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I graduated from KU in 1985. If I had it to do over again I would have pursued my degree from a different university. Even then it didn't live up to the reputation it thought and wanted to believe it had.
People put their treasure where their heart lies. The success of KU Endowment is one measure of satisfaction with KU.
Since this writer prefers anecdotal evidence
KU will always be hampered in this regard by the lazy economy and lack of opportunity for good jobs in the region.
Our legislature is trying to ensure that anyone interested in good schools, an educated work-force, a pro-science and technology outlook, and a good economy will stay away.
These are the people who start new companies and create new high-paying jobs, and the Governor and legislature are doing all they can to keep these people away.
So, if KU does not fare well in job placement, it is in part because of the business climate in Kansas that the Governor and legislature have created.
My daughter will graduate from KU in December and I'd rate her overall experience to be no higher than a 6 out of 10. Beginning with admission and enrollment we started second guessing her decision to go to KU. And quite honestly, the only reason she did go to KU instead of KSU was to be closer to her boyfriend. For the most part we have been very disappointed will the prevailing lack of help and initiative on the part of KU employees. My daughter was never a priority and everyone seemed disinterested or put off whenever she needed any kind of assistance. Other than a handful of professors and intructors her experience has been very disappointing. I will give KU high marks in one area...asking for money!
Our son graduates from high school this month and after an exhaustive amount of research decided to attend Dartmouth College. I'm a KU grad and he has been a dyed in the wool Jayhawk forever. He attended lots of basketball and academic camps at KU growing up, so this is not an I hate KU rant. However, when comparing 4 year graduation rates, student satisfaction with professors, (Dartmouth was rated 1st again this year) responsiveness from the admission's office, contact with his chosen department chair, who has written personal notes to him on two different occasions, we and mainly my son decided on Dartmouth. He made two separate visits to Dartmouth and both were well received in terms of attention to his concerns and answering all of our questions. On his last visit he asked to observe a class and not only was he allowed to do so but asked by the professor to participate in the problem and discuss the results with the rest of the class.
Now I know that Dartmouth with only 4,000 students can do things on a level KU cannot. But as a KU grad I'm sad to see one of our bright kids (scored 35 out of 36 on the ACT) leave the state and probably not return.
I don't blame KU, but if we as Kansas don't get ahold of higher education we are going to witness a big brain drain. If the politicians want to grow the economy then invest in higher education. As a 5th generation Kansan I've always been proud of our schools and the positive light they have always shown on us. But when the State of Kansas only provides an average of 30% to our state supported schools then we can only go one way and that is down in quality and higher in cost to the students.
If you are going to make an extended comparison between KU academics and KU athletics, Mr. Simons, keep in mind just who the students are. They aren't the fans, rooting for victorious season. They aren't "consumers." They are the players. They are the ones who have to perform well if the team KU is going to succeed. Having good coaches is important. So is having good recruiters and good facilities. But if the players don't have natural talent that they have honed through pre-university training, and they don't attend practice regularly, and they don't take full advantage of the guidance their coaches provide, and instead they expend their time on recreational activities, then they aren't going to succeed. Before the students grade KU, they need to grade themselves. If they put out only a "C" effort, then they don't have any grounds for complaining that KU didn't live up to their expectations.
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