Latest Statistics on Incoming Students - SAT/ACT (10/11), HS top 10% (11/11)
The Morrill Hall crew insists on comparing us with a self-selected group of public institutions, some of which are totally inappropriate. BigTen school numbers (our natural competition) would be better.
But let's have a look. It is educational and indicative of the absurdity of "ambitious aspirations to be one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]."
1. Students Graduating Top 10% of HS Class (11/11)
2. SAT/ACT Scores of Incoming Students (10/11)
I want to make it clear that I do not believe the above data are the reason for our poor performance in graduation rate. It should be noted that Penn State incoming students have comparable numbers and yet they are leaders in graduation rates. What is important is the job we do with the students we admit. As I tell my undergrad researchers: if you do well at Minnesota, you can write your own ticket. You can go anywhere and do anything. What more could one ask from a state university?
Well maybe a decent graduation rate - and we are last among our self-selected peers and last in the Big Ten. So where are our priorities? President Bruininks? Provost Sullivan?
Another bad effect of ratcheting up admission standards is that we are squeezing out qualified Minnesota students to the benefit of those from out of state. This allows the Morrill Hall crew to "improve" numbers for USNews. The fire sale on out of state tuition has the same effect.
Why are we subsidizing out of state tution? Now the administration will claim that this is not so, we charge them $2,000 more per semester. Why is it that our legitimate competition charges more like $10,000 per semester? If you can't compete on quality, compete on price?
The claim has been made that out of state students - at these fire sale rates - are paying full freight. How about some numbers on this matter? I think the state legislature and many citizens would be very interested in learning exactly how much the university spends to educate an undergraduate for one year at the university of Minnesota and details on how this money is spent.
The clock is ticking on the ambitious aspirations of President Bruininks and Provost Sullivan. It started in 2004 and we are now at about the half-way point. Given that essentially no progress has been made vis-a-vis our self-selected peer group, perhaps the strategic propaganda initiative should cease?
Instead of stubbornly chanting the same mantra, perhaps it is time for them to change course and establish new priorities in light of the dire financial situation. Learn to play with the cards you've got? Stop riding the same horse endlessly around and around in circles? Aim for being one of the top schools in the BigTen?
Ah, I guess I'm just a doubter, President Bruininks?
I've been here as long as you have, President Bruininks, and the current condition of the University of Minnesota reminds me of the biblical verse:
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Is the soul of the University of Minnesota that of a state university or are we a world university? Do we have an obligation, primarily, to educate the youth of this state or of the world?
If the Morrill Hall crowd wants to become essentially a private university, then so be it:
"Raise that tuition, dig that gravel, buy that Coke, push that credit card, fill that stadium, take the Pepsi money, take tthe Medtronic money, tolerate double dippers, sell that soul..."