Wake Forest’s Nathan O. Hatch Does the Right Thing
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill 7/6/08
First commentary was that it was a big mistake. But
A few schools in recent years have dropped mandatory SATs – Bowdoin, Bates, Hamilton, Sarah Lawrence, Middlebury – and on first impression
Another passing thought was that
Hatch recently published an op-ed in The Washington Post to explain his reasoning.
“For several years, a growing body of research has made clear that America’s top colleges and universities are doing a poor job of helping some young people realize a critical part of the American dream: That anyone, no matter where he or she begins in life, has the chance to rise to the top,” he wrote.
Students from the top quarter of the socioeconomic hierarchy are 25 times more likely to attend a “top tier” college than students for the bottom quarter, he says. And a study of 78,000 students in
I happen to have worked as a press person for a university alumni office in a previous millennium and it happens to have been
Every major college and university faced a dilemma between the 1960s and the 1990s. Economy was booming and so was social awareness. The Civil Rights Movement brought a responsible attempt by most schools including
It was not an easy task as the poor do not share the same values, attitudes and cultural leanings and yearnings as the better off. And they would not have the same SAT scores. So bringing them into the best universities would drop the general SAT scores for the school. And SAT scores were vitally important then to colleges and universities because it was a time of rising economy and there was a high demand and public need for highest quality education for a growing middle class. A drop in SAT scores would critically lower the school’s profile.
Black students from middle-class and wealthy backgrounds became highly sought after. They integrated nicely with the white kids of the same economic backgrounds. Increasingly, the original mandate began to drift and the poor became increasingly ignored.
Enter the age of diversity and globalization. When the word diversity became universally ingrained in the lexicon in the early 1990s, the original paradigm permanently shifted. The poverty part of the equation which; the economic element and the core issue of integration was almost universally abandoned. Suddenly, you could not talk to a college President whether from Harvard or a minor junior college in
The age of diversity and globalization can be seen from a marketing perspective as bringing a full shift in paradigm. It came fast on the heels of the age of leadership and excellence. Now we are entering a new age. It doesn’t have a name yet but it began January 4, 2008, the day after Barack Obama won the
President Hatch is now a gatekeeper to this age. He has proposed a new formula in which great colleges like Wake Forest and Middlebury and Harvard and Stanford can keep their SAT numbers and other data vital to marketing high, as they must do to bring in the best students they can get worldwide and properly educate them, and also bring in and fully include those deserving from economic backgrounds which had been previously excluded.
Hatch has brought us back to our first principles and to our full range of responsibilities. He has provided colleges with a new model and possibly a standard maxim for the new century and he has done the right thing.