Addressing the Public Agenda
Examining The National Purposes Of American Higher Education: A Leadership Approach To Policy Reform
June 9, 2008
10:45AM - 10:45AM (EDT)
Presenter: Gordon Davies, former Director of State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, 1977–97
Respondent: Reggie Robinson, President, Kansas Board of Regents
Moderated By: Peter Blake
This panel will discuss preparation for a "global economy" that involves public colleges and universities helping their regions develop skilled and knowledgeable work forces that are attractive to prospective employers. Economic development begins at home, equipping local governments, communities, and residents with an understanding of the new environment and the resources needed to flourish in that environment. It can be assumed that a regional role is difficult, in large part because there are few rewards for doing so. Universities tend to be measured nationally and internationally on measures such as admissions selectivity and research volume. Regional responsibility requires new performance standards (most, if not all, states do not measure or reward what is euphemistically called "public service"), new expectations of faculty and staff, and new rules of engagement for senior administrators (working collaboratively with regional leaders to help meet needs). In addition, senior administrators have to remember that the university helps to address needs but it does not assume responsibility for solving the problems of a region or community.