In higher education it is not the lack of ideas that is a problem, its allowing the good ideas the space to grow and develop. Change in higher education is one that takes time, patience, and tremendous coordination. That is why when I get frustrated I try to find pioneers who have led the way to help me when I get frustrated. You see, I am the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities. This is a small start-up with big dreams. We consist of Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida and we are working together to help more underrepresented students graduate more often, with less debt, and into higher paying jobs. We believe that while we are told to compete, compete, compete for limited state resources, for talented students, and for program prestige. The idea of educational collaboration is not usually seen as fruitful.
But this blog post is less about our journey and more about how do we get there from here. Well, we can look to our pioneers to see how patience paid off. Recently I watched a video for my higher education policy course that felt really showcased how hard change can be and what it takes to make it all happen. It was a video produced by The University of Illinois on Dr. Karol Kahrs, the first Women’s Athletic Director at the college. The video spans her over 30 years of work for Illinois and how they went from a budget of just over $60,000 and three sports to the top flight program it is today. I think there is a misconception that when Title IX was first implemented it just opened the floodgates for equal access. That is simply not true. It took years, decades. I think the Florida Consortium has a similar path. Its going to take years. So when I have set backs, when I don’t see a path forward, I just remember Dr. Kahrs. You can watch it here: