Funding a Well-Rounded Education in a “Public No More” University

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Andrew J. Policano and Gary C. Fethke have written a letter to the Sacramento Bee editor in a response to an editorial published on July 22nd, titled: “California’s Universities Can’t Give Up on a Well-Rounded Education.”

The July 22 editorial “California’s Universities Can’t Give Up on a Well-Rounded Education” misses the main point in our book “Public No More ….”  Well-rounded education is important, including the humanities. The issue is how to make program choices when there is a decline in resources. When universities were heavily subsidized, some areas of the campus adopted high-cost models of delivery with low student-faculty ratios.  Today, these areas need to offer some courses at lower cost. The alternative is to shrink or eliminate these programs.

Those offended by proposed cutbacks in liberal arts education will argue for the centrality and sanctity of their programs and will often suggest that somebody else should pay. Who?  Some areas deserve to be subsidized, but when students, taxpayers, private donors and other campus units collectively refuse to pay, isn’t this a clear indication of what matters? Is the answer more pleading to the legislature? It’s worth a try, but it’s unlikely to succeed in the current environment.  Should Mark Yudof attempt to push on a donor-less string?

Each university needs to decide what areas will be distinctive, what areas it will fund at a lower level, and what areas it will subsidize. This process should reinforce, not eliminate, a well-grounded education—but ultimately this education must be delivered in a financially sustainable way.

Categories: Commentary

Op-Ed: The Precarious Profession of University President

Gary C. Fethke and Andrew J. Policano recently published a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled: “The Precarious Profession of University President.” This piece reviews the challenges, and pressures, faced by public university leaders who must balance faculty shared governance and corporate boards.

You can read the entire piece here. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Categories: Commentary

“Public No More” mentioned on NBC Los Angeles Interview with UC President Mark Yudof

University of California President, Mark Yudof, was interviewed by Conan Nolan on NBC LA’s July 14th News Conference. The book, “Public No More,” by Gary C. Fethke and Andrew J. Policano, was mentioned in reference to a question asked by Nolan to UC President Mark Yudof. The question was asked around the 6:20 minute mark in the first part of the interview. You can watch that interview segment here.

In the remainder of the interview, President Yudof also addresses issues including tuition hikes, faculty salaries, and online degrees.

Categories: Commentary

A Solution to the State University Student Exodus

Gary Fethke and Andrew Policano have authored a very interesting commentary about why the UC system has increased out-of-state enrollment. They also comment on the resulting ‘blame game’ between the Regents and the California Legislature. Their piece ran today in the Huffington Post.

Categories: Commentary

Want more say? You have to pay.

An op-ed by Gary Fethke and Andrew Policano discussed the implications of decreases in state funding for the University of California in a piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.  While legislators have decreased support for the UC, they still clamor for more control over the university system.  The article can be found at:



Categories: Commentary

Thank you for your enlightening book

I recently finished reading your book.  I found it to be an outstanding description of the realities we face in public education these days, and I thought your clearly articulated and well-reasoned explanations for the factors that affect our environment are definitely going to help me as I meet with our stakeholders and donors.

John McGrath

Director of Development and Alumni Affairs

Warrington College of Business Administration

University of Florida

Categories: Commentary

New Book Published

Our book, “Public No More: A New Path to Excellence for America’s Public Universities” is now available from

Categories: Commentary