URGENT: Presidents’ Mtg tonight at Town Hall

WA State Presidents Promote  Higher Education Funding in Washington

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00pm

Great Hall; enter on 8th Avenue. $5.

I spoke with a reporter who will be attending this tonight.  He asked me a lot of questions … more about areas of controversy than about the expected common  PR stand.

Here are some issues that may come up tonight:

1. Despite the prominence of the UW and several other Washington State Colleges, Washington State ranks near the bottom in preparing tis students for jobs.

2. The UW is ranked among the world’s best universities. Should the UW compete with the public ivies (Berkeley, UNC, U Michigan, UCLA) or  it be downgraded to a more typical state school status?  Governor Perry of Texas has advocated “accountability” changes that I see as intended to do just that in his state

3. Strange Bedfellows: McDermott and Perry! Our own Congressman, Jim McDermott has echoed Gov. Perry with similar arguments against elite medical schools like the UWSOM. arguing in the New England Journal, that the public should be spending its moneys trade schools intended only to turn out primary care physicians.  Apparently Jim does not know that the UW is ranked number one i training primary care physicians!

In the meantime, Washington state cutbacks threaten support for higher education in postgraduate medical residency programs.

Federal cutbacks threaten the UW School of Medicine and the Hutch as leading centers for disease research. Not only McDermott, but the candidates for the new 1st District  .. avowed liberals like Darcy Burner, Linda Rudderman, and Suzan DelBene, seem unaware of the drastic effects such cutbacks at thew UW would have on Seattle’s struggling efforts in biotech. Despite the “natural support” of our research community for Democrats, Democratic neglect of this non partisan issue could give an opening to the GOP in this evenly split District.

2. Free Lunch Reuven Carlyle (State Representative for Seattle North of the Ship Canal) has filed legislation to this effect and is likely to be in the audience.  There is real concern that the legislation would challenge faculty ownership of the intellectual property that goes into textbooks.

At the same time, anyone who goes to iTUNES University will be shocked to find that unlike thew other elite schools, the UW has essentially NO presence on this prominent site.

4. Officially we now have SEVEN Washington State Universities.  Why isn’t Western Governors University of Washington  represented among the six Presidents? WGU is another major issue dividing the legilature and the six state universities.  Our state legislators overwhelmingly approved adding this  online “non profit” private institution as a state school, supposedly because it as a way of cutting costs.  As discussed extensively here, it is my opinion that WGU is a “Potemkin” school that profits its founders, including its $800,000 President Robert Mendenhall, at the expense of its misled students.

5. Can the Branch Campuses be Justified?  UWB and UWT lose money.  That is the simple fact and the inevitable result of creating teaching campuses that neither bring in research dollars nor have the resources to train students in the “STEM”(sciences, technology, engineering, and medicine) fields that are seen as creating jobs.  How does UW Prof.  Ed Lazowska’s report affect the State’s spending at UWB and UWT?

6. What is the role of the community colleges and why are they not represented? Should UW and WSU become two year schools?  The legislature seems to be heading to a “two year” model where students get their freshman and sophomore education at the community colleges .  One community college, Bellevue, ha snow gone one step further and offering its own bachelor’s degrees.

7. Princeton is Cheaper than the UW!  While Washington State has put a huge share of higher ed costs on the back of the student paying tuition, the sad reality is that the actual cost of attending the private ivies is far less than the cost of attending the UW. 

Should WA state offer to subsidize our students who can get into Princeton? 

Is the US already subsidizing non US students at Yale Singapore?

8. Football vs Comp Sci.  Despite puffery, the data I read says that the Huskies, like most other professional college teams , either make no money or lose money.  Our academic peers in the Ivies also attract star players but they set their academic standards for these great kids far higher than we do at the UW.   At the same time we are taking out a loan of $200,000,000 to pay of a new stadium.  Does this make sense financially or politically i  such hard times?

The conversation, which will also include business leaders representing Microsoft and Boeing, will be moderated by Seattle Times Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley and Times business columnist Jon Talton.


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