Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar, who stepped down as president at the end of June after an 12-year tenure, was quoted by Inside Higher Ed in the article “Sustainability, Divestment and Debt: A Survey of Business Officers.”
The July 18 story describes a new survey by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup that reports many campus chief financial officers seem to lack confidence in the sustainability of their colleges’ business model over the next decade; however they also report that these CFOs are wary of taking actions to balance their budgets that could agitate key campus groups.
One of the most popular cost-saving options among survey respondents – greater collaboration with other institutions on academic programs and administrative services – is tricky to put into practice, said Kent, who has been teaching seminars for higher education leaders this summer.
“The fundamental problem with that is it’s easier to talk about collaboration and harder to do,” he said. “Because if you’re collaborating or sharing services, you’ve got to have the same standards and you’ve got to be willing to admit you’re not, quote, unique, unquote – and I think that’s hard for some people.”
Some of the alternatives are difficult, too. For instance, the strategy of seeking more full-pay students is challenging, because the pool of these students is small and the pool of schools is large.
“It almost feels like there’s 4,500 Persians chasing 300 Spartans called full-pay students,” Kent said. “Good luck.”
Story by Rachel Leahy ’14