If you were the president of an organization that had a projected $36 million budget deficit, what would be your response? Well, if you were UT's Lloyd Jacobs, you would propose spending more money by opening a dental school.
This "logic" fits with how Jacobs has run the university.
Jacobs hired a $1,200-a-day consultant to help to boost enrollment. Fall 2013 looks to have as much as an 8 percent decline in enrollment (get ready for the "we have fewer, but better-prepared students" mantra). To reward the consultant for his ineffectiveness, rumor has it that Jacobs has given him a full-time position at UT.
Now with UT on the verge of having to make drastic budget cuts, Jacobs figures it's time to open one of the most expensive types of colleges--a dental school.
According to the American Dental Association, "Starting a new dental education program is a costly endeavor for sponsoring institutions." Part of the reason is that the clinical operations are maintained by the school, as opposed to medical schools where the clinical education is typically offered at non-university locations.
Considering that the ADA says that tuition and fees account for only 18 percent of a public dental school's revenue and that over the last 15 years dental schools at Georgetown, Loyola, and Northwestern (among others) have closed--one wonders, "What is Jacobs thinking?"
The sad part is that the lap-dog UT Trustees will approve anything that Jacobs proposes. Starting a dental school will be right up the alley of the Trustees' incoming chairman, Joe Zerby. Here's how that works: Zerby is employed by the Blade, the Blade is owned by the Block family, and the Block family takes credit for bringing the Medical College of Ohio to Toledo (now part of UT). The Blocks are going to push for a dental school, and they have the perfect liaison in Zerby.
Just as with Vik Kapoor's disastrous tenure as UT's president, it's going to take a long time for the university to recover from the organizational and morale damage Jacobs has caused.