Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Strategic Agenda Research and Economic Competitiveness Subgroup

Meetings and Materials:


Postsecondary education must play a central role in transforming Kentucky’s economy and quality of life. Through expanded research and development, faculty and staff expertise, the commercialization of research, and degree and credentials clearly linked to immediate and future workforce needs, colleges and universities are a critical component in spurring economic growth and development. Just as important, Kentucky’s postsecondary institutions must be good “stewards of place,” working with community leaders to advance economic, social, cultural, and environmental progress.

  • Kentucky’s 1997 Postsecondary Education Improvement Act calls on the University of Kentucky to be a top 20 public research institution and for UofL to be a nationally recognized metropolitan research university by 2020.
  • Kentucky ranked 41st in the nation in the amount of federal research and development dollars generated in 2007.
  • Kentucky ranked 47th in the growth of the total gross state product from 1997 to 2007.
  • In 2007, Kentucky had a per capita personal income of $30,824, which ranked 45th in the U.S.
  • In 2005, Kentucky ranked 45th in the nation in the percent of the workforce in managerial and professional occupations.
  • Kentucky ranked 45th in the nation on the New Economy Index, which includes a variety of indicators measuring types of employment and industries, education levels of the workforce, investment and opportunities in the high-tech industry, and other related factors.

Mission and Deliverables:

The Research and Economic Competitiveness Subgroup will review relevant data and best practices for state-level action and will propose objectives and strategies  to ensure Kentucky’s colleges and universities help position the state to advance economically through a highly skilled workforce, regional stewardship, and cutting edge research. Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to:

  • A more unified “research enterprise” in Kentucky supported by unique and complementary strengths at the state’s two research universities. 
  • Postsecondary institutions as “stewards of place” that partner with business, civic, and P-12 communities to solve local, regional, and state problems.
  • Expansion of federal funding and state-funded incentives focused on the areas of science and technology that most benefit the state and the institutions.
  • Undergraduate student qualifications at Kentucky’s two research campuses.
  • Alignment of education, economic development, and workforce policies to develop, attract, and keep jobs and better coordinate workforce training activities and resources. 
  • Strategies to attract top research faculty.
  • Incentives to increase and strengthen undergraduate education in the STEM disciplines.
  • Existing capital infrastructure and investments necessary to drive a dynamic research agenda.
  • Corporate/university research partnerships. 
  • The transfer of research and technology to applications that lead to economic growth, job creation, and improved quality of life.
  • Aligning education, skills, and competencies with current and future workforce demands.


Nancy McKenney, Faculty Representative, Council on Postsecondary Education

Staff Facilitator:

Melissa Bell, Senior Associate, Academic Affairs

Subgroup Members

For the purposes of the strategic agenda planning work, “objectives” are defined as statements that describe an intended outcome, result, or process that are measurable, quantifiable, and achievable. (e.g., to increase the number of high school students going directly to college).  “Strategies” are defined as specific actions or activities that will be deployed to achieve objectives and performance targets.


Last Updated 6/23/2010