Dragas used language similar to some of the columns that were being shared among board members, saying "We also believe that higher education is on the brink of a transformation now that online delivery has been legitimized by some of the elite institutions."In contrast, fired president Teresa Sullivan apparently
had expressed skepticism about the idea that [online] was a quick fix to solving financial problems, and . . . viewed distance education as having the potential to cost a lot of money without delivering financial gains. Sources also said she viewed distance education as an issue on which faculty input was crucial.Quelle horreur! Jaschik also notes that prior to this communications fiasco, "that board leaders obtained an estimate for 10 hours of 'strategic communication consulting' at the cost of $7,500 (plus travel expenses)."
Back on the business side, Doctor Cleveland at dagblog has a good discussion of budget subtexts and cross-subsidies towards the bottom of his thorough analysis. (h/t Reclaim UC). And Reclaim has a good piece on the public flagship austerity-privatization nexus in which Mark Yudof and Teresa Sullivan have crossed paths and played nonressisting roles.
The Chronicle of Higher Ed gathered a few reactions on "What Teresa Sullivan's Ouster Means for Higher Education."
Everyone's a critic, except for Richard Vedder,
who writes that the "Faculty Senate's reaction shows confusion about who runs the university. Legally, the faculty work for the board, not vice versa. But the faculty don't consider the trustees their bosses. That demonstrates a major problem: a murky conception of property rights and governance. The faculty believe that, since they do all the teaching and research, they are the university." Vedder's view is that they aren't, and that "shared governance only muddies the waters. Executive reach into educational goverance is indeed a core issue where Virginia's board found Sullivan to be insufficiently cooperative. I discussed this /// and note here only the absence of evidence in general that the trustee override of academic administration that Vedder sees as a property right actually improves either financial or academic outcomes.
Other highlights: "The energy and emotion being spent on the fate of a highly compensated, largely conventional executive would be better spent in building an organized faculty voice." -- Marc Bousquet
"This is less a management approach than a move to take the business of the public behind closed doors, to fence off the commons. . . . Strategic dynamists who want a fly-by-night, profit-driven vocational school with online courses should start their own university rather than steal one." Timothy Burke