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Robert K. “Bob” Glenn has spent more than three decades in higher education, serving students throughout. He became the 10th president of the University of Houston-Victoria on Aug. 1, 2018. Prior to moving to Victoria with his wife, Laurie, he served as the 36th president of Athens State University for 10 years. Glenn also was vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services at Middle Tennessee State University (1999-2008) and dean of students at Missouri State University (1993-1999). His “A Jaguar Journey” blog is intended to provide members of the UHV faculty, staff and student body, as well as alumni and members of the community, a direct connection to what he is doing as the new UHV president. Readers are encouraged to share their views and ideas by posting to the comments section.  

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College admissions scandal also brings good news

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Thursday, March 21, 2019


On March 19, the Advocate printed an editorial from the Los Angeles Times concerning the ongoing college admissions scandal. I do not take issue with any of the views expressed. I would assert, however, that this is a “good news, bad news” situation. The Los Angeles Times ably stated the case for the bad news, but I would like to remind readers of the good news.


The good news is that while there certainly are problems with college admissions, especially at institutions where there is a very high level of competition to get in, the reality is that at the vast majority of public institutions, there are few obstacles for admission, and any student willing to do the work has an opportunity to improve his or her life. I would assert that the University of Houston-Victoria is a clear example of what is good about public education, particularly in the state of Texas.


Let me start by stating my bias clearly. Public higher education is intended to be focused on benefiting society. It is intended to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to be an economic driver of good for the region it serves by providing access to education that lifts individuals up through their own labor. The link between obtaining a degree and economic prosperity is clearly documented. The individual obtaining the degree is better able to secure a prosperous future, and the region benefits from the growing number of people in better paying jobs. Prosperity can be judged by per capita income, and per capita income rises when the percentage of individuals with degrees increases.


In addition to preparing an individual to be a contributing member of the community, the second goal of public higher education is to better prepare individuals to be active participants in an educated citizenry. A representative democracy such as ours requires that its citizens be engaged. Citizens have choices to make between parties and candidates, and choices to make about issues that affect the common welfare. We all benefit when those choices are made cognitively and logically, rather than emotionally. The framers of our form of government always saw education (from K-12 to higher education) as an avenue to making good decisions. I would argue that education is a vital cornerstone of a democracy.


There are many reasons why so many students want to attend great institutions like the University of Houston, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and others. There also is the reality that these institutions cannot accept all applicants. The result is that there will be occasions when the system doesn’t work the way it should, and inequities will result. But let me state again the good news. The good news for the people of Texas is that there is a network of regional public institutions clearly focused on helping students get from wherever they are to wherever they need to be in order to better their lives and be full participants in the marketplace of ideas that is our democracy. That’s why UHV is a proud member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative that works to increase awareness about these regional public institutions and the important role they play in providing a high-quality and accessible education to a diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development. The good news for the people of the Coastal Bend region is that UHV, Victoria College and the Victoria Independent School District all are providing a broad highway to a bright future.

Tags:  AASCU  Opportunities for All  UHV  Victoria College  VISD 

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