A college education is expensive – probably too expensive. Nationwide, the price of an education has tripled since 1980. But building a career without a degree is increasingly difficult, so we have to swallow the debt and do it.
Judging by recent changes to campus, it might be best to come to ACU for a massage and go somewhere else for an education.
The problem with this university is not the price; it is the choices administrators make when they decide what aspects of the university to enhance. The areas they spend time and money improving are the ones they value the most – and the ones that will attract students.
The on-campus spa scheduled to open in fall 2012 is the most recent example of some of ACU’s misplaced values. ACU is trying to attract students who prefer amenities over education.
Choosing to invest time, money and effort into adding resort style conveniences instead of improving academic opportunities shows that administrators are more interested in providing students with a four year vacation instead of an education that will help them build a career.
The expected spa, the recently renamed Campus Concierge desk in the Campus Center and the services offered through it – including a limousine rental service – point to the increasingly strong emphasis ACU is putting on experience over substance.
Campuses across the nation are dealing with this issue of balancing academics and perks to attract students. They are making changes similar to ACU’s in order to woo prospective students. Universities are competing for the same group of students who have achieved academic level and financial means necessary to attend.
If ACU wants to provide its students with an exceptional, innovative and real education, the emphasis needs to be placed in the education provided to students, and therefore the quality of the degrees that leave this university.
The university needs to make investments in faculty. ACU’s current faculty members are excellent, and many of them gave up more lucrative careers elsewhere because they believe in ACU. Add to their ranks; use funds to build labs and libraries that the most qualified men and women in each field can’t resist.
A high-caliber faculty and innovative educational facilities will attract students who see the value in their professors and who want to spend time working out problems in the lab, not the knots in their back. The best experience a student can have during his four years on a college campus one that will serve him for the rest of his life. This is always true, but as long as we are riding this tuition bubble, it becomes more important the student gets an education that is worth the money spent and debt incurred.
We want to be part of a university that works to attracts quality minds – not well manicured nails.