Comments about ‘Are Utah's colleges and universities fulfilling their mission?’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 18 2013 10:15 a.m. MDT

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Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA

It is hard to take seriously an article that starts out with this inaccuracy: "In 1990, Utah operated nine public institutions of higher education, seven of which were two-year colleges."

This suggests that Weber State and Southern Utah were 2-year institutions in 1990, when both had been 4-year institutions since the early 1960s (when they, like many teachers colleges across the US became 4-year schools to accommodate bachelors degree requirements for teachers) and both had master's programs, Weber State since 1978.

Utah, Utah State, Weber State, and Southern Utah were all 4-year schools. Utah Valley was in the process of converting to 4 year. Snow, Dixie State, Eastern Utah, and Salt Lake Community College, were also 2-year colleges. Eastern Utah became a "university" when it was absorbed by USU, but still has essentially the same 2-year mission in Price and in San Juan County.

The array of applied technology colleges--some of which (Weber-Ogden, Davis, Bridgerland) are quite large and are filling half the community college mission (career and technical education), but are not allowed to fill the entire community college mission which also includes transfer programs to universities.

future professor
MECHANICSVILLE, VA

The administrator from SLCC seems to be ripping on the other Utah schools. I'm so glad the state decided to make Weber, Utah Valley, and Dixie dual-role schools. Does this administrator wish the other schools had been forced to remain 2-year schools? Also, it kind of sounds like she is taking credit for the mission of SLCC. We've all seen the less than ideal retention and graduation numbers at our colleges and universities, and SLCC is no exception. When a school president is trying to call out the other schools or the entire state, she should be reminded that there are more than enough problems to solve at her school. There are problems with higher-ed, including cost and access, but I believe Utah is handling these problems better than most states.

RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT

What's the mission? Churn 'em out?

University courses are too long. Too many classes are created by educators based upon their dreams, not upon the realities of the job market.

It's absurd that a BA in English (my degree) should take as long as a BS in Engineering. My degree should have been over in 3 years and my first masters in one year just like my 2nd.

I've taught business classes that covered the subject in 12 weeks and the class lasted 16.

And some degrees need a disclaimer: Enjoy the classes 'cuz you'll never a job in this field.

Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA

Yes, Dixie State became dual role this year. But, in 1991, when Weber State College was renamed Weber State University and Southern Utah State College was renamed Southern Utah University, they were designated as having a university tier (for their bachelors and masters degree programs, which had long existed at both schools at that time) and a college tier (for their certificate and associate courses). For years, on the USHE website, the university tier (with some modest selectivity) and the college tier (with open enrollment) was thoroughly explained. Utah's public colleges were considered to be in four levels:

I. Research universities (Utah and Utah State)
II. Masters universities (Weber State and Southern Utah)
III. Bachelor/associate colleges (Utah Valley State College)
IV. Community College (Snow, Dixie, Eastern Utah, and Salt Lake Community College)

These designations started to change around 2008 when UVSC became UVU and started masters programs.

I like the dual role and that it is explicit. Weber State, Utah Valley, and Dixie serve as both 4-year (and higher) and community colleges, without the cost of separate institutions.

Brother Benjamin Franklin
Orem, UT

I think the universities do a decent job, but the simple fact is that I think people will come out ahead if they skip college.

College has become so insanely expensive nowadays. Universities care about student headcounts, fancy campuses, athletic programs, diversity, and money more than they care about providing students with a quality education at an affordable cost.

If colleges were really serious about this, they would take that extra money and build more campuses with it so they could serve more students.

I just don't think colleges care all that much here about that. The lack of proper funding allocation, mediocre graduation rates, limited classroom space, parking issues, and increasing tuition cost reflect that.

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

I'll get a lot of argument on this but Utah has devastated the intuitions of higher learning and primary eduction k1-k12 by trading off knowledge and learning to satisfy the greed of profiteering off (loans) the of state and federal government over spending.

To glorify all the self proclaimed success and slapping themselves on the backs for a job well done its crying shame the people they put through this measurable system did not learn anything of value for prosperity.

Utah sacrificed knowledge, the future, and lives to create a socialist society. They had to restrain children and students from learning too much and outside the box to make sure they could measure training. After 50 years of carbon copy education, these mid life parents of propaganda are all realizing they have been unhappy all their lives. Once college degrees were good for hundreds of jobs with knowledge they could use in many trades and skills before business was allowed to limit education.

Government controlled education is the tool created for the best trained socilaist to restrict knowledge and make workers believe they can't be independent or self sufficient like their parents.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

Higher ed is in a bubble, poorly prepared for the changes affecting it. MOOCs (massive free online classes), decreased legislature funding, irrelevant research, escalating student debt, beliefs that college "isn't worth it," etc.

Sadly, universities are responsible for these problems. Free online classes, for example, are in response to perceptions that education CAN be delivered for less.

Scholarship from professors is targeted for elite journals that often take years to complete/publish and few people ever read, costing tax-payers significantly. Sadly, society has limited access or use for it. Indeed, talk to professors and they'll say their research is written for other academics and NOT tax payers or policymakers to benefit society. Journals are evaluated on "impact factors" of citation rates -- not "impact" on changing laws or boosting the economy.

In fact, applied work is discounted, and professors focused on actually solving real world problems are seen as "second rate."

Watch the high ed bubble burst as social forces (more legislature cuts, students shunning education over costs, MOOCs, etc.) sideline universities not meeting society's needs.

Universities that demonstrate their value to society as economic engines, creating new technologies and solving problems will be the survivors.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

The University of Utah has my endless gratitude for the superb education I received. I was challenged, it was hard, and it was exhilarating. Each teacher was dramatically different but all good, some even great. Now the trend is toward robotic, canned "learning" online from the Western Governors' "University," which is not a university at all but an elaborate video game. It's all driven by the "economy," which is the equivalent of the grand lady of Babylon whose fall is coming, and "great shall be the fall thereof."

DHuber
Palmyra, NY

One practical advantage in having nearly all four year schools involves transfers. Many 4 year colleges have very liberal transfer credit policies that allow about 90 transfer credits from a 4 year school. These same schools only allow 65-67 credit to transfer from a 2 year school. Some schools allow these 90 transfer credits in 100-200 level. This often goes retroactive as a school transcript that currently shows a upper division 300-600 level school does not reflect the fact the credits were earned when it was a 2 year school.

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