Letter: Misplaced priorities at UNH
Higher education is facing some of the most significant changes in decades. In many colleges the past decade was wasted on creating a concierge atmosphere, sparing no expense in catering to parents and students with fancy dorms, fitness facilities and sports along with other non-academic bells and whistles to entice customers. The economic downturn, fast-rising tuition costs and demographically driven decreases in the number of 18-year-olds have made that impossible to continue, but UNH seems bent on trying what has failed elsewhere.
College can no longer be a four-year idyll but instead must offer outcome-based learning. Students should expect mentorships and hands-on learning with top-notch faculty and academic facilities. We are competing against the rest of the world where tuition and fees are not used to fund play space or sports programs for the physically talented few at the expense of the many.
UNH is the most expensive public institution. Using those dollars for quality faculty and academics should be the goal. Higher fees to pay for a stadium and resort play space that destroys a valued, Roosevelt era CCC-built outdoor pool shouldn’t even be on the list.
I wonder what lessons students have learned about valuing our history and working cooperative with the local community with UNH President Mark Huddleston’s “line-in-the-sand” stance about destroying the pool and building a stadium instead of upgrading academic facilities and offerings?
Pride in UNH takes many forms from hockey/football to lesser-lauded academic accomplishments. Can New Hampshire start to take pride in its university by having it becoming a 21st-century educational institution that understands the focus must be on innovation, creativity, problem-solving, accountability and giving faculty the tools to make classrooms as dynamic as the world that surrounds them?