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National CrossTalk Fall 1999
News Editorial Other Voices Interview
  In This Issue

Student Eryn Ramsey (left) and instructor Liz Kaz in a dental hygiene class at Rio Salado College, an entrepreneurial arm of the Maricopa Community College District, in Phoenix, Arizona.(continue)

Florida’s new "K-20" Model
An intensely political battle is waged over controversial kindergarten-through-graduate-school governance structure

Changes at "Oxford on the Pacific"
UC Santa Cruz turns to engineering and technology

News From the Center

Daring to be Different
Rio Salado College has won a reputation as both outcast and innovator

Emphasis on Learning
Alverno College offers an alternative approach

Other Voices
Can a Thermometer Cure a Fever?
The role of testing in educational reform

Making College More Affordable
Skyrocketing tuitions threaten to place college out of reach for all but the wealthy
  Orlando businessman Phil Handy chaired the “transition task force” that spelled out details of the “K–20” plan.
By William Trombley
Senior Editor

Tallahassee, Florida

ON THE 15TH FLOOR of the Florida Education Center, across the street from the state capitol, half of the Florida State University System offices are empty. The chancellor has resigned, along with several other top system administrators. The security guard in the lobby did not know that the ten-campus system, and its Board of Regents, were housed in the building, perhaps because soon they will not be.

On July 1, the regents will disappear and the state university will become part of a “seamless” education system, from kindergarten through graduate school, to be run by a seven-member “super board.” There will be a Commissioner of Education, sometimes referred to as the “education czar,” and three deputy commissioners- one for the state’s 3,500 public schools, a second for its 28 community colleges and a third for the ten university campuses .

As this issue of National CrossTalk went to press, the legislature was about to approve the plan and Republican Governor Jeb Bush, the president’s brother, was expected to sign it into law.

Although all levels of education in the state will be affected eventually, the most immediate impact wil l be felt by the university system, with its 240,000 students, 13,600 faculty members and $5 billion budget .

Instead of a statewide Board of Regents, there will be separate, 11-member governing boards for each campus. These trustees, as well as the seven members of the super board will be appointed by the governor, greatly increasing his influence over higher education. Members of the super board and the local boards will serve four-year terms and can be dismissed by the governor “for cause.”

The job of education commissioner or “czar” changes from an elected to an... (continue)

Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood hopes to strengthen science and engineering at UC Santa Cruz.  
By Kay Mills Santa Cruz, California

THE UNIVERSITY OF California established its campus among the redwoods at Santa Cruz in the 1960s as an experimental alternative to the megaversity—the big, impersonal campuses like Berkeley or UCLA. Today, looking at UC Santa Cruz 36 years along, an outsider woul d say the campus is undergoing delayed growing pains as it tries to develop a presence in Silicon Valley, expand its engineering school, and double its graduate program even as undergraduate enrollment pressures increase .

But insiders here would say that there has been a rolling reassessment almost since day one—about engineering, about the role of the distinctive residential colleges, about the “narrative evaluation” system in lieu of traditional letter grades. UC Santa Cruz always has been experimental, said Manuel Pastor, himself a Santa Cruz graduate and now professor of Latin American and Latino studies. “The question now is, What’s experimental?”

Debate over changing the grading system occupied much of the faculty Academic Senate’s time last year. This year the ongoing reassessment is focusing more on the proposed Silicon Valley center. UC Santa Cruz Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood has put her considerable energy behind giving UC a presence in an area that is producing cutting-edge technological change.

The dream moved a giant step forward last October when the University of California and NASA formally announced a partnership to create a research and development campus at Moffett Field near San Jose. Santa Cruz is the lead UC campus involved in the planning. Greenwood and others are excited about the possibilities for everything from nanotechnology (the extreme miniaturization of technology) and labor market studies (especially among the large Latino population), to recruitment of more first-generation college students who otherwise might not consider UC.

But some faculty members are concerned about planning for the center. They want to know who would teach there, whether a “UC-quality education” can be offered without considerable subsidies from programs on the Santa Cruz campus, and how many students, especially undergraduates, such a campus might realistically accommodate.

The UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate voted in March to ask the administration... (continue)


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