‘Seven Solutions’ Would Drive Away Top Talent, UT Dean Says

Photo by Marsha Miller

Implementing a series of proposals that advocate a business-style, market-driven approach to college education would leave Texas lagging behind other states and drive off top students and faculty, according to a new report released today.

In the strongest language yet to come out of The University of Texas, College of Liberal Arts dean Randy Diehl has authored a point-by-point refutation of the much-discussed “seven solutions” for higher education put forth by Jeff Sandefer and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The 20-page document addresses the solutions in detail, pointing out what Diehl describes as the dangers of applying simple tools and one-size-fits-all fixes to a complex teaching and research university like UT.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The University’s graduation rates, low tuition, and limited state support suggest it is already a national leader in promoting efficiency and excellence.
  • Using salaries, class sizes, and student evaluations as the main ways to measure quality betrays an oversimplified understanding of teaching and learning.
  • Similar initiatives to the proposed solutions have been introduced elsewhere and have yet to demonstrate significant success.
  • Research at The University of Texas at Austin has an impact in the classroom and well beyond campus. Separating research and teaching would fundamentally change the mission of the university.
  • For-profit educational institutions do not provide models of efficiency or fiscal responsibility.
  • Competitive market forces can play a productive role in promoting excellence in higher education but the classroom should not be treated as a marketplace.

The University also announced today the formation of a new task force on graduation rates, chaired by Dean Diehl, who will issue a report by December.

See how news organizations have covered the report:

Excellence and Efficiency at The University of Texas at Austin


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