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ERIC Number: EJ832533
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb-27
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Cost Experts Discuss Colleges' Responsibilities during Hard Times
Carlson, Scott
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n25 pA21 Feb 2009
Cornell University professors, trustees, and alumni recently convened to consider whether rising costs threaten the notion that higher education can help anyone in America succeed. The exclusive Cornell Club may have seemed a venue at odds with the sober tone of the discussion. According to economics professor and higher education expert Ronald G. Ehrenberg questions whether it will be possible to increase the fraction of the population that receives college degrees and to reduce the inequality of college-completion rates. Dr. David J. Skorton, university president, spoke of the costs of running Cornell, acknowledging the widespread perception that higher-education institutions are undisciplined with their budgets and are ill-equipped to adjust to an economic environment that may be severe for years to come. Skorton said colleges should try to figure out ways to improve their productivity without cutting employees' salaries or increasing their workload, possibly through technology. He also said colleges should do what they can to protect and preserve jobs, noting that Cornell is the biggest employer between Albany and Buffalo. He also urges colleges to take a more active role in trying to help the country emerge from this quagmire, by pursuing research that will bring tangible benefits to the economy, through technology transfer and marketable inventions, and by encouraging more academics to take prominent roles in helping to form public policy. To the alumnus who asked whether Ezra Cornell's goal to "found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study" was at odds with an increasingly common strategy in which colleges support their most successful programs and cut the less popular or useful ones, Skorton admitted that the only way to really save money at a university is to stop doing something, a choice between unpleasant alternatives. But, he said, one cannot continue to reduce support across the board, because all the programs suffer. Depending on how long the downturn lasts, he said, he may have to start making those unpleasant decisions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York