University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees, in consultation with a panel of professors, approved a reform package aimed at improving the quality of undergraduate education offered at Pitt and raising its national and international ranking. The report released by the Board summarizes the new laws, which will take effect immediately.
Thus, the common practice of professors requiring the latest and most expensive editions of textbooks is now a requirement for all classes. Brian Shelf, a Pitt professor of something and a member of the panel, said that “the decision was based on numerous studies showing that reshuffling chapters and exercises improves student learning and performance.”
But this was only the tip of the iceberg.
The report states that students will now be required to use the latest versions of everything from notebooks, writing utensils, and calculators, to backpacks and other accessories with the slightest connection to academic learning and performance. Similarly, the University is now required to replace the hundreds of computers in all of its computing labs and libraries with the newest and most powerful available version every year.
“We were alarmed by the University’s low international ranking, which was the main incentive for the reforms,” said Amanda Purplish, the Board’s Chairperson. Because our undergraduate education system is near perfect, and because last year’s nationwide poll showed that Americans are the smartest nation in the world, Purplish said, “arriving at the conclusion that technology is the key was like putting two and two together. Can all those Englands and Japans say their students can use pi to the millionth digit in their homework on the most powerful computers in the world? Can they say their students use top-notch pens and pencils and GPS-capable, nuclear-powered calculators that can graph nonlinear systems of differential equations? Nuh-uh, I don’t think so.”
Although the report notes that the reforms will cause the tuition and student expenditure to almost double, all agreed that “this is the modest and unavoidable price of progress and international prestige,” said Michael Pom, the head of the advising panel. “It’s not like we can lower the tuition at all, and paying more when you already pay a ton doesn’t seem so bad, especially when you don’t have much of a choice. Technology is your best bet when the limit of human mental capacity has been reached.”
Confident in the effectiveness of this reform package in raising student performance and international prestige, numerous colleges and universities across the country are scheduling meetings to discuss and certainly pass similar or even more drastic measures.