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Some people were talking in another thread about the current "arms race" going on amongst major universities. Some of us are fresh out of college (or maybe still in school) who have seen the arms race first hand, others are older and have watched from a different perspective as their alma mater jumped into this ongoing competition for the finest facilities.

What are everyones feelings on the arms race? Is it good for the schools? Which Texas school is winning this race?

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Some people were talking in another thread about the current "arms race" going on amongst major universities. Some of us are fresh out of college (or maybe still in school) who have seen the arms race first hand, others are older and have watched from a different perspective as their alma mater jumped into this ongoing competition for the finest facilities.

What are everyones feelings on the arms race? Is it good for the schools? Which Texas school is winning this race?

Not good for schools or taxpayers.

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Why do you believe it's not good for schools? I'm pretty naive to the subject except for being able to recognize that a lot of money is being pumped into higher education. Fortunately for tax payers the Texas school with arguably the highest arms race investment per student is a private university. You don't think these investments are good for attracting more quality students to our schools? It's clearly not very good for the lower class though, getting priced out of the newer student housing.

Edited by cloud713
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Tuition deregulation is a disaster. The so-called "arms race" is more about building fancy buildings than it is creating better learning environments and hiring more qualified professors at better salaries.

 

It is a bad thing indeed for those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, who find it almost impossible to pay for a state education without big loans.

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Tuition deregulation is a disaster. The so-called "arms race" is more about building fancy buildings than it is creating better learning environments and hiring more qualified professors at better salaries.

 

Also the explosion in the number of highly-paid university administrators while the ranks of full professors continue to shrink in favor of lower-paid, non-tenured adjunct faculty.

 

Long but worth reading for anyone with an interest in this subject:

 

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober_2011/features/administrators_ate_my_tuition031641.php?page=all

 

I remember discussing this piece when it first came out with a friend whose career has largely been in various non-faculty capacities at both public and private universities on the East Coast, and he felt that it was a very accurate reflection of what he'd observed and experienced over the past 25 years or so. 

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It's bad for so many reasons.

 

#1 the cost of higher education has skyrocketed by the quality of teaching has likely decreased

 

#2 most students can't afford college and all of this unnecessary stuff makes loans even more expensive

 

#3 kids are simply being spoiled. My 18 year old at UH has a single room and only shares a bathroom with 3 other women. They have a full fridge and mini-kitchen. The building has "smart laundry," computer labs, and even an exercise room despite the UH Rec Center being so over the top that it's nicer than the Houstonian Club! On the top floor, there's a lounge with multiple billiards tables and breathtaking views of downtown through ten foot windows. It's absurd.

 

I lived in an all-male freshman dorm and shared a hall bath with 37 other men. It had cinder-block walls and I slept on a cot. The nearest laundry room was 3 dorms down the road. There was no garage parking, individual kitchens, billiards tables (we did have one ping pong table in the basement), flat screens, wi-fi, exercise rooms, walk-in closets, etc...

 

 

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I lived in an all-male freshman dorm and shared a hall bath with 37 other men. It had cinder-block walls and I slept on a cot. The nearest laundry room was 3 dorms down the road. There was no garage parking, individual kitchens, billiards tables (we did have one ping pong table in the basement), flat screens, wi-fi, exercise rooms, walk-in closets, etc...

Sounds like almost an identical description of Crocker, Moore, and McInnis Halls and the "luxury apartments" dorm that replaced them. Almost.

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It's bad for so many reasons.

 

#1 the cost of higher education has skyrocketed by the quality of teaching has likely decreased

 

#2 most students can't afford college and all of this unnecessary stuff makes loans even more expensive

 

#3 kids are simply being spoiled. My 18 year old at UH has a single room and only shares a bathroom with 3 other women. They have a full fridge and mini-kitchen. The building has "smart laundry," computer labs, and even an exercise room despite the UH Rec Center being so over the top that it's nicer than the Houstonian Club! On the top floor, there's a lounge with multiple billiards tables and breathtaking views of downtown through ten foot windows. It's absurd.

