Topeka Kansas higher education found strong support from those who attended recent meetings held by the Kansas Board of Regents that were aimed at connecting with business and industry leaders.
That’s the finding of a survey released Wednesday by the regents.
Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Reginald Robinson said the meetings will help establish long-term relationships with leaders across the state.
“This is not a one-shot deal,” Robinson said.
The regents conducted meetings in 12 cities, including Lawrence, in October and November.
More than 400 people attended the meetings, and about 20 percent of those returned surveys to the regents on higher education issues.
Of those who completed surveys, 100 percent said higher education is critical for economic development and providing the future work force of the state.
Eighty-three percent said further cuts in state funding to higher education will put the quality of higher education in Kansas at risk, and 75 percent said the higher education system is above average or excellent. Higher education has been cut by $106 million, or 13 percent, this year because of the current budget crisis.
Kip Peterson, a regents spokesman, noted that many survey respondents commented that higher education “needs to be more nimble and agile.” And they warned against downplaying a liberal arts education because they said many young workers have trouble communicating and working collaboratively.
Peterson said recurring themes that arose during the meetings were a statewide shortage of health care professionals, and a need for lifelong learning opportunities.
Many of those who attended the meetings also said high school graduation requirements should be better aligned with what it takes to succeed in higher education.