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Sunday, May 16, 2021

UF is already more than ,30 million in debt. Gov. Charlie Crist might cut some State University System funding. The Tuition Differential Program might not provide enough funding for both measures.

So is the recent ,1,000 per person leadership training program for faculty and staff worthwhile? Absolutely.

If you're UF President Bernie Machen, this reform improves peer ratings, a key ingredient in a U.S. News & World Report Top 10 public school ranking. However, there are benefits above and beyond a mere mathematical calculation.

With more than a dozen faculty hires on the line, finding and employing the right people is more essential than ever for UF's progress. A bad hire can cost more money than a salary: students are frustrated by poor leadership, professors avoid seeking tenure here and peer rankings decline. A program dedicated to educating teachers not only improves the quality of current hires, but also provides the few natural leaders within the fold with the tools they need to step up and serve in positions where we need them the most.

Promotion based on this methodology works wonders for morale. If you feel like your time and effort with The Gator Nation leads to bigger and better things, why quit? If you do not work effectively or beyond the call of duty, someone else will do it for you - someone who will eventually become your new boss. This competition would address one of students' most widespread concerns: They desire to see teachers and teaching assistants who are involved with the students whom they serve.

Younger, newer employees would have time to learn the ropes at their new home before getting in over their heads. After showing they are capable of teaching a few classes or handling a small budget, these teachers could move up to higher positions with the knowledge that students will support them based on their previous work. Instead of punishing the talented based on age, leaders can refine them so they will do their best work when the time comes.

In a nutshell, the administration hopes to cut down on turnover, increase productivity and attract more grants and research funding. Ironically, a measure that looks wasteful will actually save money in the long run and improve quality. No one should have to choose between a quality education and a low-cost education.

Many non-educational settings successfully merge these ideals. Chick-fil-A is a highly successful fast-food chain, but closes its restaurants on Sundays. Wholesale-supplier Costco is gaining ground on Wal-Mart while paying its employees high wages and universal health insurance. McDonalds, while a corporate giant, still takes the time to educate its future managers at Hamburger University.

A lot of people think big businesses don't care about their employees on the small scale, but companies such as Chick-fil-A and Costco go beyond the status quo. They help change the landscape of the industry for the better. They are businesses that UF must emulate.

Vincent Gagliano is a sophomore majoring in physics. His column appears on Wednesdays.

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