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 Response Page - Metzen  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
David Metzen Interview of

The Questions:

The Questions: On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how you rate the following options:

1. (9.0 average response) Change required. Post-secondary education must change to become more productive, because of an inevitable funding shortage.

2. (7.4 average response) Quality sacrificed. To maintain the status quo, many insiders/professionals in public post-secondary education appear willing to tolerate a significant decrease in quality.

3. (8.8 average response) Tenure questioned. The question of maintaining faculty tenure should be on agendas for change.

4. (7.1 average response) Change initiated externally.  Policy change in post-secondary education should be initiated outside the institutions themselves.

5. (8.0 average response Partnership required. A broad partnership involving the best thinking from the public, business, labor, K-12 and the post-secondary education sector (public, private non-profit, and private for-profit) should propose fundamental change.

6. (6.6 average response) Authority broadened. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education should be given more authority to initiate proposals for new policy direction, not only serve as an administrative/research body.

Bert LeMunyon   (10)  (5)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (7.5) 7.5)

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

W. D. (Bill) Hamm   (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (0) 0)

1. Change required. Post-secondary, like primary, must chose between participating in the [Coliseum] [and] concentrating [their] monies on education. The collective sports addiction must be dealt with, at least on the financial ledger.

2. Quality sacrificed. God forbid we ever have to think about pulling monies out of athletics for any kind of real advanced education. Sports addicts will again win over quality education supporters.

3. Tenure questioned. While I am not as opposed to tenure at the [college] level, I am strongly in support of review of this practice to make sure it is actually achieving some positive goals for the institution.

4. Change initiated externally. More broad-based public involvement should be practiced over the manipulative "Stakeholder"-based input we are seeing now.

 5. Partnership required. No, return control to locally elected boards and [their] appointees. The last thing we rural folks need is you citiots choosing our representation.      

6. Authority broadened. Again, more elitism and less real public involvement. You can't fix the problem by manipulating the input.

Bruce A. Lundeen   (10)  (5)  (10)  (10)  (10) 5)

1. Change required. I do not recall the majority of fully tenured professors making themselves available to students, nor am I particularly convinced they were conducting significant research.

3. Tenure questioned. It would seem that tenure is abused.  If my impression is correct, the origins of tenure were based on the protections necessary to conduct research that could disprove popular theories.

Dave Broden   (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10) 10)

1. Change required. Change must evolve to address new content, do it more effectively and do it faster, without loss of quality and basic content. The change must occur within the available funds of the student and the organization funding the systems

2. Quality sacrificed. Institution parochialism is a defense mechanism that easily accepts reduced quality to protect the status quo and thus protect individual interests, etc. The status quo is not good enough; we need new thinking, and fundamental in this is that insiders/professionals must participate and accept change.

3. Tenure questioned. The concept of tenure must be reviewed and redefined for its purpose and intent.

4. Change initiated externally. Policy change must come from both inside and outside to gather the scope of ideas that can be effectively and openly accessed and then selected and implemented without status-quo drivers.

5. Partnership required. Ideas must come for all users, those who benefit, those who fund and those who use the services of the educated. All stakeholders must be contributors to build a system that meets the needs and objectives of all.

6. Authority broadened. Agencies that just collect and sort data must be ended. We cannot afford just gatherers --we need ideas and implementers in all agencies.

Anonymous   (10)  (5)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5) 7.5)

Ray Schmitz   (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (5)  (7.5) 2.5)

1. Change required. It should be changing regardless of funding availability; that may be causing issues today, but if it disappeared efficiency should not be eliminated.

2. Quality sacrificed. That is hard to judge. In every system, public and private, there is the 'I have got mine jack' mentality.  The dean with 2 years to go is not going to rock the boat.

3. Tenure questioned. Tenure assures good teaching and good teachers. Would you like to see curriculum wave in the breeze like Texas and some other states?

4. Change initiated externally. The question is what is outside: the board of the institution is in or out, legislature is in or out?

6. Authority broadened. Not enough information.

Peter Hennessey   (2.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (0)  (0) 0)

1. Change required. So sorry if I sound like Clinton, but it depends on what the definition of "productive" or "inevitable" is. Throw in "post-secondary" too.  Four-year colleges (are there any left? most go 5+) used to have a goal, to prepare you for a degree. Is the graduation rate the same as "productivity'? Can't you get an education without the degree?  Yes you can. Community colleges push continuing/adult/life-long education, with or without a degree as your goal.

