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Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Regents approve plan to improve higher education

September 15, 2010

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— The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a long-range strategic plan — Foresight 2020 — aimed at improving the quality of higher education.

“The goals of Foresight 2020 are ambitious, achievable and absolutely necessary,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park. “Public higher education is a critical asset to Kansans, is key to economic success, and is essential for securing the best possible future for our citizens and our state.”

The six strategic goals under the plan are:

• Enhance coordination between the state’s pre-kindergarten through 12th grade system and higher education system, and between the individual institutions of higher education;

• Make the higher education system better reflect the state’s demographics and more fully engage adult learners;

• Improve retention and graduation rates;

• Ensure that students earning credentials and degrees have the skills essential for success;

• Enhance the alignment between higher education and the needs of the Kansas work force and economy;

• Improve the regional and national reputations of Kansas universities.

The plan was put together after three years of discussions with input from the state’s public colleges and universities, regents, and staff.

It includes numerous specific deadlines and targets.

For example, by 2020, the plan calls for Kansas to achieve a 10 percentage point increase in first-to-second year retention rates across the higher education system. In the more near future, the plan says the regents will identify by June 2011 benchmarks of excellence in comparison to peer institutions and establish goals to increase regional, peer and national rankings.

“This plan will ensure, through measurable and aspirational goals, that the quality of the state’s public higher education system is significantly enhanced,” Sherrer said.

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