UNLV’s new multi-media campaign, which recently took top awards in national competition, is one of only a few kudos the University has received on a national level.
What’s up at UNLV? Well it’s certainly not enrollment….at least not by much. In 1995 the Community College of Southern Nevada had less that 1,000 more students than UNLV. Only three years later, CCSN student enrollment has grown to more than 30,000 while UNLV’s student count is just over 21,000.
Why? Well, you can blame it on failure of the school district to provide college-bound students…blame it on UNLV’s administration…blame it on UNR…blame it on parents who either can’t afford tuition or don’t encourage attendance…blame it on teachers…blame it on whoever or whatever you want. The bottom line still remains that somehow UNLV has gotten stagnate, has little annual growth, and continually fails to measure up on national standards.
Since the days of Tarkanian, the University has been a political hot potato with boosters, politicians, coaches, presidents, and professors all contributing their two cents. It seems the only ones that haven’t been heard above the rumble are the students.
As a parent of two UNLV students and two UNR students, I can tell you their failure to be heard is not from a lack of something to say. UNR students chief complaint is having to walk a ways from the parking lot to class. On the other hand, UNLV students are upset because professors aren’t teaching. Instead of receiving instruction from Ph.D.s, they are being taught by research assistants. It seems the doctors are too busy doing research to teach.
While most people would agree that university research is important, especially in establishing a national reputation, few would give research a higher priority than the role of teaching students. After all, isn’t the primary function of a university to provide higher education?
In the pursuit to establish a national reputation through research programs, UNLV’s administration has forgotten its primary mission of education. The professors no longer have time to teach and graduate assistants, who shouldn’t be teaching in the first place, are too busy working on their degrees to spend much time preparing lectures. The end result is students are spending their time and money to be taught by other students.
Did I say money? That’s another issue that’s always a hot topic when it comes to education, and especially UNLV. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the UNLV receives about $7,000 per student, compared to UNR’s $10,000. However, the funding issue may be a can of worms better left unopened. Since state law does not require funding of higher education, the entire university system could suffer if a battle is launched on the Legislative floor.
But a battle is brewing, and sooner or later it must be fought. Lines are being drawn and agendas are being formulated by professors, regents, UNLV administrators, boosters, legislators…..and the list goes on. The ones that have the most to lose, UNLV students, seem to be the only ones that have not lost focus on the true purpose of a university….to provide an education.