Thursday, December 06, 2007

Postsecondary Education and Nebraska's Future forum

Original Article
Related material on the internet:
Nebraska Innovation Forum
University of Nebraska 2000 - 2004(strategy plan?)

This is a news report not my comments on the event.

On Dec. 5, 2007, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) and Senator Ron Raikes, Chair, Nebraska Legislature's Education Committee, co-host the forum: Postsecondary Education and Nebraska's Future.

The forum features presentations by Dennis Jones, president, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and Q&A sessions with Nebraska leaders - Dennis Baack, Stan Carpenter, Doug Christensen, Tip O'Neil, Linda Ray Pratt (above, represent education sector), Wendy Boyer and Jim Linderholm (business sector). Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman is also invited. Dennis Jones' presentation can be found here.

Dennis Jones, a native Nebraskan who had been invited to give similar talks to Nebraska's policy makers in the past(e.g. 2003), made his points even clear this time that the most important thing for Nebraska is to strive on economic development. In general, his talk concluded that Nebraska is doing a fair job in educating our kids but is short on building a sustainable economics and, as a result, Nebraska was not able to retain these well educated kids and was not able to achieve economic gain.

At the Q&A session, several good points are raised. Stan Carpenter, with daughter in school, talk about customizing system to fit students learning style. Doug Christensen talked about what K12 system have done in recruiting minority students. Dennis Baack talked about community colleges' efforts in working with Universities, State colleges and private institutions in making the system more economic. Tip O'Neill talk about the culture changes in savings and about legislature's efforts in encouraging saving for education. Linda Ray Pratt talked about University's willingness in engaging the society in economic development and University's efforts in creating the innovation park. She also talked about UNO's efforts in attracting Iowa students. Wendy Boyer, when asked about businesses' view about the training need from higher education institutions, talked about the mixed need from business world and talked about the short term specific training needs of businesses.

Governor Dave Heineman use his opportunity to talk about the difficult budget decision he have to make between other issues and education. Even though he has passions on education and economic development, the tight state budget is limiting the funding state can appropriate to education. The lower tax and budget discipline is his signature.

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