Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ASU: Touching Tomorrow while Scorching Today

Dr. Shirley Eoff described ASU's Honors Program as fitting exceptionally well with the university's mission and strategic plan, which emphasize community service/involvement.  She indicated the program to be a best practice.  It is being copied by universities in three states.  Her message described the strong support of administration.  That changed recently and abruptly, much to everyone's surprise. 

On Thursday April 7, Provost and Vice President Anthony Blose met with Honors students.  He indicated closure of the program to be a strategic change, albeit one made without input from staff or student members.  The university wished to shift emphasis to providing research opportunities for lesser accomplished students.

An Honors student at my table questioned Blose on the timing of the announcement, given the budget reduction plan was due to Texas Tech the next day.  Blose responded that managers don't give notice to those being cut.  The student took the response as a contraindication of the Provost's prior "strategy" reason, i.e. a flip flop.  The timing wasn't coincidence, but cause and effect.

That's the problem with smart students.  They can detect dishonor.  My guess is those remaining will watch the University grow its Average Student Research Center.  How long before it gets staff and funding?  It may well be the next biennium.  Higher education funds are scarce as rain.  Things may have to burn awhile.

Update 4-19-11:  ASU's strategic direction for 2011 included "Enhance the Honors program (including increasing enrollment to 10% of the student population).  What a difference a legislative session makes?

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