In today's difficult economy, colleges and universities are suffering like they never have before. Fundraising levels have dropped dramatically, and the amount donated annually by supporters is roughly half of what it was a few years ago. Endowments are suffering, which impacts schools' ability to support students and programs. In addition, with federal and state budget cuts also running rampant, faculty and staff are being laid off, regardless of their credentials and ability.
Just for a day I became a student again, and the opportunity to learn from that perspective about the University of Idaho was priceless.
Student leaders extended an invitation for me to spend the evening and night in our residence halls, and that invitation was accepted because I thought it would be a unique experience. More importantly, I want to be grounded - aware of student wants and concerns - and represent them in a positive way as I move forward with university business.
Carroll University, Wisconsin's oldest four-year institution of higher education, aims to provide students with "a vibrant academic experience," says President Douglas N. Hastad. "Our goal is to help students succeed by supporting them as they pursue their degrees." The University recognizes that retaining students is just as important as enrolling new students, and more cost-effective than recruitment. The university is committed to helping students graduate, and to maintaining enrollments that will sustain the institution during challenging economic times like these.
Things are changing rapidly in our society and economy and on campuses. The status quo has starting to become more of the status qua. What was once truth, fact, or really more belief and certainty are being replaced by new realities. And those realities have even started to be felt on college campuses where we all worked so hard not to let change in even though we felt perfectly at ease telling everyone what they needed to change.
Hardly a day goes by without a college announcing jobs, programs, or spending cuts. You would think with all the brainpower at our colleges and universities they would be able to come up with better solutions than lopping off people, sections and services to students. But they don’t seem to. Why not?