Purdue President Mitch Daniels Takes A Jab At Students Inflated Self Esteems

Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who is now the President of Purdue University, released his annual letter to the university. He didn’t hold back.Here’s the link to the letter I got it from:

President Daniels hits on a lot of topics such as college participation is dropping nationwide, finances of students, bureaucracy he’s trying to clean up, criticism from the admin for taking on satellite campuses, grade inflation. People tend to forget how he tackled political correctness and the status quo.

Here’s some snippets:

And yet, for all our self-congratulation about innovativeness, internally we remain mired in some astonishingly inefficient practices that it is our duty to modernize.  Nothing is sadder than to see good people working very hard on tasks that are completely unnecessary.  Dollars we waste in operations and administration are dollars that could have hired new professors, enhanced our compensation of the most productive employees, or simply been left in the pockets of our students and their families. 

The striking phenomenon of “grade inflation,” in which average college grades keep drifting up and up (despite documented lighter reading and homework loads) runs counter to the longtime Purdue culture of challenging students and pressing them to reach their full potential.  As best one can tell, our average grade may no longer be substantially below the national average.  If so, and if this shift is evidence that our traditional culture has softened over recent years, it presents the question whether this is a desirable, inevitable, or troublesome trend.

In too many places, “self-esteem” has apparently taken precedence over candor in student assessment.  For many of our arriving students, anything less than an A comes as a jolt and a rude surprise.  The student evaluations of our faculty which are collected at the end of each term are thought by many to be heavily tilted toward professors who are less demanding or inclined to easier grading.

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