UC 411: Private vs. land-grant institutions


There’s more to land-grant institutions than meets the eye. Although private universities are highly prestigious in our society, land-grant universities have many great characteristics that enhance the intellectual skills of the students. Being a student and a faculty member at private institutions for over 40 years and now serving as a Professor at Oklahoma State University, Robert J. Sternberg concludes through his experiences in both types of institutions that land-grant institutions are one of the “highly visible resources this nation has.”

As a society, we often admire institutions with high exclusivity and prestige. However, many of the highly prestigious institutions focus solely on getting really “smart” students with a specific SAT scores and academic record, whereas land-grant institutions  focus on the “value added” in the students through accepting a wide range of students based on different abilities. Such institutions may not be perceived as “elite” institutions but the things they are able to accomplish are a remarkable step towards the education of our students. Land-grant institutions not only focus on how academically smart an individual is but instead focus on how the student can use his intellect to serve his community, which is an extremely important trait to focus upon when building the leaders of tomorrow. Moreover, as the students enter the workforce, they are able to distinguish themselves through their work ethic rather than simply holding a high ranking due to a prestigious school they attended.

Not only are the students able to gain a greater insight and develop valuable skills during their years in college, an education from a land-grant institution continues to reap its fruit in the work ethic of the students and further enhances their ability to play an important role in the society. Being a UC student, we should take full advantage of all the benefits and opportunities that come from attending a land-grant institution and continue to apply these values in our future.

Read More: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/11/29/sternberg

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One response to “UC 411: Private vs. land-grant institutions

  1. Some land grant university chancellors display bad judgement. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

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