Thursday, January 4, 2018

No Surprise—Higher Ed Study Recommends No Change

A study led by the Higher Education Department that recommended no change in the structure of higher education in New Mexico wasn’t quite as ridiculous as it sounds. That’s because the study group was responding to a joint memorial from the 2017 legislature instructing that the department to compare New Mexico higher education with other states.
So that’s what the group did—play by the imposed rules.
Apparently nothing creative appeared.
My reaction to the headline, “Higher ed panel doesn’t endorse consolidation,” was that here we had another instance of the fox being assigned to review the condition of the chicken coop. A prominent such circumstance was a couple of years ago when the transportation department review the status of the commuter railroad, which it runs. NO, DOT’s repot said, we can’t do anything with the railroad except continue to lose millions each year.
To a certain extent, we did have a chicken coop exercise, but the group was just playing within the assigned rules. Still, when Western New Mexico President Joe Shepard co-leads the group, it can be expected that he will defend “local control.” Yet Western leads my list for structural change, as in from a four-year school into two-year school and perhaps closing Western’s programs in Deming or Truth or Consequences or turning them over to New Mexico State which will have greater administrative capability.

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