Friday, October 10, 2003

Overhaul of Ohio grad schools advised

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio's public colleges and universities have too many mediocre graduate programs and possibly too many public medical schools, said the state's top higher-education official.

Roderick Chu, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, is asking the state for the power to abolish some programs to make the schools more efficient.

Chu made several recommendations Wednesday - including a study of whether the state needs six medical schools - to a commission appointed by Gov. Bob Taft to study Ohio's public colleges.

California has five medical schools despite having triple Ohio's population, he said.

"There has never been a careful, systematic analysis of need and benefit," he said.

The Board of Regents oversees the distribution of state funding to public universities, but trustees at each school have the final say on programs.

"Ohio has far too many weak or just average graduate programs," Chu said.

The regents tried to do away with six graduate history programs by cutting funding eight years ago, but succeeded in eliminating only one at the University of Akron.

Akron President Luis Proenza scoffed at Chu's proposal. Instead, he said Ohio needs to do more to catch up with states that already started strengthening technological and biomedical programs.

"We will probably recommend that the regents get some more power," said James Tuschman, a U of Toledo trustee and panel member.

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