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September 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

Beyond Cheerleading: Governing Boards Should Exercise More Oversight

“Institutional reform depends on three ‘I’ words: information, incentives, and innovation. Let me discuss each of these words in the context of institutional governance,” said Dr. Richard Vedder as he addressed members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Vedder is Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences. The meeting was sponsored by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Vedder’s Sept. 19 talk was on “Beyond Cheerleading: Governing boards should exercise more oversight and be more actively invoved in setting policy.”

Information: “Boards have far too little information on which to make intelligent decisions.”

Incentives: “Many of the cost-enhancing initiatives of universities that are questionable on cost-benefit grounds occur because the incentives systems are out of whack.”

Innovation: “I usually get a good laugh by claiming that, with the possible exception of prostitution, teaching is the only profession where there has been absolutely no productivity advance in the 2,400 years since Socrates taught the youth of Athens. America’s economic exceptionalism was to a considerable extent fostered by a high level of invention that quickly became commercialized and led to increases in output per unit of labor input.”

Read his entire speech.

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