Potts’ statement that “we have to make college fit into the students’ life instead of the other way around sounds appealing, but should not be interpreted as placing the onus primarily on the institutions “flexibility.” Other elements in the higher education picture just as important to success include actions by the BOR, and the requirement of student resolve and persistence to finish their education, not be spoon fed.
The BOR sets policy with far reaching implications, short- and long-term, especially from a financial standpoint like starting new programs at some institutions such as the recent new school of engineering at UGA, while consolidation of less favored institutions to save money was on the horizon, now being implemented. BOR consistency of purpose is paramount.
Persistence by the individual student to finish what was started is by far the most important element of all towards success. I know from actual experience, returning to Georgia Tech after service in the Army during the Korean War, married with one child, was not easy. Then after graduation, working full time with two children earned a MBA at Georgia State University night school. It requires persistence, tenacity and a willingness to defer personal desires and gratification to the future.
A quality education cannot be down graded or spoon fed. It must be desired and earned, not just be a piece of paper. For decades the BOR has planned and positioned institutions — some with satellites — throughout Georgia to provide proximity of opportunity to citizens, and institutions have developed on line course opportunities.
“Knee jerk” decisions by the BOR, such as the engineering school formation at UGA, undermine other systemwide objectives such as financial prudence, a systemwide feeling of fairness and flexibility of programs.