Not wasting this crisis

I keep hoping that this economic crisis is like Y2K.  Remember Y2K?    There was a lot of concern and even panic, but no real crisis at the end of the day.

Common sense, though, tells me that we will see more cuts. We’ve seen it in higher ed, and I know that media program budgets are down in many systems. What no one knows is how and where future cuts will be made.

Here are three things we should all be doing as budgets tighten:

  • Be indispensable. Make sure your activites are central to school priorities. (This does not mean that you sacrifice the library program; it means that you ensure that your library program is indispensable.)
  • Look for ways to solve problems in your school, using the many resources at your disposal.
  • Show how media center functions and resources can save money. This might be a good time to point out that with a little less filtering, many online tools can save thousands in software costs – as just one example. A good library book collection can be more cost effective than short-lived textbooks, if the instructional model incorporates inquiry and reading. Intelligent use of technology can cut down on the need for consumable supplies as well.

On the bright side, perhaps we’ll never hear this statement again:

“Education should be run like a business.”

Many businesses and corporations, it seems, haven’t done so well, and violated common sense often in managing their resources. In public education, we’ve become accustomed to doing a great deal with very little.  The “little” keeps shrinking – but we’ll keep doing our best!

According to yesterday’s Macon Telegraph & News, Governor Perdue often says “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”   Things are definitely shifting under our feet.  Using common sense, innovative management and problem-solving along with the strategies above, I hope this crisis can shift things in our favor.

Mary Ann Fitzgerald, University of Georgia

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Posted on December 5, 2008, in Best practice, Program administration. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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