My dad used to have an expression: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” - Joe Biden
Press releases, liked budgets, are often uncomfortably honest revelations into what institutions value. With that in mind, consider this tweet from UT System about UTRGV’s first year:
Philanthropy: Up 530%
Research expenditures: Up 56%
Student applications: Up 21%
Based on this, the UT System values money above all.
This is consistent with comments UTRGV president Guy Bailey made to faculty last year. He said he was often asked about what problems the new university was facing. He said, roughly (not a direct quote) that he told people, “I don’t have any problems that money can’t solve.” And indeed, the rest of his presentation talked about how UTRGV could get more money from the state by optimizing patterns of student enrollment. The main times I have seen our president in the news have been when he’s accepting money from donors.
The longer press release is a bit better. The first bullet in the list is student retention rate. That is indeed something to be proud of, considering that retention was something the legacy institutions struggled with. But the next two items on the list are about money.
What does an institution brag about?
UTRGV off to a stellar start in historic first year
UTRGV receives largest donation in RGV higher education history, names business college in honor of Robert C. Vackar