 

I lived in an all-male freshman dorm and shared a hall bath with 37 other men. It had cinder-block walls and I slept on a cot. The nearest laundry room was 3 dorms down the road. There was no garage parking, individual kitchens, billiards tables (we did have one ping pong table in the basement), flat screens, wi-fi, exercise rooms, walk-in closets, etc...

i agree its definitely not "good" in an overall sense, but i don't think its completely bad.

what makes you think the quality of teaching has decreased? most of my teachers went to places like Cambridge, Harvard, and Princeton, and were extremely intelligent. i did have a Chemistry professor/old timer who was defintely there on tenure and would literally take 5 minute smoke breaks in the middle of class, and didn't seem too with it. but he was a rare exception.

i completely agree about #2..

yeah kids are definitely being "spoiled" and not realistically being prepped for what its going to be like once they get out of school and are living on their own dime.

as for all those amenities.. i guess i was spoiled by Baylor. heh.. almost 10 years ago, i lived in i believe the oldest male dorm on campus.. and while we had 2 community bathrooms per floor, and shared a room with 1 other person, we did have a gym in the basement (even though the Baylor SLC [student life center/rec center] is ridiculous), along with laundry room (there was also a program for regular laundry pick up/cleaning if you desired by an on campus laundry service) and a game room down in the basement as well. a 5 story parking garage next door. study lounges on each floor, and TV room/hang out lounge with a big screen. and this was a dorm built in the 1950s.. all of the dorm complexes built on campus since the early 2000s have been the apartment style "Living Learning Center" dorms with living room/kitchen/multiple bathrooms and bedrooms, like you describe. but the majority of the students were spoiled rich kids anyways so it was kind of expected i suppose.

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#3 kids are simply being spoiled.

 

Ummm.... I'm sorry... we don't use out-houses anymore either.

 

 

 

I lived in an all-male freshman dorm and shared a hall bath with 37 other men. It had cinder-block walls and I slept on a cot. The nearest laundry room was 3 dorms down the road. There was no garage parking, individual kitchens, billiards tables (we did have one ping pong table in the basement), flat screens, wi-fi, exercise rooms, walk-in closets, etc...

 

That's simply not marketable by today's standards, especially for a university trying to become truly tier one (not just in research funding). They are trying to get to a certain percentage of people living on campus.

 

Sounds like you're talking more about the Moody Towers and people simply don't want that anymore. That's more for people on a budget, though I've been told Moody isn't that far away from Cougar Village price wise. Plus, this is an urban university so it's going to have views of downtown.... plus, it's the 21st century.. Wifi is a must have at a university since everything requires it now. 

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It kind of does. I was hoping we could discuss more the effects of this arms race and not just "oh they have it so good". From my Baylor stand point (I realize this is an anomaly, being an expensive private university with likely (by far?) the largest investment per student in the state), a lot of good seems to have come from this arms race.

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i agree its definitely not "good" in an overall sense, but i don't think its completely bad.

what makes you think the quality of teaching has decreased? most of my teachers went to places like Cambridge, Harvard, and Princeton, and were extremely intelligent. i did have a Chemistry professor/old timer who was defintely there on tenure and would literally take 5 minute smoke breaks in the middle of class, and didn't seem too with it. but he was a rare exception.

i completely agree about #2..

yeah kids are definitely being "spoiled" and not realistically being prepped for what its going to be like once they get out of school and are living on their own dime.

as for all those amenities.. i guess i was spoiled by Baylor. heh.. almost 10 years ago, i lived in i believe the oldest male dorm on campus.. and while we had 2 community bathrooms per floor, and shared a room with 1 other person, we did have a gym in the basement (even though the Baylor SLC [student life center/rec center] is ridiculous), along with laundry room (there was also a program for regular laundry pick up/cleaning if you desired by an on campus laundry service) and a game room down in the basement as well. a 5 story parking garage next door. study lounges on each floor, and TV room/hang out lounge with a big screen. and this was a dorm built in the 1950s.. all of the dorm complexes built on campus since the early 2000s have been the apartment style "Living Learning Center" dorms with living room/kitchen/multiple bathrooms and bedrooms, like you describe. but the majority of the students were spoiled rich kids anyways so it was kind of expected i suppose.

