Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Basin College

Here’s good news about Great Basin College:

1.       GBC provides students with academic and training programs leading to good jobs in regional business and industry.

2.       GBC provides viable access to post-secondary education programs to 127,000 residents of rural Nevada communities.

3.       GBC maintains a comprehensive technological infrastructure linking more than two dozen rural communities for synchronous and asynchronous instruction, training, continuing education and community service.

4.       GBC establishes and maintains robust relationships in the private sector which lead to substantial private investment in GBC.


I can’t imagine any way to estimate what my business will be doing more than five years from now.  Therefore, we have few employees under contract and none for more than three years.

But academia is different.  Under the pretext that professors can only have academic freedom if they’re given lifetime employment under an agreement called “tenure,” these faculties have created security for themselves with little or no security for the institutions they serve.  Employment contracts for limited periods serve both parties.  Tenure serves only the professors.  Tenure must go.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Desert Research Institute

Here’s good news about the Desert Research Institute:

1.       DRI provides profound economic impact to Nevada, by leveraging $5 for every state dollar invested!
2.       DRI has 558 employees with 140 research faculty
3.       DRI’s non-tenured/soft-money faculty generate own salaries
4.       DRI’s faculty brings $40M into Nevada’s economy!
5.       At any given time, DRI conducts about 300 research projects worldwide


Why should the working man and woman without a college education, and with absolutely no job protection and no ability to negotiate for that job protection be at risk of being pauperized when a college professor, with a Ph.D. and a unique commodity to sell, has a lifetime of guaranteed employment because of his or her being tenured.

There are no legitimate reasons for overly protecting those who need no protection if they are competent and perform their jobs rather than use the protection given them under “tenure” to rip off the institution and therefore, the public.

If tenure has some legitimate components, I want to hear about them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good News About CSN

Here’s good news about the College of Southern Nevada:

  1. The CSN honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, is one of the largest in the nation with more than 500 members.

  1. CSN trains a third of the nurses in the state.

  1. The CSN Culinary Team has represented Nevada at the Western Regional competition for over 15 years.

  1. CSN has the only slot technology program in the nation to train students to maintain and install the most popular gaming machines in Nevada.
If I gave you a list of 100 groups that support higher education, which group would come in last at number 100?  You’ll be surprised to learn it is the faculties at all the Nevada higher education colleges.  Two faculty members told me, “It is our job to teach—not to persuade the public, the governor, or the legislature to give us more money.”  If not their job, then why is it my job?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Good News About UNR

Here’s good news about UNR:

1. UNR is now ranked in the top 100 public universities by US News and World Report. US News also ranks UNR in the top tier of “best national universities.”

2. Nevada is #1 in terms of US geothermal energy potential.UNR’s Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy supports exploration and development by industry. UNR was selected from among a consortium of top universities in the field of geothermal energy to host the National Geothermal Academy. The second annual academy will be hosted in Reno in summer 2012.


UNLIMITED ACADEMIC FREEDOM to write an experiment on every issue, to all of us, is absolutely essential to human progress.  Fortunately there are laws on the books that provide more than ample protection of those rights so that no college professor’s work can ever be thwarted, or his job threatened.

BUT TENURE IS ANOTHER MATTER.  It is not a right necessary to protect academic freedom.  Rather, it is a right that too often is used to protect the incompetent and the inadequate.  TENURE MUST BE ELIMINATED.  The problems it creates far exceed the good that it does.  I’ll have more later.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Footnote: Oceguera & Heck

I tend to vote for Democrats.  Their philosophy is closer to mine.  But I look first to intellect and thoughtfulness.  I cannot support John Oceguera.  He has proven himself an empty suit.  I will enthusiastically support Joe Heck.

