EDITORIAL: CMU is becoming a generic university
Maybe it takes enrollment numbers to make some realize that there is a big problem at Central Michigan University.
We used to have strong, individual qualities, but recently they are becoming less and less frequent, and it’s noticeable.
CMU has become a generic university. It’s not the same place that stood by itself as it offered the CMU Promise until 2008; it’s not the school known through the state and nationally.
For the past five years, CMU has become so focused on competing with other in-state universities to offer the same things that they offer, instead of focusing on what makes this university spectacular.
With the Tuesday announcement that freshman enrollment is down about 13 percent while overall enrollment is down about 2 percent, one can’t help but to wonder what caused that decrease.
Although University President George Ross said the turmoil at CMU had nothing to do with enrollment drops, which could be debated, he made a good point: The number of high school graduates is decreasing in Michigan and CMU is going to have to look out of state more often.
Here’s the problem with that: What do we have that sets us apart from the pack?
If you had asked that question five years ago it would’ve been we have the CMU Promise.
Four years ago: We have a great football team.
In that same timeframe: We have a College of Medicine coming.
In the past three years there has been turmoil surrounding the funding for CMED, the CMU Promise was eliminated and, even after a big victory in Iowa, our football team is still far from where it stood in the Butch Jones/Brian Kelly era.
The university boasts being “one of the nation’s 100 largest public universities and offers more than 200 academic programs at the undergraduate, master’s, specialist and doctoral levels” on its page for potential students.
CMU has national prominence in that regard, yet rarely acts like it.
For the past five years the administration and board of trustees has had a “keeping up with the Jones’” approach to running a university.
“If Western is opening a College of Medicine, then why can’t we? Other universities have great food selections, let’s spend $1.5 million to build a Mongolian Barbeque.”
That’s not to mention CMU’s disastrous new website, which still has a homepage that resembles something more fit for a credit card company.
The bottom line is by trying to play catch-up with other rival universities the university refuses to do one thing: Make CMU a place that stands out.
Right now CMU is opting for the option of becoming a generic university that offers a little of everything and is mediocre at them, rather than a few things and being very good at them.
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