Paul Quinn College’s new Urban College Model
February 20, 2015 § 3 Comments
Of all the problems with higher education, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell doesn’t talk much about them. President Sorrell, better known as “Prez”, is more interested in changing the status quo than talking about what can’t be done. In short, Prez is a solution-seeker.Two years ago, Prez gave a Ted Talk on the skeleton of the idea. Earlier this week he announced that next fall PQC will be operating under the Urban College Model, a model that entails free open source textbooks, lower tuition and work experience with local companies. Only seven schools in the country enjoy this model. Also, Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, is working with the school on designing a course on entrepreneurship.
“We have listened to our students,” Prez promised a crowd of about 200 earlier this week. The cries, I suppose, amounted to a dislike for debt and a lack of jobs.
I’m a fan of cheaper textbooks. College textbooks are a racket, in my opinion. As a matter fact, my friend is using the same economics book I used in 12th grade. Yup, the infamous Ben Bernanke (this was before I even heard of Bernanke) authored Principles of Economics. Like a pawn shop, one purchases the textbook for an unreasonable amount, sells it to the school (or if you are smart, sell it to a student or online) and the school turns around and flips it for 4x as much to another broke and indebted college student.
I’m a fan of work-colleges. I’m a fan of work-school in general. Remember when Newt Gingrich proposed having grade school students work as janitors and other menial positions in their school? Yeah, I was for that.
Prez said on campus students will be required to work on or off-campus in order to receive that $5,000 decrease in tuition. Many times students graduate with no experience and receive training at their new jobs. I am against this model because I believe one should receive those skills during college. I do wish, however, curriculum changes are made to better suit your major. For example, as a legal studies major, college algebra is pretty useless to me. I assure you, even as a business man, I won’t be solving quadratic equations. And I can learn the compound interest formula elsewhere!
I’m a fan of Cuban and entrepreneurship. Often times I wear two piece suits and ball caps solely because of my admiration for Cuban. Shark-Tank is a cool show and South Dallas in particular and black people in general will benefit from embracing that type of culture. A big issue in South Dallas, particularly in the Highland Hills area, is the lack of grocery stores and banks. Calls to abandon the large, corporate retailers have been made but the tools to build one’s own store aren’t all there. Many people in the community, including Prez, are working to change that situation.
Whether or not Cuban will establish a Shark-Tank/angel investment type gameshow at Paul Quinn College, I was told by the Prez to not hold my breath. Actually he said, “Let’s wait on getting this started before we head in that direction.”
Along with the new model is the addition of several new degree programs such as Health and Wellness, Finance, Urban Studies, and Agriculture Management.
Lastly, I’m a firm believer of the “devil are in the details” so as the plan rolls out, more information will be made available and the actual implementation of the plan will prove its integrity.
One thing is for sure: this plan is much more honest and well-rounded than the so-called “free college” plan by President Obama. As one colleauge put it to me, “I like this model [better] vs free college.”
Prez for Pres?