More On Salaries

I started this week by giving you a list of what various business school deans in the better colleges and universities are paid.  I end the week with a few more numbers and once more ask the question – Why can’t Nevada’s higher education system compete?
1.       Ohio State                                   $496,612
2.       Colorado – Boulder                    $425,000
3.       UCLA                                            $525,000

I tend to vote for Democrats.  Their philosophy is closer to mine.  But I look first to intellect and thoughtfulness.  I cannot support John Oceguera.  He has proven himself an empty suit.  I will enthusiastically support Joe Heck.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Educated Work Force

We now seem to understand what is going on in the economy around us.  When Nevada was rolling in money, 95% of its population would have said – “Who needs a college education?  You can make a hundred thousand dollars a year even if you can’t read. “  

The result of this idiotic thinking was that we invested little if anything in education.  Then the bottom dropped out of the economy and we found ourselves in a world of reality where those who are uneducated will no longer be a part of our economy when it returns to full strength.

Now that we understand the need for an educated work force we don’t have the money to educate that work force.  How do you believe we solve the problem both in the long and short runs?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Importance of Higher Education

We Nevadans just seem unable to comprehend the importance of higher education.  The states that flourish have outstanding universities.  In spite of what Nevadans believe, the top universities create the top economics.

The Dean of the UNR Medical School is paid $500,000 plus certain benefits.  Sounds like a lot of money which should draw the best of the best medical school deans.  Johns Hopkins University Medical School pays its dean $1,500,000 per year.

Wonder why the best are the best?  It is because the leaders and professors are paid the most.

Footnote: There are 125 U.S. medical schools. All of them are good, some are excellent. The University of Nevada School of Medicine is ranked #86 just behind the University of New Mexico at #83 and the University of Arizona at #78.
The Nevada medical school is in good company. There is no question about its quality it only lacks in quantity. It needs to graduate at least 125 a year instead of 60. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why UNLV Can’t Compete?

Yesterday I gave you the salaries of Deans of Business Schools at major public education institutions.  Here are the salaries of the Deans of Business Schools at three private universities:

1.       University of Chicago       $702,606
2.       Yale University                  $700,000 plus
3.       Johns Hopkins                   $580,000

Can’t you see why UNLV can’t compete?

Footnote: The big law firms, in order to cut costs by reducing staff, are now having their legal research done by lawyers in India, and other foreign countries.  I’ll bet you never thought this would happen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Competitive Salaries

The UNLV School of Business is looking for a new dean.  I understand the job pays $285,000 and has no serious people applying.  There are many reasons but one that is easily understood is this.  The salary is not competitive.  Look at the salaries of these public institutions:

1.    University of Michigan    $550,000

2.    University of Virginia      $578,000
3.    University of Texas         $541,000


The big law firms, in order to cut costs by reducing staff, are now having their legal research done by lawyers in India, and other foreign countries.  I’ll bet you never thought this would happen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Medical Education

Levels in sports competition are logical and productive.  Every football player should not have to be capable of playing at USC, Notre Dame, Alabama or LSU.

Some of the colleges with smaller athletic programs are there to take the second and third layer players.

But medical schools can’t be first line or second line.  All must be able to compete at the highest levels.

I wonder if the UNR medical school really produces the quality of doctors that the University of Washington, UCLA and USC produce.

Anything less than the best medical education is simply not satisfactory.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Boyd School Of Law

Only one college of Nevada’s two universities is ranked in the top one hundred colleges across this country.  The Boyd School of Law was formed just over ten years ago.  Its present law school ranking is 76 out of approximately 200 accredited law schools.

To have a professional school in the Nevada System of Higher Education is absolutely wonderful.  It is there because private money built it and supports it.

But for Bill Boyd, the Thomas family and the Mack family, UNLV would not have a law school.

We have the capacity to build world class centers of education.  We don’t do so because we don’t care about having them.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Best

Have you ever known anyone whose doctor, lawyer or other professional was not one of the ten best in the world?  Obviously, this simply cannot be so.  But we seem to have the need to exaggerate the competence of those with whom we deal.

