Goals for State Colleges Admirable

Jim Carlin makes this week's column easy to write. He did all the work.

Jim Carlin is a businessman. Let's just say he's a very successful businessman worth I don't know how many million.

When one of Massachusetts' major cities got into trouble--deep, deep, deep financial trouble--the Governor sent Jim Carlin in to turn things around. And he did.

Now, Jim Carlin is chairman of the Board of Higher Education. The Governor figured Jim Carlin could put a new spin on the business conducted on the state's 29 campuses.

You see Jim Carlin--he's one of those guys you always seem to refer to by both names--in the headlines and on the news. Advocating free, or lower tuition, or working on the statewide policy for alcohol on campus, for example.

Behind the scenes he's put together some pretty ambitious goals for our state colleges, including Westfield State College. A year ago he had a dozen goals. He's up to twenty, now. His goals and objectives are to:

· Increase admission standards

· Lower tuitions and fees

· Reduce remedial education

· Do remedial teaching at community colleges

· Route more students to four-year campuses by way of community colleges

· Reduce administrative and overhead costs

· Put pressure on cities and towns to improve K-12 performance

· Eliminate or consolidate low demand and duplicative programs

· Centralize research activities at U-Mass and keep state colleges in the teaching business

· Increase professors' teaching loads

· Get fewer graduate students teaching and more professors teaching

· Bring technology into the 21st Century on all campuses

· Fix up campuses and make they more visually attractive

· Eliminate or change tenure--or develop an alternative to tenure, or develop a workable post-tenure review system

· Empower and build the authority of campus presidents and boards of trustees

· Offer courses at private institutions to students who attend our public colleges and universities

· Get students into college and out of college--with a surcharge for "professional students"

· Direct incentive dollars to campuses that really produce quantifiably measurable results and not to campuses that are just doing an adequate job

· Increase private fund raising

· Cause our system to be clearly better in the year 2005 than it was in 1995, with applications up, acceptances down and retention and graduate rates increased

Jim Carlin wants everyone to agree that when a man or woman gets a degree from one of our public institutions that that degree means something. Bottom line, according to Jim Carlin, is to create one of the best--if not the best--state college systems in the country.

We all hope he can.

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