward.”

Out in the real world, employers don’t hire pieces of paper. They seek and hire people who can think for themselves, communicate clearly and work in teams.

Much that’s written about higher education mistakenly assumes that “one size fits all”—theorizing that we can increase access and improve outcomes by enlarging institutions and delivering education technologically, rather than through face-to-face ongoing personal contact between teachers and students. Fact: Indiana’s independent colleges produce 35 percent of the state’s bachelor’s degrees by serving 24 percent of our state’s undergraduates on 5 percent of Indiana’s budget for higher education.

Indiana can become what Gov. Daniels calls “the best economic sandbox in America” by investing our hard-pressed dollars where recoveries always begin, in small businesses and in independent colleges.

Residential campuses like ours prepare men and women for significant careers through the liberal arts. They know that learning to do your own thinking, learning to communicate clearly, and learning to work with, for, and on behalf of other people is the path to a life of excellence, leadership and service. Fact: The four-year graduation rate at Indiana’s independent colleges is 60 percent, compared to 29 percent at state institutions.

Indiana can improve educational access and outcomes by employing the liberal arts to prepare graduates for productive and satisfying lives as leaders, professionals and citizens.

____________

James G. Moseley
President
Franklin College

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  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

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