Inquiring Minds: Junior college in the city a better idea than most

We at the Waltonian, traditional undergraduate students at the traditional undergraduate campus, worry about Eastern’s direction. It seems sometimes that what the University really needs is not another new non-traditional college or new name or new organizational structure, but just the opposite: a renewed focus on the undergraduate endeavour. But we’re very excited about the new college in the city.

We are not exactly against the School of International Leadership and Development, the School for Social Change and the rest of the non-St. Davids programs. They all fit the mission of Faith, Reason and Justice in obvious and wonderful ways. It would be ridiculous to suggest ending them.

But they seem to be evidence that Eastern has bitten off more than it can chew. Every year or even more often, some new program is announced. But the rumors which reach St. Davids always sound like those programs are in turmoil.

St. Davids is a campus with an uncertain (if rising) academic reputation of its own, rampant grade inflation and graduates who work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Why would Eastern expand more and more, covering ninth-graders to doctoral students, when things aren’t right at home?

We’re tentative here because it’s hard to quantify how the undergraduate program would be better off without the add-ons. The only obvious example is the IT Institute, opened (and quickly closed) several years ago, which was a major financial loss for the university that helped lead to a million-dollar shortfall and restricted budgets everywhere.

All that said, we think the community college Eastern is founding in Philadelphia is an excellent idea.

The move is admirably in keeping with the commitment to Faith, Reason and Justice. Plus, it plays to Eastern’s original core mission: providing a good undergraduate education. The only difference is location.

It is also a move that can benefit the St. Davids program. Once students have two years of college completed, it will be more possible for them to afford Eastern’s private school tuition for two more years, which may mean more students earning bachelor’s degrees and doing it at Eastern.

With that kind of focus, it’s a move we can wholeheartedly support.

nquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.

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