Back to the Drawing Board: How to Recreate the Outstate University and Finally Give Students Their Money’s Worth
The University of Wisconsin System is rightly considered one of the jewels of the state, providing a quality college education to tens of thousands of Wisconsinites every year. However, our universities do not perform all that well in several important aspects. Student attrition is unacceptably high, with a large proportion of students bailing out after their first year. The majority of students in the System fail to complete a four-year degree in four years. Many take longer than six – or fall by the wayside.
Our colleges right now spend a disproportionate amount of resources on matters that have a peripheral connection to actually educating students. The plethora of deans, associate deans, athletic department employees and the like takes resources away from what should be the primary mission: educating young men and women so they can lead fulfilling and productive lives.
This report advocates for a university with a singular focus: educating young men and women. There are few new schools being created these days for the simple reason that it can be very costly and complicated to do so. We recognize that, but at the same time hope we can begin the much-needed process of recreating universities built for a different time
The report also recommends in the near term tying state funding for all schools to key metrics, including first-year attrition rates, graduation rates, ratios of students to administrators and, ultimately, employment success for graduates.