Archive for Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brownback tells regents to improve academic rankings of schools

August 17, 2011, 12:32 p.m. Updated August 17, 2011, 5:50 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday told higher education officials that they must improve the academic rankings of Kansas universities and that he has no problem with raising admission standards at the schools.

But the Republican governor also told the Kansas Board of Regents not to expect much extra funding for higher education. He warned of tight budget times ahead because of pressures to cut the federal budget.

“Our revenues are starting to come back as a state, but they are not coming back as fast as we are losing federal monies,” he said.

He said Kansas schools need to focus on core strengths and that may mean that some less-used degree programs should be disbanded.

Brownback’s comments came during a wide-ranging discussion with the regents, which completed its three-day retreat.

Regent Robba Moran of Hays said she agreed with Brownback’s position. “The more specific and targeted we are, totally makes sense,” she said.

Brownback said the regents should set goals for the higher education system, measure them and implement consequences if the marks aren’t met.

He cited the U.S. News & World Report ranking of Kansas University, Kansas State University and other regents schools, and said improvement must be made. In the 2010 report, KU ranked 47th among national public universities and K-State, 66th.

“We have got to do better than that,” Brownback said. He said improving the quality of the higher education is key to reversing negative economic trends.

“You have probably the best asset pool we have to change these numbers,” he told the regents.

Since a sizable portion of the academic rankings deals with admission standards, Brownback said he would support individual universities tightening standards as long as Kansas high school graduates still had the opportunity to attend a regents school.

Brownback also said he wants to increase emphasis on technical training in high schools and colleges, saying that most future jobs will require some kind of technical skill.

Regent Dan Lykins of Topeka noted that for the first time in history, tuition is making up more of funding higher education than state appropriations. He asked Brownback if that will continue.

Brownback answered, “It’s going to be very competitive for state dollars for some time.”


plainspeaking 6 years, 7 months ago

It will be tough to cut personal and corporate state income taxes and provide funding for higher education at the same time.

coderob 6 years, 7 months ago

"...we are losing federal monies."

Yes we are. And it was Brownback that sent them back.

guesswho 6 years, 7 months ago

It will be hard(er) to recruit and retain quality faculty and graduate students when arts and public education are slashed. That will then make it harder to attract good students, which will make it more difficult to improve rankings.

somedude20 6 years, 7 months ago

Brownie, it is the goal of you evil christian tea morons to make people dumber so that they believe your outlandish lies and fear your sweet god.
You people are devolution(ists) with a bang!!!

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

Points out how far KU slud under the Heminway leadership! That's what you get when you associate yourself with a SEC school (Kentucky); home of Mitch McConell, The Creation Museum and soon to be Noah's Ark.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

Here's a thought. How about if we adequately fund education at all levels rather than demanding that everyone magically shapes up to some magazine's arbitrary ranking standard, "or else."

Jimo 6 years, 7 months ago

Brownback certainly has quite a 'Michael Vick' sense of humor.

LogicMan 6 years, 7 months ago

What are the quickest, easiest ways that KU can improve its overall rankings?

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, Sam, that's kinda hard to do these days, you see someone has been cutting education funding...ah wait a minute...that was YOU.

question4u 6 years, 7 months ago

Where exactly should KU aspire to be ranked, if not at #47 among public universities?

Surely not among USNews & World Report's top ten.

UC Berkeley UCLA Virginia Michigan North Carolina William and Mary Georgia Tech UC San Diego UC Davis UC Santa Barbara

The top 20 seems a stretch.

UC Irvine Washington Texas Wisconsin Penn State Illinois Florida Ohio State Purdue Georgia

Breaking the top 30 anytime soon doesn’t seem likely.

Maryland Texas A&M Clemson Rutgers Minnesota Pittsburgh Connecticut Virginia Tech Colorado School of Mines UC Santa Cruz

The top 40?

Iowa Indiana Delaware Miami, OH Michigan State SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Alabama Auburn SUNY Binghamton Colorado

In the top 50, these universities are ranked slightly higher than KU. :

UC Riverside Missouri Vermont SUNY Stony Brook Massachusetts–Amherst

Where is the terrible problem with having a ranking of #47?

TecmoSuperBowlChristianOkoye 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the universities should consider holding a prayer rally or maybe marrying another, more successful, university?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. Let's start with Emporia State and Fort hays State.

sci4all 6 years, 7 months ago

FHSU is probably safe - it has the lowest tuition and fastest-growing student body of all the Regents schools.

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

He wants to raise admission standards as long as they remain "a Kansas High school graduate" can be admitted. That is the current admission standard. He wants things different but to stay the same, to improve but be on the cheap. Watta guy. He robs the poor to pad the richest pathways.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 7 months ago

I think he is saying that not all Kansas regent's universities should raise their standards. KU can be selective, but others (Pitt State, Fort Hays State) must still take any dullard from a Kansas high school.

pittstatebb 6 years, 7 months ago

This is simply not true anymore. You can find current qualified admissions here:

This however does not take into account that regents schools are allowed 10% of their admits to no meet qualified admissions, as we must have sports!

funkdog1 6 years, 7 months ago

You mean Brownback wants the universities to make sure that kids understand the earth is more than 6,000 years old?

sci4all 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, but there's the rub - "some less-used degree programs" should be cut. It'll be easy enough for Brownback to find a way to juggle the program numbers to show that geosciences, biology, and astronomy programs will get the axe.

Don't worry though - he'll find a way to require Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 for degree completion.

Bradley Kemp 6 years, 7 months ago

The higher ranked schools are in states that made a commitment to higher education and maintained funding through good times and bad. We can hardly expect to rise in the rankings -- any rankings -- when we pinch our universities during good times and assault them during bad.

At this point, the only realistic option for the regents is to streamline -- to close institutions that exist solely for geographic appeasement and then divert resources to schools that are capable of better rankings if they have greater resources.

Unfortunately, I think governor Brownback would rather close KU than Fort Hays State. Not that he fundamentally cares about either institution; I think his current ambition is a cabinet position in a Rick Perry presidential administration.

vuduchyld 6 years, 7 months ago

Isn't this what the republicans used to call "unfunded mandates"?

Welcome to Brownbackistan...our new theocracy:

Ceee 6 years, 7 months ago

FYI: Business Week in its August 7, 2011 issue ranked areas in business schools...not schools themselves, areas within the schools. KU's Undergraduate Accounting Program came in 17th nationwide, and 7th if you just list public universities. Business Law did well too, but I don't recall the ranking....perhaps 28th?

tonidixon 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, the KU School of Business' undergrad program is ranked 17th in the nation and 7th among public universities by Businessweek. Also the Business Law program is listed 28th in the nation. Check it out, here:

Also, the Business School's Supply Chain Management program is ranked 20th overall across the nation. Read more here:

Betty Bartholomew 6 years, 7 months ago

"Brownback also said he wants to increase emphasis on technical training in high schools and colleges, saying that most future jobs will require some kind of technical skill."

That's right, schools are nothing more than worker-bee factories. Screw enlightenment and critical thinking!

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