Sunday, November 18, 2012

Educational Reform and Four Year University Regents

Each of our state’s universities has it own appointed board of regent. Half of which are too busy to be bothered to even show up for meetings on a regular bases. The universities have overlapping course offerings that only cost more in state educational funding. Some of the regents care while others see the position as a stepping stone toward public office. It is a vehicle for political appointees that only cost the state in funds that could be better spent on classroom support.
Perhaps it is past time to create one board of regents for all of the state’s four-year universities. You could have one regent representing each of the four-year universities in the state. It would be wise to have that regent living in the area of the university that they represent. Why have someone from across the state represent a university just because they graduated from that university at some point in history?  

Since each university has a student regent perhaps the board could have two or three student regent positions which rotate between universities every few years.

Why would this be good for state’s four-year universities? First regents would have to work together to create common goals for all of our universities. This might encourage them to consider the types of degrees offered by each of our universities therefore eliminating overlap. It might encourage them to recognize courses statewide.  Spending for buildings would have more oversight as a regent would have to achieve support from other regents.  Smaller universities would get a fairer hearing when it comes to what is best for their local communities as far as funding of construction projects were concerned.  
We must remember that regents are not the ones who make day-to-day decisions for our universities. The presidents they hire set the policies and oversee the universities daily business. Regents are there to hire universities presidents and set broad objectives for the progress of the universities. Lobbying is done by individuals hired by the universities who are well trained in that field. Most often regents are nothing more that blind individuals who follow the requests made by universities presidents.

The cost savings of having one board of regents for all of the four-year universities as apposed to a five or seven member board for each university would be better spent on helping  our children get their degrees.  With a more limited number of individuals more responsibility could be attributed to individual regents for attending meetings and making good decisions for their university and the communities they are attempting to represent. It would also give regents a better understand of how each university fits into a complete system that educates our children statewide.