UMass Headache

This article is a prime example of why the University of Massachusetts university system will never reach the stature of other state public university systems like University of Michigan, University of California, University of Virginia, etc. The UMass system is subject to the radical political projects of Massachusetts lawmakers, appointees, and union employees who are more interested in a utopian educational system than developing a respected, functional group of colleges and universities.

As the article states, the University of Massachusetts system has gone through four chancellors in the past ten years. Such high turnover and such short-term scrutiny by the who’s-who of the Massachusetts political machine means that the university cannot create a stable mission and environment necessary to build an under-achieving association of colleges into a world-class group of schools.

The current chancellor, Robert Holub, came from uber-liberal and uber-respected University of California Berkeley three years ago. His crime here in Massachusetts? Apparently he hasn’t shown enough concern that black enrollment at UMass has decreased 24% during his three years. Nevermind the fact that Hispanic enrollment has increased 33%. Additionally, UMass has become more selective, attracting students with higher GPAs and SAT scores. He has increased out-of-state enrollment, which is vital to increasing national standing and for bringing in out-of-state tuition. And he has made UMass football a Division I team. All this success, yet it’s not good enough for Massachusetts politics.

As Holub states, “In my view, things are all going in the right direction. I have every academic indicator on my side. I have so much of a stake in things that are going on here. So much of what I started, I want to see them through”. Regarding his lengthy academic record, The
Boston Globe notes, “...those academic credentials did not prepare the 61-year-old chancellor to navigate the minefield of Massachusetts politics”.

It’s a shame that in a state like Massachusetts, which has some of the most educated residents and innumerable resources that could propel a successful university system, crazy politics rules the day.

Observations from Dulles

Stuck at Dulles in Virginia because of fog in Boston. So, I’ll kill some time with airport observations. Airports are great places to people watch.

1) I can’t believe the number of people who have iPads. Maybe it is indeed more than a fad.

2) People just don’t wear hats like they do in Boston. That was one of the first things I noticed last week when I landed at Logan.

The scene from Dulles below:

Stand by for photo of the hat-wearing crowd at Logan when I land...