It was another day in an endless string of days. Yet another class I was not particularly fond of. At that time I was unaware of the BSU-NTC recalibration plan. Not alone in my ignorance we spent the first few minutes of class discussing what had transpired and its impact. Budget cuts are an evil nobody wants to face even if you call it something fancy like recalibration. BSU is not alone, all over the globe there are changes being made to universities at large.
I feel as many do college is worth it and a Liberal education is important. I began school with one goal in mind. Get in, get out, get a job. At times the nauseating amount of fluff I was required to take left me doubting if a degree was worth it. When 15% of mail carriers have Bachelor degrees and 8 out of the 10 job categories that will add the most employees during the next 10 years will not require a degree, maybe it’s time to be a little more practical. Is college about making better people or getting them jobs or both? I would have said it was about getting me a job. In a bottom line society were college is an investment you should expect cuts to departments that don’t meet the current needs. Unfortunately how you determine what is or is not meeting the current needs is so subjective consensus is all but impossible.
The human aspect is one context that’s hard to get away from. The teachers that moved their family cross-country in hopes of a new start, only to be told thanks but no thanks. The students that mid stream must now reevaluate their choice of school or even their major. Having first hand experience with starting over I know how overwhelming life changes can be. The career path I was on lasted 15 years before a foggy future sent me in another direction. Now I spend my days bouncing between my own children at home and kids 1/2 my age in class. When you believe in something to the point you make it a major part of your life unwanted changes can seem particularly unfair. It’s a shame our realities are so closely tied to the bottom line on an accountants spreadsheet. The writing on the wall seems to support the idea that more extreme bottom line changes are on the way.
The trend has been for schools to shift the way they hire. Going from tenured faculty to an unsecured easy to let go work force. This is not exactly a new trend but the days of publish or perish must seem like the golden years to those getting axed after only two semesters. David Nagel referring to an Ambient Insight forecast believes by 2014 most students will be taking the lion share of their classes online. What people want to learn and how has changed and will change even more. Learning networks, MOOC’s, D2L, Google, CengageBrain, Wiley, plus an endless amount of other ways to obtain education are only the start. I feel BSU has a foot in the right direction but have yet to fully embrace the future. Unless more effort is made to change with the times I fear more and more cuts are ahead. I have no silver bullet notions but after my years attending Bemidji State University I can say there are barriers that need to be addressed when it comes to online versus traditional seat time education. There seems to be an attempt to preserve the traditional income sources rather than embracing the future. The future will come things will change prepared or not.