Why is the UW Going Private?

AAUP cross postOver at the AAUP. Amy Hogopian has posted this thoughtfull letter. 

I am not sure how the letter relates to search for yet another administrator, but I do wonder about her comments about privatization.  If PCE is supposed to be self supporting, why shouldn’t the UW treat it like the Athletic Department .. that is why should PCE pay for its indirect costs if the AD does not?

Dear Search committee for the open position of Vice Provost for UW Educational Outreach / Professional & Continuing Education (PCE),

(specifically, Senior Vice Provost Jerry Baldasty, chair, and Libraries Dean Cynthia Fugate, co-chair),
As program director of a PCE-based masters degree program (the Community Oriented Public Health practice program in the Department of Health Services), I hope you’ll take the opportunity of this position opening to consider some of the important implications of the growth of PCE at the UW.
Our entirely privatized degree program places the full cost of their degree on our enrolled students. The cost of faculty salaries, staff support, classroom rentals, and overhead at the UW, PCE, school and department level are all fully loaded into tuition. The state of Washington contributes nothing to the production of this program, although it will certainly benefit from their contributions to the public’s health. COPHP students will pay approximately $8000 per quarter next year to obtain a graduate degree in public health.
Students tell me they are planning significant postponement of (or are giving up on the goals of) having children or buying houses. Students are facing student loan payments in excess of $1000 per month.
As you search for a new Vice Provost position, I hope you will recognize this individual will lead what has become the “privatization arm” of the UW. I think it’s important we think about the philosophical underpinnings of this role. While we certainly want someone to be a successful entrepreneur in the position, we also want someone who understands the serious dangers associated with simply accepting that the state is abandoning its commitment to graduate and professional education.
Thank you for considering these potentially competing issues.
Best wishes,
Amy Hagopian, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Community Oriented Public Health Practice
University of Washington School of Public Health Box 357660, Seattle WA 98195-7660
Office: 206.616.4989  | Health Sciences H-688

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  1. 1

    These programs are such bad news for everyone! I called the GET office, and they have no idea how the GET will work on the fees in PCE programs for graduate students, for example. Years of savings for students and families, all gone. And it is obscene that faculty must pay overhead to UW, rather than receive it.

    Land-grant universities were a huge step in getting education to a diverse group of students. Privatization will reverse that.

  2. theaveeditor #

    I must admit that I am very, very confused about this. Frankly I think we are amidst a massive confusion of terms like public vs. private. Private schools like Harvard use there tax free status (also called tax support) to charge no tuition while public schools, not having the uxury of a tax free endowment, charge massive tuition. Non profit schools like WGU make massive (but non taxable) salaries for their founders and administrators while for profist are overseen to show they actuallt do something for students.

    Meantime, the American heritage of great schools is faltering.