Cornell president: How to manage college costs

Cornell University President David Skorton says colleges and universities need to work on three main areas to contain costs.

Here’s a shortened version of his list in The Huffington Post:

1. No campus can be all things to all people. Now is the time to decide, campus by campus, what we can do best and aspire to improved quality in those fields. And the other disciplines that we know to be less well-developed on campus A? Leave them to campus B, across town or across the state.

2. We can no longer avoid true, tough and thoroughgoing reviews of faculty productivity and quality, including after tenure is granted. It’s likely that more rigorous faculty accountability – conducted by peers and colleagues — will result in some reduction in the costs of education and of the infrastructure of research.

3. “Administrative” activities are as essential to the success of higher education as they are to any enterprise of any type anywhere. More uniform, managed methods of procurement, fewer layers of bureaucracy and larger spans of control for those in administrative positions can help, as can a rethinking of our support paradigms in information technology, finance, and facilities services. Bottom line: administrative streamlining.