Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frohnmayer's Report

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about Dave Frohnmayer's report to the Higher Board of Education, here's the document he submitted:

Frohnmayer%20Report.pdf

Happy reading.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frohnmayer Calls for Universities to Become Independent

An interesting development from former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer. Tasked by OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner to write a report for the legislature's February session, Frohnmayer recommends making Oregon's public universities autonomous entities like OHSU.
His plan proposes that the 2010 Legislature give the State Board of Higher Education authority to convert one or all of Oregon's three largest universities into public corporations that would have more control over their budgets and operations. In exchange for that freedom, they would be held accountable to rigorous performance goals aimed at better results on outcomes such as student retention and graduation rates.
The Oregonian article also notes that state support for higher ed has declined by 44% in the past 15 years. And in a rather shocking comment on the future, there's this:
The state higher education board has set a goal that by 2025, 40 percent of Oregonians will have a bachelor's degree or higher, 40 percent will have an associate's degree or certificate and 20 percent will have a high school diploma. To meet that 40 percent goal by 2025, Frohnmayer writes, the Oregon University System would have to increase enrollment by 72,000 students to 164,000, which would require three more universities with the capacity of Oregon State.
Change is in the air.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Economic Impact of Higher Education

I ran across an interesting study recently released by the University of Virginia that traced the impact of higher education in that state. While it was state-specific, the results are pretty eye-popping:
Every dollar spent by the Commonwealth of Virginia on higher education produces more than $13 in job-creating economic activity, says a new study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Each higher education dollar also results in $1.39 in increased tax revenues that flow back to the state's coffers.
The methodology included measuring "the impact of higher education expenditures as well as the economic benefits that flow from investing in human capital (the increased earning power and spending by college graduates)." This latter point (my bold) is an important point for PSU AAUP to highlight: fully a third of the Oregon students educated in public universities in Oregon are educated right here at PSU. Portland State is the main engine for educating Oregon students--those same students who go on to enrich the state for decades to come after leaving college.

That value flows directly from the quality of the teaching and research that goes on here at PSU--and which the state needs to support to maximize this economic boost.