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In the fallout of significant budget cuts at public universities, it's difficult to see a bright spot. Programs are being eliminated, salaries are frozen, faculty furloughed, and institutions with a strong history of serving their communities are forced to make bone-deep cuts. There is, however, a solution that can help us navigate through this crisis and we're seeing it at work: private, market-driven institutions of higher education.


SINCE WORLD WAR I, FORT ORD IN SALINAS, CALIF., HAD BEEN AN ARMY training facility and artillery target range. Today, 15 years after the army left, the property’s main feature is a growing regional university—California State University, Monterey Bay.


IN THE MEDIA, FINANCIAL aid coverage tends to focus on topics such as the tensions between funding merit scholarships versus need-based grants, the growth in student and parent borrowing, and the need to increase funding for Federal Pell Grants. Federal or state work-study programs get little focus.

As we look across the landscape of private liberal arts education in the United States, we understand that change comes slowly. Recently there have been a spate of writings about the need to develop more creativity in the graduates of our colleges, and in the faculty and the way they teach at those smaller institutions. Howard Gardner of Harvard writes about the five minds necessary for the future; one of them is “the creative mind.”


DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING campus disputes sound familiar to you?

--An academic department chair is struggling with warring factions among the faculty who do not get along and are engaged in petty in fighting.


DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE secretary who fell asleep at work, facedown on her computer keyboard? Or maybe you heard about the employee who broke down crying in his manager's office, admitting that he needed help for a problem he had been hiding for months-his addiction to alcohol.