Sunday August 25 2013
Former Senator Bob Krueger reflects on stadium expansions in Texas. He notes that Texas seems more enchanted with football than achieving great colleges. The study he references only has Rice University in Texas in the nation's top 50.
I would say the surveys raking the 'top' colleges fail in hat there is not nearly the difference between the top colleges, and whatever the next tier of colleges are. Today we all have near unlimited access to far more information at lower cost than was possible when I was an undergraduate. Back then schools prided themselves on the size of their library, ie, the store of knowledge at the school. Today all schools can share in cyber-space stored knowledge.
The academic idea of a 'great professor' is one who publishes research. But le me ask you juniors seniors and grad students reading this blog. In your college experience, how many research papers have you read? Hmm, that's what I thought. The great teachers in my opinion are great communicators with their students. I frankly don't see the 'research' reaching the students. But then to me college is all about the students, not the resesarch.
George Will noted a few years back that only 35 college teams will qualify for a bowl game anyone ever heard of. But I notice that once schools pass say the 20,000 enrollment mark, the President assumes his or her school is just like UT or A & M, based on size alone. If that were true, Alamo CC would be in the Rose Bowl, the enrollment there after all is 60,000. But winning college football games is a tough assignment, A & M's experience the last ten years is a good lesson on that. At any rate, we see schools like Texas State and North Texas trying to wedge into Division One thinking that the Fountain of Eternal giving to the school is a mere touchdown away. But this is a fool's errand, building a consistent winning program is incredibly difficult, and inculcating a fan tradition requires long time rivalries, something not likely to happen when playing schools that lie across several state boundaries.
I just checked, Trinity University has a football team, who knew?
What constitues a great school, here is one anecdotal story.
One day when I was in my office at Texas State, a young lady probably 19-20 came by. She was in my class. She halted at my open door, almost apologetic in addressing me. I'm sorry to bother you, where is the teaching assistant? I laughed replying the buck stopped right here, no teaching assistants at Texas State, you just get the teacher. She was truly astonished, her jaw literally dropped. I Invited her to sit and chat. She related that the best decision she had ever made was leaving UT Austin for Texas State. She noted
her largest class at Tx State was smaller than her smallest class at UT
professors were frequentl ynot in class bu toff giving lectures or fund raising elsewhere.
She had become a cheerleader at Tx State.
So, the best school for you is just that regardless of its naitonal ranking.