Shirvani’s Higher Ed Plan Didn’t Work When It Was Applied In North Dakota
ShaunAnne Tangney, a Minot State University professor, has a scathing letter in the Grand Forks Herald critical of new North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s new plan for the state’s schools.
Shirvani’s plan was piled high with praise from the state’s higher education apologists who are eager to quickly move past the last couple of years of failure and corruption in the system, but Tangney isn’t satisfied.
“Instead of naively accepting Shirvani’s three-tiered model — a tepid and second-hand version of a higher education strategy that is on the brink of failure in its home state — why don’t we create a new model, our own model, one that allows for individuality and flexibility, innovation and enterprise, originality and resourcefulness?” she asks.
Tangney’s analysis of Shirvani’s plans is spot-on, though I reject her assertion that the legislature hasn’t been supporting higher education in North Dakota. As we can see from this chart, higher education spending in North Dakota has grown at a rate more than 4x faster than enrollment:
The problem with North Dakota’s universities isn’t funding. It’s management.
But back to Shirvani’s plan, and higher education “models” in general, I think the problem with higher education is that we keep trying to impose “models” on it. We keep trying to create education models that wee can just drop students into, but the truth is that every student is different. They have different learning styles. They have different life and career goals.
The problem with higher education is the rigidity we insist on imposing on it through government models. We’d be best served by getting government out of higher education entirely, and let the educators/students work out a model that best works for them.
Shirvani’s proposals, while appealing in theory, are just another way to fail.Tags: hamid shirvani, higher education, minot state university, North Dakota News, ShaunAnne Tangney