University of Akron President Wants UA to go National

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The University of Akron President took an unusually long time on his state of the university address yesterday (Tues).   Scott Scarborough has been under fire by faculty who are not pleased with his layoffs and budget cuts.  He defended the actions and received an assist from LeBron James.   Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports.

The first year president walked the stage for well over 90 minutes using no notes or teleprompter, describing times through history when the University of Akron made major changes.  Scarborough says change is needed again because only elite private schools, a handful of major public schools, and a few for-profits are doing well.

“But you’ve got institutions like ours that are kind of stuck in the middle that need to make this move.  Either to a niche university or more of a national university to survive and thrive in the future.  That’s the choice. “   

Enrollment in the university has been falling for years.  So Scarborough wants to market Akron as Ohio’s Polytechnic University and do so on a national level.  Many students and faculty chafe at the thought, arguing that it diminishes the scope of the school.  

Scarborough stated that it’s more a marketing tool and that Akron will maintain a comprehensive curriculum including its humanities courses.

He’s getting some help in a video made by LeBron James, whose family foundation is helping to fund scholarships for Akron public school kids.

“Wherever I go I always talk about me being from Akron and without those 5 letters I wouldn’t be who I am today.  Whatever your dream is, whatever your passion is, you can become that. Partnering with the University of Akron it can be accomplished."

In the end Dr. Scarborough asked the faculty members in the audience to join him and work as teammates to accomplish the next version of the University of Akron.

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