How Not to Run a Railroad

by Jane S. Shaw

I had to laugh a little. Transcript reform (revising the college transcript by adding “contextual information” such as grade distribution) would seem to be a worthy objective. The Chronicle of Higher Education has devoted an article to efforts being made at the University of North Carolina.

The funny part is that the professor who is championing the idea has been trying for several years to get his proposal adopted. It has to work its way, tortuously, through the Faculty Senate — even though there doesn’t seem to be any resistance to the idea. Now it’s in the hands of an independent committee, but the professor says that “the implementation does remain to be figured out in a context of significant budget constraints.” The Chronicle’s interviewer seems doubtful, as the title of his story is: “The Uncertain Future of Transcript Reform.”

Now, why do I wonder about the university as an engine of progress?