2. Quality sacrificed. We all know the horror tales. Here is mine. In the Viet Nam era, grade inflation was practiced when the draft board decided to be "selective" and called you if your grades were below a B. By 1972, at least in the two-year colleges in CA, if you showed up in class fairly regularly, you were guaranteed a C. If you did the homework, you were guaranteed a B, and if you showed up for the mid-term and final -- just showed up, not passed -- you were guaranteed an A. It also helped, and now more than ever it still helps a lot, if you agree with the instructor's [politically correct] party line.

3. Tenure questioned. Sure, you can put any topic up for discussion, but what do you want to propose in order to start the discussion? Tenure was found to be important for centuries, beginning back in the bad old days when the king dispensed favors. So now we have a [politically correct] establishment making sure no dissident applicants get tenure. Supposedly the assurance of steady income frees the mind and conscience of the faculty to engage freely in the pursuit of knowledge. It is unclear where merit comes into this, or, lacking competition or fear of insecurity, where the motivation to improve comes from. Yeah, you can put this up for discussion.

4. Change initiated externally. Policy? Does everything have to have a policy? Here is policy:  (1.) decide what your goal is -- instill knowledge for the sake of knowledge, prepare [for] a job, award a prestigious degree to brag about, etc.,  (2.) decide how you get there -- choice of faculty, facilities, text and materials, etc.,  (3.) decide how you measure success, how you monitor progress, etc., (4.) decide how you'll adjust to deviations, innovations and other changes, and (5.) do it.

5. Partnership required. What? More committees? More "soviets"? How about confining the participants to people who actually know what they are doing?   Who decided we need "fundamental change"? Are we inventing a new-fangled concept of "post-secondary" education that the world has never seen before, or are we in fact building on a few thousand years of experience? Are humans today any different than they were in 5000 BC? Plato managed to teach, Pythagoras managed to calculate and Archimedes managed to invent, by scratching in the dirt and on parchment. Technology did not limit their minds and imaginations. Today we still learn by seeing, hearing, reading, thinking, discussing, writing and doing. What changed? Technology? Are you serious?

6. Authority broadened. The higher up, the more remote, the decision makers are from the problem, the worse decisions they will make. Schools were much better when they answered only to the local school board staffed by local parents. They went downhill when States started to dictate terms, and went downhill even faster when we got the federal Department of HEW and eventually the Department of Education. Standards were higher, student performance was higher, teaching quality was higher, teacher satisfaction was higher, administrative staff was minuscule, other overhead costs were lower, etc. etc. etc.

Bob White   (10)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10) 10)

Anonymous   (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5) 7.5)

3. Tenure questioned. The problem is that, then, general public opinion may make administration more difficult in regard to certain subject material and keeping "good" faculty in such positions.  It may require greater participation by others outside the administration to avoid personality clashes or favoritism.  Perhaps [this is] no worse than the present systems.

John Cairns   (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10) 10)

4. Change initiated externally. But the effectiveness of this process necessarily requires strong input/participation by the institutional leaders/staff too.

5. Partnership required. “Propose” would not be my word… such a group should analyze options and suggest priorities.

Ray Cox   (10)  (7)  (10)  (8)  (8) 10)

Post-secondary education should become more productive, but this should not only be driven by a funding shortage. Following that logic one would expect significant declines in productivity if there were a budget surplus. It should be more productive because it is taxpayer supported...period. However, I agree that when there is a budget problem it is easier to institute needed changes. 

I'm not sure the status quo is accepting a decline in quality. It may be that America in general is accepting of a decline in quality, production, and innovation.

I think one of the things that should be examined is the increase in higher education costs comparable with the use of the State Grant Program. It seems like there may be a correlation when you introduce a third-party payer into the equation ([for example, the] costs of higher education increasing at a faster rate once the state grant program hit full stride.)

Robert J. Brown   (10)  (10)  (10)  (8)  (10) 5)

Wayne Jennings   (10)  (10)  (10)  (8)  (10) 10)

Kent Eklund   (9)  (6)  (9)  (6)  (7) 5)

William Kuisle   (10)  (8)  (10)  (10)  (10) 6)

Donald H. Anderson   (7)  (5)  (8)  (6)  (10) 5)

Charles & Hertha Lutz   (9)  (5)  (7)  (6)  (9) 8) 


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

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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