We not only tend to exaggerate the status of our own physicians, lawyers and experts of all types, but also exaggerate the status of our own universities.  If you didn’t believe that your college or university, especially the department in which you studied, was not a top 10, then I’d be surprised.  Unfortunately there is only room for ten at the top ten levels.

I didn’t go to a top 10 college.  I wish I had had the brains to do so.  But I went to the best school that would accept me.

Take a look beyond the borders of Nevada to learn about the leading colleges and universities in the United States.  If you can get into one of these, why should you ever settle for less than the best? Unfortunately, UNLV and UNR are not even in the top 150 colleges and universities.

For those of you not presently looking for a college or university to attend because that is a past chapter in your life, don’t you think you ought to do everything to make Nevada’s universities competitive with the best?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The dean of the Education College of one of the ten highest ranked universities in this country recently told me that over thirty percent of the teachers in this country are incompetent.  What a shocker.  I’ll be interviewing him in the future when he visits Las Vegas.


Can you get a good quality education at UNR and UNLV?  Of course you can.  But wouldn’t you want the best college education possible from a school that attracts the best students and the best faculty?  I would.

Both UNR and UNLV are not the best – they are not even close to being the best.

Nevada has always had the capacity, but never the desire to build world-class universities.  That has hurt our ability to attract high tech business and to build very sophisticated financial centers.

We missed the boat.  I doubt it will ever come by again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Good Are Nevada’s Two Universities?

Where do you send your children to college?  Like most parents, we sent ours to the best schools our children could get into.  How good are Nevada’s two universities?  UNR is ranked 181; UNLV has no ranking.  Wouldn’t that make you look at the 180 better schools to send your kids?

Friday, May 11, 2012

There Will Always Be A Question

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation did UNR’s new president, 
Marc Johnson, no favor when the Foundation threatened to make no additional donations to UNR if Johnson were not chosen president.  If the letter the Foundation wrote was not an intended as a threat, it certainly looked enough like one to be one.

The Regents also failed Johnson in not openly repudiating the Redfield  threat long before Johnson ‘s selection.  Johnson could probably and will probably handle the presidency very well.  I have heard good things about him.

But there will always be a question of whether the other candidates could have done a better job had one of them been selected in a fair search.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dr. Marc Johnson

Two issues bother me about Dr. Marc Johnson becoming President of UNR.  I hope those issues can be resolved so that I can support him as all Nevadans should support him.

First is the way he participated in his own appointment in a manner which smelled of a set up – that is the votes were lined up before the search, and  $100,000 was wasted in choosing candidates, none of which was ever going to get the job.

My second concern is Johnson’s performance as the Interim UNR President.  He did much to go it alone, without considering the needs of the other institutions and the system as a whole.  He shirked  his duty as the leader of one of eight, rather than one of one.

I spent five years trying to get the eight higher education institutions to work together.  We had some success.  I hope Johnson does not return us to those times where all the institutions fought each other which did nothing but injure the whole system.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bart Patterson

Bart Patterson was just chosen by the Board of Regents to be President of Nevada State College.  It was an excellent choice.

I worked with Bart at the system office for five years.  He was an outstanding general counsel with tremendous knowledge but even more important, he possesses outstanding judgment and integrity.  He is a super star in a time when the Nevada System of Higher Education needs many super stars.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Funding Formula & The Chancellor

I worked with Chancellor Dan Klaich for nearly five years.  He is smart, intuitive, hard-working and a man of unquestionable integrity.  When I left the Chancellor’s job in 2009, Dan assured me he would see that the funding formula would be reexamined and changed to make funding equitable among all eight of the higher education system institutions.  

I spoke in depth with Dan last week and he reassured me that the old formula was going to be thrown out and a new one would be adopted that would be as close to fair as possible.  I believe him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Repair Thirty Years?

