these years, President Cyert at Carnegie Mellon University
addressed the faculty on institutional strategies to deal
with current financial conditions. He stated university policy
as putting money and other resources into strong programs,
combining or modifying programs that had potential for being
strong, and elimination of programs that were weak and without
potential. I reacted favorably to his announced strategy because
at the time, the Design Department had a cohesive dedicated
faculty and it was doing an excellent job of educating students.
In my view, Design was a strong educational program. Two years
later, it dawned on me that no one had asked President Cyret
for his definition of strong. Administrative actions revealed
that modification of a program, for example, meant minimizing
English literature, and maximizing technical writing. His
definition of strong had nothing to do with educational quality,
but it had a great deal to do with an ability to generate
grants and research which brought income into university coffers.
first ten to fifteen years of this period saw educational
institutions and faculty on the receiving end of generous
income. There were funds for experimental programs, enrichment
of curriculum, new equipment and buildings. There was relatively
little stress and numerous job opportunities. The favorable
conditions began to change during the early sixties with the
student activist movement and social unrest.
the years of plenty, administrative supervision was relatively
lax. Teachers had more say about program development and there
were ample funds for equipment and reasonable operational
budgets in most cases. Departments had travel budgets or travel
funds were available to them. At state universities, salaries
were higher than art schools, and benefits were generous.
teachers had a strong sense of vested interest in the program,
and this was especially true at art schools. Today there are
ample financial aid programs that allow more students to enroll
at universities than previously. Traditional curriculum has
been modified to better reflect current social, political
and industrial conditions. We have many more minority students
enrolled than ever before. The majority are completing university
and successfully moving into the mainstream of society. Women
are better represented in administrative as well as teaching
positions. While still not reaching full parity with men,
there has been significant improvement in salaries for women.
Universities have become important research centers which
is a boon to graduate education. It also brings industry and
education together for the mutual benefit of both, and creates
a favorable balance between theoretical and applied research.
With the aid of computers and other new technologies, there
have been tremendous strides in expanding knowledge and learning
potential. All of these changes represent important advances
there has been a price for this progress. Teaching as a profession
and academic values have been trampled in a most roughshod
manner by legislators, trustees and administrators. Managership
has replaced leadership and fiscal efficiency dominates educational
effectiveness at most institutions.
business values and practices for academic ideals and procedures
often results in short-term gains and long-term problems.
Over a period of time, education suffers from business oriented
decision making. Excellence has been undercut, redefined and
even eliminated as standards have lowered. Because of inflated
grading and inconsistencies by teachers in evaluating students,
grades have become a meaningless criteria of student ability
is claimed and exalted by every educational institution; there
is a veneer of academic freedom, procedure and values. Education
of youth is proclaimed as the single most important function
of the institution. What is public relations and what is reality
are very far apart resulting in a double standard operation
at far too many educational institutions.
is often improperly identified because of questionable grading
practices or by irrelevant criteria such as an ability to
generate research income. Academic or artistic excellence
is seldom encouraged or rewarded, particularly in the student
financial aid programs. While excellence in education is professed
as a goal, too many actions and practices seem contrary to
existing financial resources are used and allocated is frequently
prejudicial, misdirected, inefficient and fails to encourage
productivity and excellence among teachers or students. Allocation
of disproportionate institutional resources to programs generating
the most research income at the expense of programs that bring
in less or none weakens the overall educational environment
and strongly suggests future problems. How states allocate
funds to public universities, and the conditions governing
their use can be greatly improved.
establishing budgets in two year increments rather than one
could greatly facilitate university planning and operation.
If states allocated funds to the universities without requiring
remittent of unexpended funds at the end of the fiscal year,
it would encourage saving, planning and more effective use
of available funds.
to policies at private institutions which charge tuition by
the semester, public universities establish tuition through
charging by the credit hour. This policy encourages large
numbers of part-time students. The policy leads to a majority
of students spending five to seven years obtaining a four
year degree. The practice is inefficient and wasteful for
the institution. It is equally detrimental to the best interests
of educational programs and students.
the seventies to the nineties when financial conditions were
at the worst, moral integrity in administration was violated
with regularity. Situation ethics were characteristic of these
years. Sometimes it was only stonewalling or hiding
behind bureaucratic process. Other times it was lying, either
directly or by omission. Within my own experience, I was lied
to by Presidents, Deans and Department Heads. Even when lies
were brought into the open, upper administration dismissed
the matter as being commonplace and not of serious consequence.
Abuse of position existed at all levels including teachers
as well as administrators. Even when pointed out, it was rarely
is no question but what much of the pressure and corruption
that occurred during this era resulted from a variety of financial
conditions. But the situation was compounded by poorly conceived
policies, overreaction to social reforms, hidden priorities
and a lack of foresight which reflects ineffectual leadership.
tumultuous years represent a period of radical change in post-secondary
education. In hindsight, the changes could have been much
better handled with less damage and greater positive results.
However, as with many realignments, the pendulum swung too
far too fast leading to imbalance between existing situations
and new ones. Consequently, numerous academic values and practices
have been lost or corrupted. Now is a time to review, to resurrect
that which is relevant to present educational goals.
problems included educational structure without departments
or leadership, weak curriculum, a liberal arts emphasis with
minimal requirements in the major, under staffing and inadequate
operating budgets and space. In far too many instances, Graphic
Design at state universities was a student declared major
with few standards for admission, retention or graduation.