Public higher education institutions in America are being squeezed with vice-like force unlike anything they’ve experienced before. Legislatures are reducing their funding, for profit and not-for-profit competitors are proliferating and many civic and business leaders are questioning the very value of a college diploma. University presidents and the regents or boards they serve are stuck in an “iron triangle”: on one angle is access, their raison d’être and why their respective legislature chartered them in the first place – educate the people in our state. On the other angle is cost, which using conventional thinking rises when one provides access to the masses. The third angle is quality, which also is thought to be compromised when access – and costs – rises. What’s a university leader to do?
Invest his/her way out of the “iron triangle” and change the economics. This is precisely what President Mohammad “Mo” Qayoumi of San Jose State University (SJSU) is doing.