Providing a non-partisan model for generating and sharing          

    essential information on public issues and proposed solutions              

10th Anniversary :  2005- 06 to 2015-16

   
                                                                                                  About Civic Caucus   l   Interviews & Responses  l   Position Reports   l   Contact Us   l   Home  


 Response Page - Adams  Interview -      
                                                                      Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.

These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the 
John Adams  Interview of
01-30-2015.

OVERVIEW

University of Minnesota Emeritus Professor John Adams is concerned about the impact of careerism and poor leadership skills on efforts to improve postsecondary education's role in the formation of human capital in Minnesota. He says that through the 1950s and 1960s, most people working at the University of Minnesota (U of M) felt their job was a mission-directed vocation, one whose primary focus was on helping other people. According to Adams, now many people at the U of M, especially the younger faculty, worry more about tenure, raises and promotions and seem to feel that the University exists to give them a good job. And he believes middle managers in Minnesota's public colleges and universities are often ill suited for the job and even further hindered by the rigidities of faculty union contracts at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system institutions.

He prescribes three action targets (and specific ways to reach them) to help improve the role of higher education in meeting Minnesota's workforce needs: (1) Enhance the active cooperation of school districts, high school counselors and vocational-technical colleges to widen the paths to job training for high school students who might not be four-year-college-bound; (2) Clarify the distinctive missions of each segment of MnSCU--community colleges, technical colleges and state universities--with the aim of reining in mission drift; and (3) Upgrade middle-management skills in Minnesota's colleges and universities.

Adams believes we must reexamine the merger of the technical colleges with the community colleges and four-year colleges into MnSCU. He says we've muted the value of the technical colleges by pulling them out of their local communities and putting them into the MnSCU system. We should, instead, try to figure out how to reconnect the technical colleges with their local school districts and the needs of the state's regional economies. And he suggests eliminating the barrier between grades 12 and 13 for students following the technical education route.

For the complete interview summary see: Adams interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. (8.7 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (8.4 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Teachers should focus on helping. (8.9 average response) Postsecondary educators should be more concerned about helping others than about their own personal raises, promotions and tenure.

4. Reject "white collar/blue collar" labels. (8.9 average response) Classifications of "white collar" and "blue collar" should be abandoned because they are inaccurate and perpetuate negative public attitudes toward vocational and technical jobs.

5. Promote technical college opportunities. (9.1 average response) To keep four-year college opportunities in perspective, high school students should receive far more exposure to the potential opportunities available at two-year technical colleges.

6. Restrain college mission expansion. (8.8 average response) Minnesota's Governor and Legislature should restrain efforts of two-year public colleges to become four-year colleges and four-year public colleges to become universities.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. (8.9 average response) Rather than stressing allegiance primarily to their own departments, college and university deans and other administrators should see their roles predominantly as implementing the established vision of the institution's governing board.

8. Align technical colleges with school districts. (8.0 average response) Technical colleges should be more closely aligned operationally with local school districts than with academic colleges and universities.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

7%

7%

27%

60%

15

2. Further study warranted.

0%

0%

20%

27%

53%

15

3. Teachers should focus on helping.

0%

0%

20%

7%

73%

15

4. Reject "white collar/blue collar" labels.

0%

7%

7%

13%

73%

15

5. Promote technical college opportunities.

0%

0%

13%

20%

67%

15

6. Restrain college mission expansion.

0%

7%

7%

13%

73%

15

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision.

0%

0%

7%

33%

60%

15

8. Align technical colleges with school districts.

0%

7%

13%

33%

47%

15

Individual Responses:

Bert LeMunyon (10) (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (10)
3. Teachers should focus on helping. I think this is where the Unions sure [are] a barrier.

Ray Ayotte (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Kevin Edberg (5) (5) (5) (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (7.5)
2. Further study warranted. The interview was long on personal feeling/observation/position...some of which rung true. The underlying actionable data or analysis was missing.

3. Teachers should focus on helping. Seems that there is a legitimate place for an educator to be "concerned" about their ability to have on-going employment. I'm not sure that "concern" is the right framing. "Delivery on mission" might be better.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. External framing of the organization's mission and the internal commitment to deliver on mission are both critical. Systems of accountability to ensure delivery rounds out the conversation.

Rick Theisen (2.5) (5) (5) (10) (5) (5) (5) (5)
3. Teachers should focus on helping. This question suggests an either/or approach to an issue that is certainly more nuanced. The implication is that educators ought to offer their services with little or no attention to raises, promotions or tenure. If this is an acceptable question for educators then we should also ask expect the "correct answer" from the corporate leadership of this country. The reality is that their words and actions suggest that income and status are extremely important. The "either/or approach" is simply not an accurate reflection of reality in any career, especially with the implication that it is a zero sum game. I am somewhat familiar with the Political Science people at the U. I am not sure they would prefer to be known as anti-union, which is the implied suggestion made in the interview.

