On Friday, the Board of Regents overwhelmingly voted to support University President Bob Bruininks’ plan for the University’s future.
Inarguably, the largest point of contention has been the proposed elimination of General College. Whether it was the timing, the inclusiveness or overall clarity, University administration failed at making the beginning stages of the strategic positioning a fair and forthright process for General College.
Aside from being 40 percent of the University’s minority student population, General College represents one of the nation’s most unique learning communities and the only college dedicated to developmental education research. In fact, many of General College’s ideas have been modeled and implemented University-wide. From academic intensive advising to developmentally based instruction to unheard of faculty and staff synergy, General College has found real solutions to systemic, University-wide problems. This is not even mentioning the student support programs that are largely funded and housed by the General College, such as the Student Parent HELP Center. General College proves what most students already know: The University is more than just an education; it is a challenge, one in which students need resources to grow.
Becoming one of the top three-research institution is an admirable goal, but University officials must realize they have an obligation to all the residents of the state. Clearly, this must have been what they were thinking about when they decided to replace the General College with the Honors College.
Now that it is clear that General College’s time as a college is coming to an end, University officials must take steps to make sure that what was offered by General College is not lost in its consolidation.
In the coming weeks and months it is imperative that Bruininks communicates directly and clearly addresses questions of implementation with General College regarding major task force recommendations.
Most importantly, he must ensure that the gains made by General College are not lost in the haste of transition.