Growing sense 'higher education needs to be done differently now,' says UVU President Matt Holland

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  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    May 22, 2018 3:26 a.m.

    Wish we could have heard this in 2008, ten years ago, then we would have had a pioneer and visionary among us. Talk to us about 1.5 trillion dollars in student loan debt. Few dare speak truth.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2018 8:32 a.m.

    I waited to comment on this article to see other comments first. I am saddened, even appalled to not see anyone address the bigger elephant in the room.

    From the article: "Many of our population and our students who come to us have a third-grade reading level, said Ellibee."

    If college age adults only have a third-grade reading level... "higher education" isn't where the "problem" exists. Doesn't matter what changes the colleges make; unless they become "preschool for adults" they are not going to be fixing the problem.

    How about we start with preschool through third grade teachers and classes. EVERY child should be reading at least at a third grade level by third grade... MOST of them should be reading well above a third grade level by third grade. We should not be leaving any child behind. If we start teaching children when they are still infants (yes indeed, even infants can be learning to read); then by the time they hit college age they will be ready for college.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    May 18, 2018 3:31 p.m.

    Kids, without resources from home, scholarships, loans or grants are intimidated by the high costs of even going to community college for training or higher education. They also don't get much out of highschool if they can't see themselves being able to move on to "higher" education. So, they languish. At this point, local public schools, especially highschool, has failed these kids miserably. On the other hand, community colleges and 4 year schools are not very well geared to teach technical skills beyond the health care industry. Sure, everybody knows about schools that teach other specialties, but they are not exactly cheap either, and they don't seem to get into the highschool settings to promote their educational opportunities very well, either. Kids need opportunities, but they also need to have their interests and imaginations piqued, as well as to be able to have a vision of themselves succeeding in some field of endeavor.

    My kids didn't get that in their recent highschool experiences here in Washington State, and I don't see anything changing drastically anywhere else, to speak of.

  • Husker2 Apache Junction, AZ
    May 18, 2018 1:44 p.m.

    My wife got one of those great vocational jobs that President Holland is talking about. After 6 years in the profession, she's up to $15 hr. That's a little more than a manager at Burger King. Oh, and she has school debt of $30,000. Great deal.

  • lnkmom Lehi, UT
    May 18, 2018 11:51 a.m.

    I feel that rather than changing an entire system of higher education, we need to help our own children find what they are interested in. Children with aptitudes in the Arts should be helped (by family) to see that majoring in Piano Performance probably won't pay the bills... but, majoring in Musical teaching might be a better option. We need teachers in all sorts of fields and the best teachers are the ones who not only love their Art or Academic focus, but have practiced it.

    Whenever there is a discussion about what education should and shouldn't be I'm always reminded of what John Adams said, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

    I think we have come full circle... because we have been so blessed to be able to focus on things that used to be considered idle past times, we now need more people who know and can teach the basics (building, welding, etc.).

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2018 10:57 a.m.

    Its' way past time that we realize higher education is a business.

    A very lucrative one for some.

    What if: instead of the state shoveling tens of millions of dollars to universities DIRECTLY, (besides the tuition they get), we gave EACH high school graduate a voucher made up of the money we annually "donate" through our taxes to higher education.

    Each high school graduate would get a divisible amount of the total higher education budget that they could use at ANY post-high school schooling.

    For instance if each student got 5k, they could spend it on semesters at the U., or they could go to a truck driving school, welding, meat cutting etc.

    Why not make the universities COMPETE for all that higher education money they get, both from the legislature, and from tuition?

    Universities are no longer "hallowed grounds of knowledge" we were led to believe.
    They are VERY efficient money-making machines (for some), all due to the enormous tax money they get, either directly, or indirectly.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 18, 2018 8:57 a.m.

    So long, Shakespeare, classical languages, philosophy, Jane Austen, art history, theoretical physics, music, theater. We don't need any of that useless, elitist, impractical "gen ed" junk. Hello, welding, automechanics, and coding. Nobody needs any more than that in order to feed themselves.

    And thus dies civilization. As Socrates (one of those useless philosophers) once asked, "Is it better to be a pig satisfied at the trough or a human being searching for truth, beauty, and goodness?"

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 18, 2018 8:33 a.m.

    Classicist, historian & commentator Victor Davis Hanson Point Southern California, remediation of college students who weren't and aren't really prepared for college has grown over the decades.

    I think we need to look factors they go into helping our children learn, from what they learn at home, including the diligence that parents Meister them up to, to how effective or ineffective given teachers are, and approaches to subjects, Etc.