5. Promote technical college opportunities. The real question, with the loss of an incredible number of jobs to other countries, is whether a sufficient supply of jobs/careers exist[s] for two year tech graduates.

6. Restrain college mission expansion. Two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities should require their teachers or professors to actually have teaching skills. An advanced degree may be appropriate preparation for research. It has little or no relationship to the capacity to teach.

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
5. Promote technical college opportunities. I suggest employing technical school counselors aligned with the technical schools that work with high school teachers and identify students whose education should be at a technical school. Perhaps consider a preliminary technical school orientation for students and parents and then a scheduled visit at a technical school including regional employers to communicate their needs. Regional employers should be provided with the opportunity to educate the faculty at the technical school by having the technical faculty observe the business operations. Schedule regular technical school/business continuing education.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. Add continuing/maintaining the established vision.

8. Align technical colleges with school districts. Thank you, John.

Wayne Jennings (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5)
1. Topic is of value. Adams’ clarification of mission and actual performance was convincing.

2. Further study warranted. It may take a tsunami of evidence to change postsecondary education from within. It won't happen, and only the Legislature can override resistance. "The monks won't destroy the monastery."

3. Teachers should focus on helping. Adams accurately described the current scene but I don't know how it can be changed without an institutional bypass. That may be happening with new technologies.

4. Reject "white collar/blue collar" labels. It's most unfortunate that students look down on many vocational careers. It adds to classism and educators have done that to us.

5. Promote technical college opportunities. This would help enormously as kids have no idea of how the world works.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. They should be evaluated on these measures. What gets measured gets done.

8. Align technical colleges with school districts. Tech colleges need greater autonomy and accountability. Mixing them with academic institutions adds to the mystique of "college" education versus "vocational" ed. It adds to classism.

Frank Long (10) (10) (10) (2.5) (10) (10) (10) (10)
1. Topic is of value. Refreshing realistic assessment of problems and rational, workable solutions.

2. Further study warranted. Yes, from a results oriented point of view with examples of success that do not require more financial resources. The lack of "bang for the buck" from our University systems has diminished and this interview gave great insight from the institutional point of view.

3. Teachers should focus on helping. Obviously; what measures to insure/require this mindset?

4. Reject "white collar/blue collar" labels. All are vocations, but the distinction between the trades and "professionals" are readily apparent and changing labels or language won't change reality. A better use of language might be to emphasize the real tangible results of production in the trades/technical fields.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. Just like in the Private Sector where a knowledge of overall logistics and other departments’ requirements can increase efficiency exponentially. I would have expected this to be implemented in higher education.

8. Align technical colleges with school districts. In the seventies I took a vocational course at a Technical College while in high school through a partnership with the school system. While that course did not become my primary vocation, it did add value, both through the knowledge acquired, but also from the psychological impact of a sense of accomplishment from learning something "useful" while completing my academic requirements. It was a great introduction into the vocational system, and had I chosen to pursue that vocation, my credits would have gone to my continuing education in the field. This is an investment students looking past High School can easily grasp.

Vici Oshiro (10) (10) (10) (5) (5) (7.5) (10) (5)
3. Teachers should focus on helping. Strongly agree but this reflects a broad development of insecurity in our economy and society. In part this results from globalization. Until Americans learn how to come to terms with the fact that other economies are becoming stronger, we'll live with many confusing changes in our lives.

7. Administrators must focus on broader vision. But be realistic about employees’ needs and priorities.

Don Fraser (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5)

Dave Durenberger (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5)
6. Restrain college mission expansion. By all means.

8. Align technical colleges with school districts. And restructure school districts. John [should] be Governor.

Leigh Lenzmeier (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
The challenge of contemporary higher ed is to get information students need when they need it and not focusing on "degrees". Since they are not able to do so, online education has exploded to fill the void and will continue to do so. The current Walker experiment in Wisconsin is an attempt to respond, but even that is too slow. There is a lot of hypocrisy in higher ed. Lip service is paid to the priority of student focus, but in reality the student is at the bottom of the food chain.

Alan Miller (8) (8) (5) (8) (9) (2) (7) (2)
Colleges are mainly manned by adjuncts, poorly paid and often excluded from department meetings, etc. Yet they are the glue that holds the fabric together. On the whole, academicians (excluding administration which is often overpaid) should be paid on a scale commensurate with full-time employees, because their motivations generally involve concern for the students, not the position.

Chuck Lutz (9) (7) (10) (10) (9) (8) (9) (8)

Tom Spitznagle (10) (9) (10) (10) (9) (10) (10) (10)
Very insightful interview.

David Detert (8) (5) (9) (10) (10) (10) (8) (10)
I was once on a local school board. All of this was a topic of discussion 25 years ago and here we are no further along than we were then or even worse. My question is how do we get off ground zero?

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (executive director), Dwight Johnson, Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
 Dan Loritz (chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman


©
The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

contact webmaster
 

 

 

Hit Counter