I am pleased to introduce the 2011-2015 Strategic Agenda for Kentucky Postsecondary and Adult Education, which will guide statewide public policy priorities as we work together to fulfill the vision first articulated by Governor Paul Patton and the Kentucky General Assembly in the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 (House Bill 1). That legislation set out important challenges for the Commonwealth focused on elevating the standard of living of Kentuckians through postsecondary education.
Today, more than halfway to the 2020 goals in HB 1, Kentucky’s colleges and universities have made impressive progress. Despite a more difficult fiscal environment than in 1997, campuses have done more with less. More people are more highly educated than at any time in Kentucky’s history. Postsecondary institutions are more diverse, both in terms of enrollment and personnel. The quantity and quality of research vital to economic growth and our nation’s health are world class. And the community engagement manifest at each campus is creating relationships and results that enhance quality of life and K-12 education across the Commonwealth.
This new Strategic Agenda builds on the decade of success encouraged by HB 1 and brings focus and renewed energy to our shared mission. The new Agenda is the product of hundreds of hours of work and thought from over a hundred contributors, including members of the Council on Postsecondary Education, campus presidents, chief academic and business officers, institutional research professionals, college and university faculty, as well as representatives from Kentucky’s business community, the Department of Education, the Cabinets for Economic Development and Workforce Development, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, the Education Professional Standards Board, and other organizations and state agencies.
The finished product honors the autonomy and diverse missions of the campuses. It balances the advocacy, facilitation, and communications responsibilities of the CPE with its duty to develop public policy and monitor its execution and progress. This Agenda calls on Kentucky’s rich array of postsecondary campuses and adult education providers to utilize their unique capabilities to give life to the four focus areas imbedded in this document.
- First, we are committing to use our resources to support K-12 colleagues’ capacity to get every youngster college- or career-ready by the time they graduate from high school.
- Second, we are committing to do all that we can to assure students persist to graduation with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their lives and livelihoods.
- Third, we recognize that our mission includes the creation of new knowledge, applying new knowledge to improve the human condition, and strengthening Kentucky’s economy. Our responsibility is to be active, engaged contributors to the well-being of our communities, our schools, and the public health.
- Finally, because all institutions benefit from varying forms of public support, we will constantly strive to do all that we do as efficiently as possible.
Moving forward, campus leaders, guided by institutional strategic plans that complement this Agenda, will continue to vigorously monitor progress toward our common goals. At the state level, a new dashboard to gauge quantitative and qualitative progress, regular status reports to the Governor and legislature, and annual campus reports to the Council will form the core of the Council’s accountability structure.
While parts of the Agenda can be implemented within existing resources and other elements will actually generate new revenue or produce savings, some will require new resources. Future budget requests will, in significant part, be guided by the elements in the Strategic Agenda, and additional energy will be focused on securing funding from philanthropic and federal sources.
The current economic conditions notwithstanding, opportunities for significant progress are emerging. Kentucky’s new Strategic Agenda for Postsecondary and Adult Education encourages broad collaboration and powerful partnerships among our campuses, our adult education system, our public schools, and the Commonwealth’s business, philanthropic, and political leaders. The implementation of this Agenda will forge new, effectively aligned policies, actions, and resources that will enhance the likelihood of educating more Kentuckians to the high levels necessary to compete in the global economy of the 21st Century.
Robert L. King, President
Council on Postsecondary Education