Thursday, June 11, 2015

Public higher education needs a master plan

Register Guard
June 9th, 2015


Mission creep in public higher education has always worried me, and the worries seem to increase with every passing day.
Most states, including Oregon, have three institutional arrangements when it comes to education beyond high school — community colleges, teaching universities and research universities. This arrangement was pioneered in California and put into place in 1960, thanks to visionary politicians, including Dorothy Donahoe, who represented Bakersfield in the state Assembly. When I taught at California State University in Bakersfield, before moving to Oregon, it was a pleasure to walk through the corridors of DDH — Dorothy Donahoe Hall.
The California plan — the “master plan for higher education” — delineated the roles for the three types of higher education institutions. Through such a clearly demarcated set of responsibilities, taxpayers were assured that resources would not be wasted through unnecessary overlaps among the community colleges and the universities.

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