 

That sounds like Martin Hall.

 

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This just sounds like some older generation gripping about the way the world has progressed for Millennials, as if it's somehow our fault we've grown up in a 21st century society.

 

It is, to a degree, but the other side of the coin is increased amenities bring increased costs.  if your parents can afford the higher costs then no problem.  But if you're doing it on your own, that likely means more loans.  Back in the day, if you wanted the amenities you'd move out of the dorms at the first chance and rent a luxury apartment nearby.  Doing it that way kept the costs down for average students and let those with more disposable money or who wanted the lux life enough to take out more loans do their own thing.

 

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If that is all you hear, then you are proof that our educational system is failing us.

 

I went to UH in the 1990s. What I just paid for ONE semester for a freshman is more than the total I paid for my entire graduate program. 

 

Costs have skyrocketed. Salaries have not. Students are graduating with a mountain of debt. Ask that education major 3 years out of college if she'd rather have a rec center and new dorms or the ability to eat and afford an apartment. For some, it is that bad.

 

Edited by KinkaidAlum
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If that is all you hear, then you are proof that our educational system is failing us.

I went to UH in the 1990s. What I just paid for ONE semester for a freshman is more than the total I paid for my entire graduate program.

Costs have skyrocketed. Salaries have not. Students are graduating with a mountain of debt. Ask that education major 3 years out of college if she'd rather have a rec center and new dorms or the ability to eat and afford an apartment. For some, it is that bad.

Yeah no that's cleeaaaaarrrllllyyyy all I hear from this argument and I'm glad I typed out my eloquent analysis on the state of American higher education on a small localized architecture forum in so few words at 1 in the morning... Edited by BigFootsSocks
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I found a UH tuition/fee statement for my uncle from the late 1970s. A full load of courses plus fees was around $250, if I remember correctly. Just two classes over the summer at UH now cost around $2,500 in tuition and fees.

 

 

Even adjusted for inflation that's only $900.  That's insane, both how cheap it was and how expensive it is now

 

Part of this is the result of the Lege's decision a few sessions back to allow the state schools to set their own tuition rates instead of appropriating more money.  At one time, making quality education available without the students or their families having to worry about how to pay for it was considered beneficial.   :mellow:

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So you think that all those luxury buildings with resort style living and luxury furnishing has REALLY and CLEARLY added value to our education system.

The analog that jumps out to me is what I've see is the school situation here in New Orleans. We have a kid in Pre-K3 that costs $5k in a great area while my of my co-works is looking at almost $15k for Pre-K3 in New Orleans Uptown. Yes, the location is slightly richer but the average salary from where I live and Uptown NOLA is very similar. So do you think that the extra luxury of the other school is work $10k at this level.

Getting back to the exact question at hand - I know that those luxury amenities on campus (not even talking about private housing off campus) has not helped the education at UT (or would wager that at any other or not many school that's built them). I know for a fact the ranking of my department (according to US News) has NOT moved at all since I graduated (when these luxury amenities were being opened) compared to the present when they've been open and expanded exponentially. People that have graduated in that last few years would tell you this too since I've spoken with them myself regarding this waste of resources and is the main reason many of don't donate to any University-wide fund! It's just put much more money in the Administration's and construction company's pocket.

 

Yeah no that's cleeaaaaarrrllllyyyy all I hear from this argument and I'm glad I typed out my eloquent analysis on the state of American higher education on a small localized architecture forum in so few words at 1 in the morning...

