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January 4, 2012

External Factors to Consider

At the Board of Visitors meeting in December 2011, the Board members asked the Task Force to consider “externalities” shaping higher education in Virginia today and to show how the ASP will respond to these externalities.  This blog post will provide links to the main “externalities” the Task Force needs to consider. 

State Legislation: Top Jobs for the 21st Century

At the state level, the legislation shaping the context for higher education right now is the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, aka “Top Jobs for the 21st Century” or “TJ21.”

This legislation grew out of recommendations by Governor Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment. 

The most concise summary of the legislation comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  As outlined on their website, the “Top Jobs 21” legislation seeks to increase the number of college graduates who are prepared to take on the jobs of the 21st century, which they predict will be in STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math – and Health) fields.  The legislation focuses on three main goals: reform-based investment, affordable access, and economic opportunity.  To read more details about these goals, click here.

Another concise summary, along with the text of the legislation, is available at the Richmond Sunlight website.   

A less concise summary, but one that puts the legislation in the context of the 2005 Higher Education Restructuring Act, is available at the SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education of Virginia) website.

During June 2011, the chairman and co-chairman of the Governor’s Commission gave a presentation about the legislation.  The powerpoint of that presentation is available here.  Slides 15-21 are especially helpful in highlighting various aspects of the legislation.  

Longwood’s Six-Year Plan

One of the mandates of the Top Jobs 21 legislation was for every university to submit a Six-Year Plan that detailed how the institution would meet the goals of the legislation.  You can read Longwood’s Six-Year Plan, which had to be submitted in July 2011, by clicking here.   

Longwood’s leadership also had to submit a prioritized list of our spending initiatives.  You can see that list here.  Note there are three different categories: Funding Through Reallocations, Funding Through Tuition Increases, and Unfunded Initiatives.  Some of the reallocated money comes from the $850,000 the General Assembly allocated to Longwood for the Nursing Program that can now be reallocated for other STEM-H initiatives.

Grow By Degrees

This is an initiative spearheaded by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC).  The VBHEC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership between Virginia business leaders and higher education leadership.  You can read more about the Grow By Degrees initiative here.  Be aware that there is some overlap between the VBHEC and the Top Jobs 21 legislation.  Thomas Farrell, who chaired of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment, is also a member of the Board of Directors of the VBHEC.

Know of additional “externalities” the Task Force should consider?  Provide links to resources in the Comments section below.

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