UGA Eng. program poses no threat

Armageddon is upon us. The Four Horsemen are riding. The calendar is off; 2012 came early. It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine.
If a passerby were to ask people on campus about the new UGA Engineering program, they would most likely think after talking to people on Cherry Street that UGA was positioning itself to take over the world of engineering and cut off all funding to Tech using the evil, wicked powers of the Board of Regents.                   Most of my fellow Techies who I have discussed these recent happenings with are blowing this situation way out of proportion. In doing so, they are not giving their own Institution enough credit while simultaneously giving those people in Athens way too much credit.
UGA is looking to expand its very modest engineering program of obscure (some, including myself, would say useless) degrees into a very modest, slightly more mainstream engineering program. Let me also say that when I use ‘modest’, I mean subpar and inconsequential.
Tech has a well-established College of Engineering and fights for the top positions for almost every engineering field in national rankings. MIT, Stanford, Berkley, Michigan and Illinois are our peer institutes in the world of engineering. We have around $500 million in sponsored research every year.
So here is the question I pose to the people wanting to light torches and sharpen pitchforks when it comes to UGA Engineering: who cares? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. To even draw some far fetched conclusion that some how they are going to compete with us on any substantive level is ridiculous. UGA is the school that cannot keep its football players out of jail. It is also the same school whose reputation is most closely attached to the fact that it is ranked as the No. 1 party school in the nation. This is the same university whose math and science programs are considered by their own students to be jokes. Does any one really think they are going to compete for the same NSF Grants that Tech receives?
Member of Georgia Assembly are also none-too-pleased about the program. Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R- Powder Springs), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “As long as I’m chair of the committee, they [UGA] won’t receive a dime for that engineering program.” So now they are going to have an under-funded, modest engineering program. In all honesty, UGA President Michael Adams would have a better chance of brokering peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians than building this engineering program up to a nationally prominent level.
And who is going to attend this program? UGA says they are going after our rejects who can’t get into Tech, but I think Georgia Southern will probably be more strategically positioned to take that angle. Besides, don’t UGA grads and students always try to argue until they are blue in the face about how it is just as hard or even harder to get into UGA as it is to get into Tech? And anyone who gets into Tech and UGA and wants to be an engineer and decides to go to UGA has terrible judgment, and frankly, I would not want that person at Tech anyway or designing a bridge for that matter. So now UGA has an under-funded, modest engineering program that is only attended by a select few with terrible judgment.
Get the point? This whole stink that has been whipped up by the students around here is pointless.
But I would like to give kudos to the Bud and his buddies on the Hill for whipping up the storm they did over this episode. They are politically savvy and understand that they can use the situation as leverage against the board in the future. If they are looking for suggestions on what they could lobby for, I, selfishly, recommend a new building for the Aerospace Engineering School.
This situation, however, should not be used to radically change Tech into a ‘Mega-university.’ While I believe there is a need for people who get degrees in French Poetry or Recreation Science, there is not a need to have those sorts of degrees at Tech. There might be some areas where Tech could be a valuable contributor that the Institute is not currently involved in, but any major expansion in academic offering should not be done in haste.
And on one final note, for those of you on campus that think Tech should use this situation to try to become a private school, I just want to say that I have heard some ridiculous ideas in the past, but that suggestion takes the cake.


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