    Our youngest child, a daughter, age 18, is just about to graduate high school. As our 9th child, I believe my wife and I have a really good idea of how good and bad public education is in Utah.

    I think that the public school model most students Sea and the education they received their in, could be greatly improved.

    Charter schools were allowed in Utah to try to help overcome the deficits of public schools. But I haven't really heard of great success on their part by and large, any more than that of public schools.

    I think that's so many levels We are failing our children in their education. There are great, good, mediocre & bad teachers in our schools. But the whole model is outdated, and doesn't function very well anymore!

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 18, 2018 8:32 a.m.

    The first problem is trying to run a uni like a business. The second is the idea that everyone should go to college. The third is grade inflation in an effort to keep poor students in college.

    Uni should be about education, NOT just 'learning how to do a job' as some have suggested.
    An education is its own reward.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2018 7:47 a.m.

    My concern is that if Universities ( as opposed to 2-yr colleges ) get into the vocational training business, the cost of vocational training will skyrocket. Universities are a high cost operation. And new facilities and equipment ( books alone will not suffice ) will be needed: Being 'University' staff, will not the vocational instructors have a higher salary than if teaching at a 'lowly' Vo-Tech school ?Vocational schools do not need all the trappings of a big University. But, high prices at the University will encourage higher prices at the vocational schools. I do not see competition entering into the picture. The Universities will rationalize that their prestige justifies the higher cost. The vocational schools will say their training has obviously increased in value. The only competition may be salaries; and this will push costs up, not down.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 18, 2018 7:41 a.m.

    My son, until last year, attended UVU in a vocational program. His experience was that teachers knew their stuff (doing it), but many were poor at teaching it. This son of mine went into vocational training to learn skills in a given area. He's not big on academics.

    Even what I observed years ago getting 2 degrees myself at the University of Utah, the quality of teaching (or often, the lack thereof) was often evident to me.

    Sure, we 'graded' our instructors. But, from what I could tell, it made no difference. Like so many surveys businesses from banks to hospitals etc want customers to take, one senses it is more of a CYOA exercise, than necessarily a means to improve how their employees deal with customers.

    And, the cost of all post high school education is exorbitant. When I went to college, we could take the CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests, and get credit for what we already knew.

    Heavens! I was able to test out of an entire year of college. Today, the AP (Advanced Placement) tests don't give anyone much credit for what they know. Rather, it is obvious, colleges want your money, and no small amount of it, either!

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2018 7:06 a.m.

    It costs a fortune to go to school at any of these colleges. 90% of the degrees you get there will land you a job just good enough for you to struggle to make ends meet for 40 years (hoping your student loans are paid off by then) and then wonder how you will be able to ever retire. It's really too bad there is no education available at these colleges that teach you how to actually build wealth and be able to hold on to it. I'm advising my kids take a different path. I'm all for education, but the right education isn't available at the standard university or trade school. There are better ways available for far, far less.

  • Mark from Montana Davis County, UT
    May 18, 2018 5:55 a.m.

    While reforming high education, it is time to look at the millions spent on sports at universities. Why are universities promoting sports programs? Where in their charters does it say to have football, basketball or rugby teams? The last year that I heard about was several years ago, but the state had to kick in about $56 million in tax dollars to cover the shortfall for all college sporting programs. Yes, some are profitable, but the net of all sports at all colleges in Utah was a negative to a large amount that tax payers have to cover. Get sports out of colleges and let them focus on preparing people for life, not acting as a farm team for the NFL, NBA, etc.

  • Legal? Saint George, UT
    May 17, 2018 9:40 p.m.

    Poor return on investment could have a lot to do with students selecting majors which serve little useful purpose in the real world of work, especially with just a bachelors degree.

    Please don't write me "hate" mail back, but the students who choose sociology, psychology, communications and the like are much less likely to find a living wage job than if they were to choose something in a health or tech field. The total requirements and difficulty of classes may deter some, but why waste all that money and time on studies that will not support you or your family.

    I read of one university in the country, although I can't remember which one, who put a surcharge on tuition for students who selected some of the social studies majors because the school had to hire many more instructors to offer those classes.

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2018 8:38 p.m.

    President Holland is so right. Higher education is not meeting the needs of a lot of students and employers yet it continues to suck the economic blood out of students and their families who are getting a poor return on investment - in many cases.

    What is needed is to turn the focus of the Universities to meeting the needs of employers and students and not becoming an empire unto themselves devoted to the enrichment of their administrators and tenured professors - which is what many now have largely become!

    Among solutions that should be considered is to trim general education requirements way down and promote classes that are targeted to develop the skill sets that are needed while simultaneously lowering the cost of education.