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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

No expansion

Now isn’t the time to consider adding Washburn University to the Kansas Board of Regents system.

August 16, 2003

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At a time when state legislators find it difficult to provide adequate funding for the state's higher education program, it is hard to understand why there would be talk about bringing Topeka's Washburn University into the Kansas Board of Regents system.

State tax dollars already are spread too thin to build true excellence at the regents universities, and now, some are talking about placing an additional university under the regents umbrella.

If mediocrity, trying to please everyone and providing duplicate academic programs is the goal of state legislators, the governor and members of the Board of Regents, then adding Washburn to the state system probably would serve that goal.

What the state needs is a major overhaul of its higher education system, the elimination or consolidation of some community colleges, the elimination of an excess of duplicated academic offerings, better use of limited state tax support, better-paid faculty and the development of special areas of excellence on each campus.

Now, however, is not the time to add another university to the state system, particularly when current higher education budgets are so strained, when students and their parents are being asked to pay higher tuition and when Kansas has no master plan to help develop a truly outstanding higher education system. The state needs a visionary, challenging, long-range blueprint for a modern, efficient higher education system that stresses excellence and relevance on all campuses.

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