PQP lead-foot is dangerous

PQP is a train which is running without any delays, but this kind of service will not serve its passengers well.

IBHE Chairman Arthur Quern, the conductor of the controversial Priorities, Quality and Productivity (PQP) initiative, has opened the throttle full-speed, and plans to reach his final stop on time, even if universities are hurt in the process. PQP is attempting to streamline universities by refining mission statements and cutting academic programs.

Because of the time constraints, Quern shuffled the agenda at this week’s IBHE meeting to hear reports from the individual universities on the PQP process. On the surface, this sounds like a noble action to undertake. After all, the universities have complained about not having enough input in the process. However, in doing so, Quern moved the presentation of the IBHE staff recommendations on program cuts off the track. Not only that, but Quern virtually squelched all debate among IBHE members by discouraging questions and remarks. In addition, groups which were at this week’s meeting to address the IBHE were put off.

Now on Nov. 24, the IBHE will both hear the recommended cuts and vote on them at the same meeting. Quern’s maneuver does not allow enough time for this truly serious issue to be discussed to the needed extent. Sure, there will be a special hearing the day before the meeting for all those with something to say on PQP, but IBHE members are not required to attend, ensuring that any opposing voices will not be given full attention.

Quern has said PQP is not a political process and is an open one for the universities. However, his actions show that conductor Quern is on a mad dash to make sure the deadlines of the process are met, despite the fact that all the input and information is still not in.

Someone better slow down the PQP train and untie the passengers, who right now are tied in the middle of the tracks.