How does the Nevada legislature repair thirty years of shortchanging the southern Nevada colleges by more than $900 million dollars?  From what I see, there will be no attempt to do so.  Southern Nevada will always be at least $900 million short.  Hopefully going forward with a new funding formula, the $900 million dollar difference will not continue to grow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fundamental Problem

There isn’t one southern Nevada legislator who has any meaningful understanding of the northern Nevada higher education system and the same observation applies to the northern Nevada legislators’ knowledge about the southern Nevada colleges.

This is the fundamental problem to the distributions of higher education funding. The present attempt by the committee, all of whom have good intentions, to fairly distribute state funds between the southern and northern Nevada higher education schools is doomed.

With the limited amount of funds, and nothing in sight to indicate an increase of college funding, the legislature will now only decide how to give students in the south and the north funds from an inadequate source.  The new motto will be, rather than “share funds and support a few,” “spread the inadequacies of the system’s funding equally among all students.”  All will fail. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Southern Nevada and northern Nevada have absolutely nothing in common.  They are incompatible and there are no universal rules that can be adopted to govern both ends of the state.  They cannot go their separate ways because the north and south cannot be legally divided.

But they can start to adopt rules and regulations that put more power into the areas where the power should be.  The northern colleges should have one board of policy makers and the south should have its own.

Because money controls all human activities, the right to tax and spend should be given to the County Commissioners in their respective areas.

The inequitable funding between northern Nevada and southern Nevada is the result of giving one group the power to raise and distribute money rather than two groups, one for the north and one for the south, which would allow each government body to represent their constituents, and only their constituents.  Each must have the power to tax and distribute those taxes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Political Power And Its Abuse

This week’s tweets are not about Bill Raggio who was a good, honest, thoughtful, caring and hard working State of Nevada Senator for over three decades.  The tweets are about the gathering of political power and its abuse.  I am sure Raggio never made a back-room deal that put any money into his pocket.  He was a very competent lawyer, outstanding district attorney and certainly one of this state’s greatest, if not the greatest legislator. 

A democratic system cannot survive and reach its maximum potential where political power begins to be entrusted in one person, regardless of the person’s integrity, good faith, hard work and high intellect.

The higher education system colleges in southern Nevada have always been treated as second class citizens, only worthy of being financially supported, if the northern Nevada colleges got first count of the state’s higher education system money. Bill Raggio did his job and did it well.  He was the most powerful Nevadan for over thirty years.  He was a representative from the north who strongly and logically believed it was his job to fund the higher education schools in northern Nevada, not to fund the southern Nevada colleges.  He was right; he did what he was elected to do.

It was not Raggio who failed the southern Nevada colleges.  It was the system of government in Nevada that allowed the gathering of unlimited power into far too few people that failed us all.   Term limits are one of Nevada’s greatest achievements.   Those rules alone will protect the state from having the destructive concentration of political power that Bill Raggio was given.  There will never be another Bill Raggio – that is bad.  But there will never be another Bill Raggio and that is good.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Raggio's Power

Nevada has been fortunate to have many competent governors.  One was certainly Kenny Guinn.  I had known him from his early years as Superintendent of the Clark County School System where he had been a super star.

In talking with Guinn on many occasions he described the role of Nevada’s governor and said “You have to understand that the governor has very little power – that the governor cannot really affect the direction of the state.  The governor’s day to day job is to operate the state and that does not call for bold and creative decisions.”  The control of the purse strings is in the legislature.

I am not a political scientist.  But I do know one very important concept.  He who controls the money controls the mission.

For forty years, Senator Bill Raggio gathered power on a regular basis and became more powerful than any governor who served during Raggio’s tenure.

One of the primary results of Raggio’s power was his brilliant and politically oriented ability to control the State’s purse strings – and control those purse strings he did.

There is nothing wrong with the use of power – the proper use drives society forward.  But the abuse of power by any person, regardless of his honesty and good faith, will finally destroy the project and send it in scattered directions.

In Raggio’s zeal to protect the colleges in northern Nevada, his power became so great that it resulted in shortchanging the southern Nevada colleges by more than 900 million dollars.