A recent survey found that faculty across all colleges at NC State overwhelmingly disagrees with Governor McCrory’s recent statements regarding higher education.
The survey was administered via email on Wednesday, February 6, and was sent to a random sample of 665 tenure (TT) and non-tenure tracked (NTT) professors at NC State.
The issue at hand dates back to January 29, when Governor Pat McCrory spoke about higher education on a radio interview with Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan. McCrory commented on the way education should be funded and what studies should be subsidized. Of the faculty surveyed, almost all (87%) had heard about McCrory’s remarks.
One of Governor McCrory comments was, “Frankly if you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But
I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.” In response to this, 85% of faculty said they disagreed. As might be expected, nearly all College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) professors in the sample disagreed with that statement (95%). Yet, faculty in STEM colleges (science, technology, engineering and math) also overwhelmingly disagreed with McCrory’s statement (82%).
The faculty was also asked to agree or disagree with McCrory’s statement on how higher education should be funded. In the interview, McCrory said, “the basic formula how education is given out to our universities and community colleges” should be changed so that “it’s not based upon how many butts in seats, but how many of those butts can get jobs.” Faculty response to this was consistent with the previous question, with 82% disagreeing with it. Similarly, 93% of CHASS professors, 82% of STEM professors and 60% of education and management professors disagreed with this statement.
Priority of education
Faculty members were also given four statements on what universities should provide to its students, and were asked to rank their priorities. Faculty at NC State stated that the number one priority should be to provide its students with a broad-based education that promotes intellectual growth, followed by providing students with skills and knowledge that will be of general value in the working world. The third ranked priority was to provide training for a specific career or profession, and their least important priority was to help students improve their future earning potential.
There was some variation across colleges. Of the liberal arts, CHASS, professors, 76% rated the promotion of intellectual growth as the number one priority, while that percentage dropped to 57% among STEM professors and 55% among Management and Education professors.