College is more than just time in the classroom

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, October 18, 2013

There is an interesting and ongoing debate in our country, our state and our university over what the priorities of an institution of higher education ought be. Everyone knows resources are limited — that’s true of any institution — and have to be divvied up between a lot of worthy competing interests.

Few people seriously suggest anything should take higher precedence on a university’s to-do list than promoting academic excellence. All of us are here at USU to get an education and therefore have a better shot at getting a good job, giving back to our communities and making a difference in the world. The better the quality of our education, the better our investment is in terms of time, energy and tuition.

But some have argued that since academics obviously hold the highest rank of value at universities, they should be the only priority of the institution. The sole purpose of a university, these people would argue, is the one explicitly in its title: an institution of higher education. It is the school’s responsibility to cultivate a successful academic atmosphere — and nothing more.

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