 

 

Edited by JJVilla
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Part of this is the result of the Lege's decision a few sessions back to allow the state schools to set their own tuition rates instead of appropriating more money. At one time, making quality education available without the students or their families having to worry about how to pay for it was considered beneficial. :mellow:

Not gonna lie, a lot of this is Perry's fault and the terrible people he appointed.

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So you think that all those luxury buildings with resort style living and luxury furnishing has REALLY and CLEARLY added value to our education system.

The analog that jumps out to me is what I've see is the school situation here in New Orleans. We have a kid in Pre-K3 that costs $5k in a great area while my of my co-works is looking at almost $15k for Pre-K3 in New Orleans Uptown. Yes, the location is slightly richer but the average salary from where I live and Uptown NOLA is very similar. So do you think that the extra luxury of the other school is work $10k at this level.

Getting back to the exact question at hand - I know that those luxury amenities on campus (not even talking about private housing off campus) has not helped the education at UT (or would wager that at any other or not many school that's built them). I know for a fact the ranking of my department (according to US News) has NOT moved at all since I graduated (when these luxury amenities were being opened) compared to the present when they've been open and expanded exponentially. People that have graduated in that last few years would tell you this too since I've spoken with them myself regarding this waste of resources and is the main reason many of don't donate to any University-wide fund! It's just put much more money in the Administration's and construction company's pocket.

If that's what you would like me to think, surrrrrre.

But if you don't want to put words and thoughts into my mouth, and ask what I geniuenly think, then no.

If you're so inclined to hear me out, I will say I am currently attending a university that is sucking Bob McNair's d!ck to get a football team and any other cent for a "luxury 10-year, 10,000 student" plan that hinges on not providing annnnny sort of resources to any of the STEM courses.

Edited by BigFootsSocks
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i agree its definitely not "good" in an overall sense, but i don't think its completely bad.

what makes you think the quality of teaching has decreased? most of my teachers went to places like Cambridge, Harvard, and Princeton, and were extremely intelligent. i did have a Chemistry professor/old timer who was defintely there on tenure and would literally take 5 minute smoke breaks in the middle of class, and didn't seem too with it. but he was a rare exception.

 

It is true that there is an oversupply of faculty from quality schools, to the point where people with degrees from Yale have to take jobs at second tier schools in the southwest. What is missing in this however is student to faculty ratio, which could be much lower if more money were spent on professors and less on buildings. Also, when faculty are earning essentially the same in inflation-adjusted dollars as they earned in 1972, and earning substantially less than high school teachers a few blocks away, you not only have an ethical problem for how you are treating the most important resource in your school, you also are skewing the type of people you end up getting in your faculty, who tend more and more to be people who are independently wealthy and who do not have families to support.

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It is true that there is an oversupply of faculty from quality schools, to the point where people with degrees from Yale have to take jobs at second tier schools in the southwest. What is missing in this however is student to faculty ratio, which could be much lower if more money were spent on professors and less on buildings. Also, when faculty are earning essentially the same in inflation-adjusted dollars as they earned in 1972, and earning substantially less than high school teachers a few blocks away, you not only have an ethical problem for how you are treating the most important resource in your school, you also are skewing the type of people you end up getting in your faculty, who tend more and more to be people who are independently wealthy and who do not have families to support.

umm.. im not sure were talking about the same school here? it sounds like you are referencing an average public university while i was talking about Baylor.

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I found a UH tuition/fee statement for my uncle from the late 1970s. A full load of courses plus fees was around $250, if I remember correctly. Just two classes over the summer at UH now cost around $2,500 in tuition and fees.

 

I ran the same calculation for Drury, the "Harvard of the Midwest" (  <_< ) I attended.

 

We had the 2175 Club for alumni, so named for the mid 70s amount of tuition and fees they donated - $8,923 in 2014 dollars - though I can't remember whether that was for a semester or a year.  Current tuition and fees come to $24,905 for a year.  However, it's also about twice the size it used to be, both in students and faculty.  It also has a much larger assortment of majors, including entire programs that weren't there back then.

