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Kudos to HACC President Dr. John “Ski” Sygielski and York College President Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith on the recent initiative to smooth the credit transfer process between Harrisburg Area Community College and York College of Pennsylvania. Students will know up front about the transfer of credits. They should not lose credits as was the case in years past. And they will have counselors from York College available on the HACC campus to address any questions and smooth out any problems that may arise.

This is a model for other colleges to follow and hopefully they will do so. It demonstrates the type of leadership necessary in today’s higher education marketplace.

Colleges need to address the needs of their students and other stakeholders. Traditionally students have been ignored and preyed upon as a captive market by arrogant, self-serving faculty and administrators. As long as money was obtained from the students, no one on campus seemed to care about them. Few administrators and perhaps fewer faculty have been willing to take leadership roles in addressing such issues as delayed graduation rates. Delayed graduation rates are primarily caused by poor curriculum design, course scheduling and negligent academic advising.

Lack of institutional oversight; particularly by the consumer is one cause of this. Inadequate employee screening; both initially as well as when personnel are promoted is another. Faculties that won’t police their ranks add to the problem. All combined create an incubator for dysfunction at best and corruption at worst.

While the easily recognizable damage is done to students, other stakeholders are negatively impacted as well. The student debt crisis by itself creates negative economic ripples. Perhaps most significantly; self-serving institutionalized arrogance is a major tuition cost-driver, albeit one that may be difficult to quantify.

Higher education plays an important role in our society. We are at grave risk of losing it due to institutionalized intransigence. Colleges are not only blind to the problems within; they also can’t see means of ethically increasing their revenue: “the most obvious is the least conspicuous” in far too many instances.

Initiatives like that undertaken by HACC and YCP will bring in revenue and fulfill the needs of all stakeholders. This is an absolute necessity in the years to come.

What else can be done?

CHRIS HERTIG

Spring Garden Township

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