Our colleges and universities are being confronted with “hard choices” as a result of the Wuhan Virus situation.
Every source of funding is in doubt. Schools face tuition shortfalls because of unpredictable enrollment and market-driven endowment losses. Public institutions are digesting steep budget cuts, while families are questioning whether it’s worth paying for a private school if students will have to take classes online, from home.
To brace for the pain, colleges and universities are cutting spending, freezing staff salaries, and halting plans for campus building.
But in bracing for that pain, colleges and universities don’t seem to be considering their curricula. They don’t seem to be considering cutting out the fluff and froo-froo courses that have proliferated—courses like women’s studies, gender studies, sexuality studies. Courses like intersectionality.
Colleges and universities don’t seem to be considering deemphasizing intercollegiate sports—most programs of which lose money and all programs of which have lost the student athlete aspect and, with NCAA approval, have codified their semi-pro athlete aspect.
Colleges and universities don’t seem to be considering focusing their instructional programs on things that will prepare their students for making their way in the real world of post graduation: skills like critical thinking, skills like doing the work the businesses in our economy need done, whether building or programming computers, building or programming or operating factory equipment, business skills associated with operating farms and businesses.
Colleges and universities are failing the challenge.