Lover of wordplay and rhetorical snark that I am, it is taking me an immense deal of restraint to not explode into ridiculing laughter at the following announcement because I'm not convinced that reaction is warranted in this particular case. But with the way every excited toss of collegiate confetti into the buzzword-perfumed air can often prove to be less exciting than it pretends if the shredded pieces are reassembled, and the fact that there’s a slight taste of that asterisk-ridden lingo to what I read of the announcement as well, I can hardly be blamed for this impulse.
The news is that U.S. News and World Report has declared Cal Poly the Most Efficient University among regional universities in the West. Whether this allows students to rename Poly Canyon Village “Best Western” is up for a great deal of debate, but cheap joke aside, this is pretty cool news. Sure, the overly analytical, such as myself, might say “it’s only the most efficient in the West” and “it’s not even the top ranked school in the West in terms of educational quality by the very same website” but let’s be realistic here—not every college on God’s Good Earth is going to be at the exact same level of quality in every single attribute.
Heck, many colleges are going to have different strengths, and even the “best” may not be what you actually need for your particular situation. Besides, Cal Poly is still ranked 10th best in the West and No. 1 in this area’s public universities, being the most efficient is not just icing on the cake, it’s a true testament to the college’s commitment to offer all it can to make its motto proud.
Here’s where I actually begin to struggle, though: “efficiency” in this case refers to the amount of money spent per student on programs. Doing the most with what you have is fantastic. However, bits and pieces of the actual report almost seem to hone in on the idea that the less you spend on your students and services, the better of a job you are doing. I realize that this probably isn’t the intent, but in a world filled with voices gasping that their cause deserves funding more, having one’s part, as small as it might be, in a program that exists to make us something better than we are and show others that we deserve their damned attention after all be reduced to saying “yeah, well look at the University of Molossia, they don’t need nearly as much to change a person’s life forever, what the hell is keeping you back?” is too insulting to too many people I don’t have space to name.
Congratulations, Cal Poly, but you already had my appreciation, for heaven’s sake.
Send collegiate news to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be thankful for your education!