Rules by which a Great University may be Reduced to a Mediocre One
Rule 1: Raise tuition so thousands of meritorious students of modest means are kept out of the university; those who still come will need to work so many hours that they won’t be able to perform at the highest level. In order to weaken your ties with the citizens of California, increase the number of those out-of-state students and foreign students who can pay full freight. The thousands of rejection letters with which you have to shower the state’s high school seniors will counter their belief that this is a public university that belongs to them.
Rule 2: Use the budget crisis to lower graduate funding; in addition to realizing immediate savings, this measure will encourage expensive graduate faculty to seek employment elsewhere.
3: Use the opportunity of a state budget-crisis to administer a sudden one-time 8-10% salary cut to your senior faculty; this will make it easier for other universities to hire away your most nationally renowned, and expensive, faculty. Then, it should be increasingly difficult to hire the best junior faculty. But if some do get hired, and their achievements begin to make them expensive, you can always call another furlough. With the high cost of housing in California, this measure should clear the system of any younger faculty who can go elsewhere.
4: Encourage senior staff to seek early retirement, so those who know how to implement university policy are gone, and don’t refill these positions.
5: Keep creative administrators busy reeling from one budget crisis to another; this will discourage them from dreaming up expensive initiatives inconsistent with the modest new goals of the university.
6: Cut costs by decreasing the number of faculty and lecturers in the university; then move the teaching of those who remain onto computer screens so they can teach the way the University of Phoenix does. This will discourage students from attempting expensive direct contact with their teachers.
7: Above all, discourage senior university officials from defending what the university is; prevent them from making the university’s case to the public; and don’t allow the state budget crisis to pass without appointing a commission to recommend these rules.
8: Finally, remember there may be setbacks: some administrators and faculty may continue to harbor delusive aspirations to greatness, but don’t worry. Because a university is a complex and interdependent network for producing and transmitting knowledge, by destroying one area of expensive excellence, you will compromise many others; so once downward momentum has been achieved, the university’s inexorable movement into cheap mediocrity is assured.