There seems to be this constant mantra of grow, grow, grow. Can there be a balance such that we focus on enhancing the quality of a reasonable and sustainably sized university, as opposed to needing to grow and get better and do this again in 20 years? Can we just be one size, get better but not bigger?The Journal does not report that there was a cogent response to this question.
There was plenty of reader feedback on the Journal's website, and my own comment was:
Growth only seems to be a priority for the Governors and Administrators of universities — unfettered growth is a corporate paradigm, and look where that has got us. Staff and students value quality of work and workplace. Ensuring sufficient resources to properly fund our current mission should be a priority of budgeting and planning processes. Adding ever more students (2500 next year) and super-star researchers while at the same time laying off other staff, making up spurious user fees, and reducing staff salaries does not compute.
The University should only grow further when new money is in the bank. And that money should not just cover the cost of buildings, but also operating and staffing costs — guaranteed in a base budget, and not soft-funded (like the EPE money that has just disappeared). But perhaps the nearly $1bn in deferred maintenance should be addressed first before we build any more buildings?