 

More disturbing is that when I went on to law school, South Texas (a private school) cost a bunch more than UH, at a time when it had nowhere near UH's reputation.  They now cost about the same.

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i guess its a different mindset when comparing public to private universities..

Sort of. I seem to recall Baylor's stadium was done with private funds, while Kyle Field wasn't. To me, Kyle Field and all the stuff surrounding it (raising fees, blackmailing the city) is the thing that sums up the "arms race" the best.

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Sort of. I seem to recall Baylor's stadium was done with private funds, while Kyle Field wasn't. To me, Kyle Field and all the stuff surrounding it (raising fees, blackmailing the city) is the thing that sums up the "arms race" the best.

 

Some of Baylor's Stadium was done with private funding... but the roads, bridges, water/sewer lines, and power extensions to that once empty field were paid for with public dollars. Also, I'd put an asterisk by private money considering who the donor was and how he made hundreds of millions off of Harris County taxpayers...

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Sort of. I seem to recall Baylor's stadium was done with private funds, while Kyle Field wasn't. To me, Kyle Field and all the stuff surrounding it (raising fees, blackmailing the city) is the thing that sums up the "arms race" the best.

so do you think A&M is "winning" the arms race (in relation to other local/Texas schools), or you're just saying they got into it the nastiest?

Some of Baylor's Stadium was done with private funding... but the roads, bridges, water/sewer lines, and power extensions to that once empty field were paid for with public dollars. Also, I'd put an asterisk by private money considering who the donor was and how he made hundreds of millions off of Harris County taxpayers...

yes.. because John Eddie Williams and Sheila & Walter Umphreys didn't donate tens of millions of dollars each to make that stadium happen.. :rolleyes: and you are right.. the city of Waco put up about $35 million for infrastructure, compared to the $266 million it took to build the stadium.

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so do you think A&M is "winning" the arms race (in relation to other local/Texas schools), or you're just saying they got into it the nastiest?

Nastiest. There's a lot to say on what John Sharp did to TAMU, but Kyle Field's renovation kind of represents a lot of what's wrong with TAMU right now.

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Get real. That stadium doesn't happen without Mclane's lead gift AND the infrastructure provided by taxpayers.

im not sure your point. we agreed the stadium was built primarily with private donations. i was pointing out that McLane wasn't the only one donating. I'm sure the others would appreciate some credit for the tens of millions of dollars they donated. as for the taxes.. i assume those were paid for by local residents. are you suggesting that the city of Waco and its residents don't benefit from Baylor University or the tens of thousands of people that stadium brings in many times a year?

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Nastiest. There's a lot to say on what John Sharp did to TAMU, but Kyle Field's renovation kind of represents a lot of what's wrong with TAMU right now.

interesting! i haven't kept track with the Kyle Field stuff much besides seeing an occasional construction update.

so is the general consensus that

arms race = bad for public universities, but good for private universities?

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  • 5 weeks later...

in the athletic arms race it looks like Baylor has been capitalizing on the recent success, now showcasing arguably the best facilities in the country.

 

Now Baylor’s stadiums, ballparks and other athletic facilities along the Brazos River are a model that many other schools would like to emulate.

Beginning with $266 million McLane Stadium on the shoulder of Interstate 35 all the way across LaSalle Avenue to the Willis Family Equestrian Center, Baylor’s facilities have become an impressive showcase and a remarkable recruiting tool for the coaching staff.

“One of the Big 12 athletic directors that was here a couple of weeks ago for NCAA tennis said you have the best athletic facilities in the country,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said.

http://www.wacotrib.com/sports/baylor/baylor-building-boom-top-notch-facilities-reflect-bears-surging-success/article_7d868ec6-4da9-5ffe-be2f-5df67af491bf.html

obviously the arms race is great for sports and recruiting, and seems (at least to me?) to be good for private schools in general, but i guess the jury is still out on if its good for public schools?

Edited by cloud713
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  • The title was changed to The University Facilities Race

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