Implementing the Strategic Agenda
Achieving the policy objectives and strategies outlined in the 2011-15 Strategic Agenda will make the Commonwealth grow “Stronger by Degrees.” The following are critical to its successful implementation.
- Adequate Funding.
Sustained, adequate funding in direct operating support to public postsecondary education institutions is vital to achieving statewide policy objectives and moving forward on the aggressive, long-term goals of HB 1 (1997). Increases in state funding, tuition revenue, and financial aid, as well as aggressive cost control, will be required to increase productivity and protect college access for low- and moderate-income students and families.
Accountability in higher education is a shared responsibility that includes common goals and objectives, a division of labor, measured results, and a focus on continuous improvement. It will take a common commitment between the Council; institutional governing boards, policy leaders, faculty, and staff; Kentucky’s adult education system, students, and parents; the Governor and the General Assembly; the K-12 system; and key state agencies and stakeholders to demonstrate accountability at both the state and institution level.
- Performance Metrics and Targets.
A select number of state and institutional performance metrics, with negotiated targets for 2015, will help guide progress on the 2011-15 Strategic Agenda, HB 1 mandates, and other reform legislation. Other data, including various leading and lagging indicators, will be monitored to gauge improvement and assist in policy development.
- Implementation Plans.
The Council is directed by statute to draft an implementation plan that will be pursued collaboratively with institutional representatives and other key stakeholders over the next four years. This policy work is intended to complement, not supplant, the strategic plans approved by institutional governing boards that broadly align with the strategic agenda and allow postsecondary education institutions to achieve their unique missions.
- Reporting and Benchmarking.
A new Web-based performance dashboard and improvements to the Council’s accountability reports will provide easy access to the data and information needed to understand absolute and relative progress on key objectives and strategies. Council and other stakeholder meetings will allow for regular updates on progress.
As originally envisioned by HB 1, strategic trust funds and various incentive programs are crucial to stimulating increases in degree production, research activity, community outreach, and workforce development. Kentucky must continue to fund proven programs like “Bucks for Brains,” Regional Stewardship, Workforce Development, Kentucky Innovation Funds, and EPSCoR, and provide new incentives directly related to improvements in degree production.
- Balancing Quality and Quantity.
One of the key challenges is balancing the need for high-quality credentials that allow individuals to be successful in their work, life, and communities with the demand to increase degree production and educational attainment. Strengthening current programs and expanding new ones will help the system control costs, both for students and the state.