When the Board of Governors said in January that it was looking to root redundancies out of the UNC system, it should have meant it. Instead, the search for “unnecessary duplication” of degree programs went seven months without producing any concrete ways to cut programs or costs — and without defining “unnecessary program duplication,” which was supposed to form the basis of the review. As the UNC system confronts another year of budget cuts, it must take its efficiency more seriously before it aimlessly treks down another path, this time toward online education.
In January, UNC-system President Thomas Ross set out in the first month of his tenure to push for more efficient university operations. He announced that Jim Woodward, the former chancellor of UNC-Charlotte and N.C. State University, would lead the review of the system’s 2,000 degree programs.
Last week, after seven months of reviewing, Woodward returned without identifying any unnecessarily duplicated programs and without ever having defined what exactly he was looking for. In the post-presentation spin, NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson said he was unsurprised by his predecessor’s findings, or lack thereof, saying they pointed “to some opportunities for collaboration.”
From his non-findings, Woodward said this collaboration could be facilitated by online education, which, in the past week, has quickly grown into BOG’s latest passion project. The General Administration is now looking within its ranks to create a position that would oversee online education — a position BOG members said would have to be filled by someone ready to “walk on water.”
If history is any guide, that person is not within the board’s ranks.