David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Bracketology: General Regional

 March 27, 2013:  Bracketology -- Day Four (General Region)

It's time to discuss the final region of my Higher Ed Challenges Tournament (64 challenges to higher education--see the entire bracket here).  Today, let's look at the General Regional, where I dumped in all the things I couldn't pigeonhole in the first three regions (and trust me, pigeonholing is second nature to academics).

Graduation Rates, seeded #1, wipes the floor with #16 seed, Alternative Credit, which is too bad, because a little collaboration between the two and some of those legitimate alternative credits, especially for the non-traditional student demographic, could help achieve graduation rates.  But, there is money in them bills (contact hour bills).

Frivolous Grant Funding, #8 seed and media darling, goes up against Accreditation, #9 seed.  Frivolous Grant Funding is so fascinating to watch (hey, I appreciate finally knowing why that freaking woodpecker going away outside my window is not getting a headache) that everyone will fall asleep on the lumbering, powerful Accreditation, which will win at the last second on a controversial call by an official who will need Accreditation in the near future.

The U.S. News and World Report Rankings of Colleges, #5 seed, brings its reputation and celebrity into a match again #12 seed Title IX.  Turnout for the game is minimal as the public is convinced that Title IX means they will be watching a women's basketball game (without even Brittney Griner).  They will miss Title IX put up a good fight on behalf of students everywhere denied their opportunity to get degrees at all of the colleges they can't get into as listed in the U.S. News and World Report.  However, they ultimately stand no chance.

#4 seed, Retention Rates, battles #13 seed, Naming Opportunities.  While there's a lot of money to be made from naming opportunities, whether it be the Arnold Schwarzenegger Women's Dorm, the Sid Vicious Music Hall, the Mario Mendoza Fieldhouse, or the Dave Fleming Math Building, improved retention can bring colleges and universities money that they don't have to be embarrassed about when Dave Fleming later reveals that he can't do a quadratic equation.  Retention rules!

Placement Rates, the #2 seed, surprisingly loses to #15 seed, Diversity in the tournament's biggest upset.  However, it should be no real surprise, as placement rates is trying to network with all of the corporate fat cats in the first row seats while Diversity, accustomed to having to fight for every morsel it can get, will prevail.  

In a sign that the selection committee has a wicked sense of humor, #7 seed, Administrative Glut, will battle #10 seed, Presidential Searches.  The players will all resemble the Geico Made of Money motorcyclist, with hundred dollar bills flying off the Assistant Dean bench players on the Glut side and thousand dollar bills flying off the retired academics on the Search side who have found that being part of a search firm is the best gig in the world.  Oblivious to the specific units of currency, the media and the public will get all over Administrative Glut, allowing them to advance while Presidential Search firms collect half of the gate and retreat to their homes in the Hamptons.

More evidence of the Committee's twisted sense of humor comes when #6 seed, Board Oversight, has to battle #11 seed, Transparency.  No one can actually see transparency during the contest, and has to trust the Board when they report the score.  Because they want everyone to believe they believe in Transparency, they will actually announce Transparency the winner.  They will follow with a fan satisfaction survey to prove that Transparency won out.

Finally, #3 seed, Safety and Security meets #14 seed, Globalization.  The team members of Globalization check in via Skype and argue that the experience is equal to their mates at the actual arena.  Safety and Security is too busy checking with its lawyers to even care. However, is there any doubt that the lawyers will determine the outcome?  Yes, it is Safety and Security which will produce a stat sheet that has no fouls or turnovers.  There is no crime here, yes sir!

Graduation Rates, backed loudly (and embarrassingly) by government, easily trounces Accreditation, which gets "we're coming for you next" looks from the government officials in the stands.  That will set up the expected monster battle with Retention Rates, which actually slowly undermines all of the U.S. News and World Report Rankings, who files a protest after the match.  Where would Graduation be without Retention?  Nowhere?  But that doesn't stop Graduation Rates from riding the government tide to victory.

Diversity against Administrative Glut is a strange tale of players getting confused which team they are on.  After all, the main focal person on the Administrative Glut team is the Vice President of Diversity.  Glut is victorious.  Transparency defeats Safety and Security by reinforcing a stat sheet that shows no on-the-court mistakes or crimes.   Ultimately, Transparency is set up to battle Graduation Rates for the Regional final.

The game proceeds at a snail pace and Transparency slows the tempo down every chance it gets.  Graduation Rates simply have to rely on their powerful presence.  Their cheerleaders don't hold up cards saying "Go Team," they hold up billboards lamenting how miserable graduation rates are.  It really is no contest and everyone understands why Graduation Rates was the regional's number one seed.

Next blog:  the Final Four.


See the Money Regional here.

See the Student Experience Regional here.

See the Faculty Experience Regional here.