Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina, said on Monday on a talk show hosted by Bill Bennett, a conservative, that the "educational elite" had taken over higher education in the state, offering courses that do not lead to jobs. He said he instructed his staff to draft legislation that could change how the state funds universities and community colleges, "not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs."
When Bennett joked about gender studies courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, the flagship university of the UNC University system and the oldest public university in the nation, McCrory also said, "If you want to take gender studies that's fine, go to a private school and take it," McCrory continued, "but I don't want to subsidize that if that's not going to get someone a job."
UNC President Tom Ross has come out with the statement that "the University's value to North Carolina should not be measured by jobs filled alone" and that it is already moving toward greater emphasis on student success and academic and operational efficiency and away from headcount for funding. "Our three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service requires that we prepare students with the talent and abilities to succeed in the workforce, because talent will be the key to economic growth."
Pat McCrory's statement has unleashed a torrent of comments on Insidehighered.com already. (See the article and comments here .) McCrory is not alone in calling for overhaul of his state's universities and community colleges. The governors of Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida, all Republicans, have proposed similar ideas,