Stop with the frigid, cold wasteland already! July 18, 2011Posted by mareserinitatis in education, societal commentary.
Tags: north dakota
This article about North Dakota colleges being a great deal showed up in the Wall Street Journal.
I had a few thoughts, and it seems easiest to just give you a bulleted list. So here goes.
- Duh! Although I didn’t realize it when I first went to college, the quality of education is not significantly different from most other places. In fact, my experience suggests that the biggest difference is that most of the teachers care more at places like NDSU than at higher ranked universities. (Perhaps this is because a lot of the students from North Dakota are from rural backgrounds and may not have had the opportunities available to high school students elsewhere in the country.) However, because the North Dakota University System doesn’t charge big bucks, it doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves. Also, because it’s in North Dakota.
- People think North Dakota is inherently a cold, desolate wasteland. For instance, in the article, “No place has proved more popular with bargain-hunting nonresidents than flat, cold, landlocked North Dakota.” Hello?! It’s been in the 90s with over 70% humidity for the past week. Just because it gets cold for a couple months in winter doesn’t mean it’s always like that. In fact, the majority of the time, it’s not that cold…and is, in fact, far warmer than I really like it. And those cold winter months – well, we have heaters. (And we have a wide variety of energy sources, like coal, gas, and wind power to run them.)
- Another comment in the article: “City leaders say that its image finally is recovering from the Oscar-winning 1996 film “Fargo,” which described it as “the middle of nowhere.” Did we have to bring it up AGAIN? I wish they’d named the movie “Minnesota”.
- “In the National Science Foundation’s rankings by federal research expenditures—a key measure of prestige for research universities—North Dakota State and University of North Dakota each jumped ahead of more than 30 other institutions over the past 11 years, to the 147th and 143rd spots, respectively.” Later in the article, they point out that “the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education reclassified the school as a “very high research activity” institution, placing it among the nation’s top 108 private and public universities.” Now admittedly, jumping from 170+ to 140+ isn’t as big a leap as moving from 140 to 110…but it’s not an insignificant change, especially within a decade! I think it’s even more surprising given ND universities don’t have the type of infrastructure and resources available at other similarly-ranked and especially higher-ranked institutions. But no one seems to know this except people in North Dakota.