(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
What is it we want from state universities? I’m a bit confused by things like this clip from Arizona State University: University as Entrepreneur.
The video goes through plenty of buzzwords: innovation, entrepreneur, empowerment, experiential, sustainability and (my favorite) New American University. The proper definition for entrepreneur, however, is “a person who has possession of an enterprise, or venture, and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.”
Who then is being held accountable for the fact that 72 percent of Arizona State University students fail to graduate on time? The word that comes to mind when I see a 28% four year graduation rate isn’t innovative, empowering or entrepreneurial but rather “unfocused.”
Education Trust identifies six peer institutions for ASU based on a variety of factors: Michigan State, Indiana Bloomington, Purdue, Central Florida, LSU A&M, and the University of Arizona. ASU is tied for last place with a six year graduation rate with (ahem) the University of Arizona at a decidedly underwhelming 56.4 percent.
Michigan State, IU and Purdue all have a six year graduation rate over 70 percent. I therefore strongly suspect that each of these universities are doing substantially more to further economic development in their respective states.
I’m a fan of the Old American University- the kind that would rigorously train students at a small fraction of today’s cost and in a four year time span.