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Archive for Friday, October 19, 2007

Regents task force to create standard for admissions

Former lieutenant governor Sherrer to lead group

October 19, 2007

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— Gary Sherrer, former lieutenant governor and new appointment to the Kansas Board of Regents, will chair the regents task force on state admissions standards.

Sherrer, who was appointed by regents chairwoman Christine Downey-Schmidt, has been outspoken on the need for a "21st century set of admission standards" as opposed to the current ones, which were passed in the 1990s. The task force is to produce a report for the regents by October 2008.

"I don't want us to produce a report where we adopt a number of 'guiding principles,' " Sherrer said. "If we don't have an action agenda when we're finished, then we failed."

The regents also adopted a mission for the task force, citing five key goals for consideration:

¢ Provide widespread access for qualified students.

¢ Retain the state's best and brightest students for post-secondary study in Kansas.

¢ Enhance prospects for student success.

¢ Foster seamlessness across the state post-secondary system.

¢ Promote the efficient use of limited state educational resources.

The task force will try to achieve some of the synergy that legislators envisioned when they moved oversight of community and technical colleges to the Board of Regents. Regents Chief Executive Officer Reginald Robinson told the board that the universities were interested in who would make up the task force.

Sherrer said while he hoped to see some people with expertise on college admissions and administration, he also wanted to have people who come without preconceived notions.

"You also want people who bring good minds. If you just talk to people who are doing (work at colleges), your perspective is quite narrow," he said. "I want good, smart Kansans."

He seemed receptive to the idea of having parents and students on the task force.

Kansas University Provost Richard Lariviere has been interested in having the regents look at state admissions policies for some time. Last year he broached the idea of a qualified admissions policy and presented a briefing paper to the regents when they visited KU in September.

Under a qualified admissions plan, which the admissions task force will no doubt look at, students would not earn admission strictly based on a test score or grade-point average, but rather based on essays and activities.

The task force is expected to consider how the community colleges, regional universities and major research universities can work together to ensure students are enrolling places where they will succeed and that the state's resources are being used most effectively.

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