FORUM: Can we do it?
Flagship status would unjustifiably burden Texas taxpayers
Remember those gold stars in second grade? Remember how you felt discovering it was so much smoke up your stern? So it is with the pursuit of "flagship university" status. The status does not establish or validate a university’s educational or research superiority. It does not prove a university’s community volunteerism or confirm it as an economic boon to the community.
I think UH deserves a gold star for its intensive properties. There is no shortage of professors here who shine in providing true education that challenges and exhorts.
Surely there is a reason apart from the obvious publicity gains that so many suits are so concerned with flagship status.
The answer lies in funding. Indeed, flagship status is defined by the amount of funding, despite apparatchik appeals to higher ideals. But the state has only one source of funding: you and me. And it has only one manner of appropriating funding: coercive force.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board tallied all funds appropriations to higher education in Texas at $19.9 billion for the 2008-09 biennium. flagship status would statutorily obligate the State of Texas to appropriate more from taxpayers at a time when we cannot afford it.
UH should strive to become a flagship university, in the intensive sense. The biggest obstacles to this are the greed and unimaginativeness besetting all who survive on others’ labors.
Granger, an economics and political science senior, can be reached via [email protected]
University progression means surpassing unforeseeable hurdles
For UH to become a flagship university many hurdles must be crossed. Does UH have the potential? Of course it does. Will it be easy? Absolutely not.
Students at UH will not see UH reach flagship status because it will take many years and millions of dollars, but UH President Renu Khator has faith that our university can achieve a flagship title.
Millions upon millions of dollars will be needed from public and private donors, including our communities and alumni. As a current student, one can’t help but wonder – will this need for massive amounts of money further affect our tuition rates?
With the hope of becoming a nationally competitive research university, what will happen to programs that aren’t typically research intensive? Will they be put on the back burner, or will this mean these schools too will incorporate competitive research? So many questions have to be answered.
For Khator to aspire for our campus to reach flagship status is great, and that she has such tremendous faith in the UH staff and student body is a terrific motivation. But remember to take time to ask the questions now. Students, what will this mean for you? Faculty, if someone with a name that holds a higher status than your own comes along, will you lose your position?
Flagship status can be gained by UH, but what, other than money, will it cost?
MousaviDin, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]
University students, leaders must first look inward before reaching greatness
There are two major obstacles in the way of the University’s bid to become a flagship school. One is an apathetic student population, and the other is a dysfunctional administration.
UH is a commuter school. Most students live off campus and drive here. This automatically helps disconnect the students and the University, where many students come here for their "drive-thru" education. They want to whip in, "get their learn on" and be home before traffic traps them. What can the University offer these students that trumps convenience?
These are the students who take very little from this institution and contribute even less. Their cynicism toward UH will be a perpetual drag upon its attempt to rise to flagship status. But these students are just one symptom. Stagnation and a lack of forward thinking plague those who run the University.
Innovation and revolutionary ideas should not be expected solely from our professors and researchers; the powers that be must adopt a more inventive stance. Innovative ideas are what drive universities to the forefront, not hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.
As long as we drag the same administrative problems along with us from semester to semester – lack of parking, deficiency in student services such as financial aid, no-bid contracts, a feeble WiFi network, student apathy and many more – UH will remain the redheaded stepchild of Texas’ university system.
Webb, a political science and creative writing senior, can be reached via [email protected]