Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MCC as a 4 year college

MCC as a 4 year college is an idea whose time has come. Kudos to Representative Crandall for championing their efforts. As we have mentioned before, we need more diversity in our higher education systems, and giving students more options and affordable choices will allow us to grow our workforce and expand the knowledge base.

When you look around to other states, you don't see them locked into a 3 university system. Look at California's system of colleges and universities, look at any countless number of places back east. With the existing population and the desire to continue to attract people well beyond the real-estate boom, education options will be critical to our long-term growth.

Mesa should be pushing for more places in addition to MCC to get into the game. I have also mentioned before that Mesa should embrace ASU Poly as its own university. Like the strides Mesa is taking in aerospace and other industries, the city could easily be positioned to lead the way in promoting solid education as part of this recovery.

Afterall, isn't Education the E in Mesa's HEAT plan?


Heath Reed said...

This is something that many have been talking about for years to a decade long. It needs to happen now. Three universities are far too little for a state with the kind of population we have. There are smaller private universities, but nothing to fit what other people need. Let ASU and UofA be the bigger, more expensive research university. There is a place for higher that offers more challenging degrees. You have the big schools in Caly (Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA etc), average schools then the lower ones. It’s a good option to have.

Utah, a state that has maybe 1/3 of the population as we do has five universities. We should have more then that.

Now I do not have no problem with ASU owning poly and continuing to run it. I think it is a recognized and big name that helps our city and the gateway area. I think it would bring diversity in education Mesa, and give options in what kind of education. I would like to see the school keep the vision of what it was planned originally and keep it alive. Check it out. http://www.asu.edu/cdp/poly.html

Now if they EVER let this happen, just think of what could be in Mesa. ASU Poly, University of Mesa and a higher Ed private university the council has been looking for to relocate at site 17 near the old Mesa General. Shoot, don’t forget about AT Still University either. Plus, you need to keep those community colleges like Red Mtn. Make the extension campuses remain MCC, brown and CC, downtown, Red mtn and gateway area.

I think the University of Mesa sounds the best. Can’t use Mesa State. http://www.mesastate.edu/

Having more options with higher education within Mesa can help transform the area by bringing in higher paid jobs. It will also help attract more companies to locate here with a higher educated base and that influence can run over to our public schools system and bring it back to the glory days when it was one of the best in the country. Its still good, but this could help it out and improve.

We need to get over the boom idea of growth in housing and big box retail. Now this will help out our local economy big time and change what Mesa is, a bedroom community.

I hope this happens, same with other higher education options.

Addler said...

Those who are considering this option should be aware of a few facts. On the positive side, ASU is already one of the largest universities in the country, and budgetary constraints are requiring them to cap enrollment, which, of course, will create more opportunity for other institutions.

In addition, it is always good to have alternatives. It provides the opportunity for wider offerings and programs, and it provides competition to help force all of the institutions to be more community friendly.

However, there are some downsides, and they are not trivial. First, from a practical matter, ASU does not want competition, and it has many state legislators in its back pocket, and it has a powerful lobbying group. Getting this kind of change through the state legislature will be very difficult.

Second, there are other practicalities, such as infrastructure changes, that will need to be addressed. Upper division courses will require some structural changes in both facilities and staff to accommodate courses of that nature. For example, science labs will have to be refitted, and faculty will have to be re-examined since those with masters degrees, who can teach at the community college, are technically not allowed to teach upper division courses. There are many other related considerations as well.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all of these modifications will cost money, and money is in short supply at the state right now.

I think it is a nice idea, but before we jump headlong into such a project, it is important we consider all of the needs and consequences as well.

Heath Reed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heath Reed said...

Its true there is obstacles. No one is saying that there isn’t going to be. But with those “downsides” lies opportunities and right now is probable the best time to explore that. It will be a transition and does not happen over night. Like in the article, they compared to what UVU did and that could be a great model of how this gets done over time. Second of all, if this new school only focuses on as a 4-year/bachelor degrees, they can have teachers that have master’s degrees. Shoot, ASU has some special course taught by those who have master’s degrees and are working professionals. And you know what, many are better teachers then those who have Phd’s because they have working in the real world and are not tied up in theory and their research. They relate better with the students because they can teach them how it really is out in the real world.

Second of all, look at how many people attend the Dobson campus, 22,000 students. That is a good size to have at your finger tips. Second of all, they have a funding source right now. Now most likely that will be broken but can be used due to legislation. Next, yes, they will need additional funding but since they would go to a 4 year university, they can up tuition to help pick up the funding loss. Of course, you don’t up it to what the 3 main schools have, but make it in-between the CC and universities.

No one is admitting it is going to be easy especially with the strong hold of UofA, ASU and NAU. But it needs to happen and the steps need to be taken now in this down economy. Does not mean they start next year, this kind of stuff takes a lot of planning etc.

However, the pros overwhelmingly outweigh the cons when you factor in all of the elements.