Saturday, December 29, 2007

Local Media: Sun Shines on Ave Maria University

Meep Meep: Road Runner Escapes Unscathed (yet again)

The local media in Collier County neatly summarizes Ave Maria University's progress on several fronts:

The paint has barely dried at Ave Maria’s new campus in eastern Collier County, but university leaders announced in January that a fourth dormitory is needed to handle a projected enrollment surge. That project will be completed for the fall 2008 semester, and a recreational pool and cabana complex also will be ready about the same time. Academically, Ave Maria cannot make any substantial program changes until it completes an accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. Athletics will make a push onto campus, though, as the Gyrenes expect to field teams that will compete in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Elsewhere, the local news reports that accrediation is on track for the school and federal aid for students is secure until the end of academic year 2010 (and all-but-secure thereafter):

A decision from a federal education advisory panel looks to secure Ave Maria’s access to billions of dollars in federal financial aid funding for the foreseeable future.
What is more, the same reporter notes that the recent discussion of AMU's accreditation is rooted in a national debate about federal policy and expanded federal involvement in universities (giving the lie to those who pretend the matter is one of AMU's making):

AALE’s federal status — and by proxy Ave Maria’s — has been part of a larger debate on the accreditation process and more generally higher education’s future. The Department of Education has pushed accreditors — including the country’s six primary agencies like SACS — to shift to measuring quantitative aspects of student performance, such as college graduation rates, rather than focusing on evaluating administrative processes. Accreditors have balked, arguing the department is trying to impose a one-size-fits-all model on higher education. Congress became involved in the fight and has threatened to pass legislation limiting the Department of Education’s power.
Seems that the Chickens Little (who constantly intone that "any minute now all things Ave Maria will implode") and the Boys Who Blog Wolf (whose fanciful false alarms and tiresome conspiracy theories have voided any credibility they may have had) will end up once again like the ever-frustrated Wile E. Coyote (who obsessively calculates the delicious demise of his likable arch enemy, but always causes more harm and frustration to himself).

Doubtless some are fuming mad at this news and will react by ordering a new contraption from