Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Choosy mothers choose someplace else 

Leave it to the local paper to print a negative letter about SCSU on opening day. (Note, the SCTimes links tend to go bad in about seven days.) A mother wanted to transfer her daughter from Hamline University to SCSU (the opposite of our departed friends at From Huskies to Pipers) after two years.
I have always heard that the quality of the academic standard at St. Cloud State was exceptional and that one could obtain as good an education there as at many of the private colleges in the state.

My daughter was informed that very few of her credits from Hamline would transfer and that she would require an additional year to complete all of the credits necessary for graduation at St. Cloud State.

She also was advised that if there was any way we could afford to keep her at Hamline, we should do so.

This faculty member's opinion was that the education available to her at St. Cloud was immeasurably inferior to that available at Hamline. I was surprised by his candor, to say the least.

If this faculty member's opinion of the quality of education at St. Cloud State is more than an isolated example, it is this parent's opinion that the current administration should examine its mission statement and look toward making St. Cloud State a desirable alternative to private education.

Her younger children will not be coming here either, she says.

It will seem remarkable to new readers to this blog that a faculty member here (I assume it was one, it seems awfully unlikely that one of our admissions counselors would do so), but we've seen this happen before. And as regards Hamline, their choice for summer reading course is the more benign e=mc2 by David Bodanis, rather than Nickeled and Dimed, which might indicate some better understanding of what a liberal arts education means.

The information this mother received might be good. The Hamline Plan -- their core (here's a copy from the transfer guidelines they use for students transfering into Hamline) -- integrates many general education courses for their students through the four years, and it may be that the student took classes that don't fit our general education curriculum. All cases are individual, which is why we have admissions counselors after all. We streamline these things going one way -- from two-year to four-year colleges -- and don't really worry much about transferability from private to public schools. Maybe we should. But the larger issue is that faculty here continue to tell prospective students that they're better off at a private school costing more than 2.5 times state university tuition. This mother is correct that we ought to do better than that.

At least we're still a good party school.