not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Joint Appropriations Presentation

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to talk not just about our budget request but also about some of the new initiatives we are taking to spend money more wisely and effectively in serving our students.

I will ask John Brown to cover the financial details more specifically in a few minutes.

These are challenging times for public higher education. Since FY 2009, our state funds were reduced by more than a billion dollars while our enrollment increased by 9.4 percent.

During Fiscal 14, the amount of state funding per full-time student is about equal to the per student appropriation in Fiscal 1996. And those numbers are not adjusted for inflation.

Every public system in the country has faced these same challenges as state support has declined. Doubts are raised about spending priorities and faculty teaching loads. These are legitimate questions, which we take very seriously.

The rising cost of a college education is a matter I take seriously.

On every campus I visit a student will share the challenges of staying in school with higher tuition and fees, which may be exacerbated by a job loss at home. Sadly, in many cases, a few hundred dollars will make the difference as to whether that student stays in school.

I am deeply concerned about these students, and it is why, from day one, I have emphasized the need for the university system to be more efficient to help keep tuition and fees low.

Let me outline some things we have done:

First, we have worked very hard to limit tuition increases. And we will continue to limit increases. For the past two years, most students have benefited from the lowest increases in a decade. This is true at all institutions, except the research universities.

With regard to tuition, let me digress a moment to address a recent State Audit that reviewed use of out-of-state tuition waivers. As a result of this review the Board of Regents is examining its current policies to ensure that out-of-state tuition waivers are appropriately managed. The Board is expected to act next month.

But I want to unequivocally quash the notion that the value of tuition waivers represents foregone tuition income. That notion assumes that those students would enroll in USG institutions anyway and pay the full out-of-state tuition.

There are not many things that I can guarantee to you will not happen, but that is one of them. In fact, just the opposite will happen; we will lose both students and revenue.

Second, students pay more than just tuition – there are also fees. We have instructed presidents not to request fee increases unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, the number of approved mandatory fee increases has dropped from 67 in FY12 to 29 in FY14.

Thirdly, an increasing financial burden on students is the cost of textbooks. There is encouraging news on this matter. For example:

  1. At the University of Georgia, two biology faculty co-authored an online textbook which has saved their students as much as $200,000.

  2. Our staff, working with the University Press of North Georgia, has published an open-source electronic history textbook that potentially saves each student almost $100; similar efforts are underway for other disciplines as well.

  3. The cost of textbooks is a national concern as reflected in our Affordable Learning Solutions effort done in partnership with the California State University System, exploring the use of free, open-source materials. We are exploring similar arrangements with the university systems of New York and Minnesota.

A fourth major initiative is one that I briefly discussed last year. I told you then that we were in the final stages of a comprehensive space utilization study on each of our campuses.

This effort was motivated by our commitment to assure that we are constructing new facilities based on documented need rather than just the desire to have a new building on campus.

That study was completed last spring and its results were eye opening. The range of space utilization was wide. It is already having a positive impact on campus-based thinking about future needs. Some earlier proposed facilities have already been dropped.

The study immediately influenced the University System’s budget request for the construction of new buildings. For FY2015, we requested only two new buildings.

Also, in the area of capital facilities, the utilization study identified the need to allocate increased resources to maintaining and repairing the huge capital facility investment in the University System.

An increased commitment to our MRR program is not only financially and academically prudent; it is essential to our efforts to meet our stewardship responsibilities. To that end we requested MRR funding of $80 million for FY15.

Related to our emphasis on the MRR funding request is our continuing shift from large and expensive new buildings to what we call “Small Capital Projects;” these are typically projects of $5 million or less which are difficult to fund through the MRR allocation process. A list of those projects is in our budget request.

A fifth focus is to achieve greater administrative efficiency at all levels of the University System. One aspect of this effort is consolidation of institutions within the System.

When I became Chancellor, there were 35 institutions: there are now 31. We must keep our focus on the legitimate needs of our students and the faculty who teach them.

That is the ultimate purpose of consolidation – move money out of administration and into the classroom.

It can be controversial; it is difficult to implement – that is why it is so seldom achieved. However, it is hypocritical to talk about the “New Normal” for public higher education, yet continue to do everything the same old way while expecting different results.

A sixth area of renewed emphasis is that of economic development. To better coordinate and focus the teaching and research achievements of our faculty, we have hired a new vice chancellor of Economic Development and the board has established a standing committee on economic development. The new vice chancellor came to us from the Department of Economic Development.

These actions are directly aligned with the commitment that Governor Deal, the Board of the Technical College System of Georgia and the Board of Regents have made to the over-arching effort we call Complete College Georgia.

All of us working together must raise the education attainment level of Georgians if the state is to be economically competitive for the balance of the 21st century. I will quickly move on, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention three other critically important activities.

One – we want to achieve efficiency in the academic component of our institutions as well as the administrative side.

To that end, we have initiated a formal review and analysis of the degree programs at each of our 31 schools. We want to know how productive they are in terms of enrollment and student graduation.

This effort will not be a one-time snapshot, but an ongoing effort each year. It will create some controversy on our campuses, but it is the right thing to do.

Two – online education. This is a huge area of activity that attracts an extraordinary level of media attention and will continue to do so.

There are those who contend that we are not doing anything; that we are far behind. To the contrary, our colleges and universities have been doing a lot and are in the process of doing more. We are behind, but everybody is behind.

Let me give you a few quick illustrations of what is being done through online education in the University System of Georgia.

Last academic year, our institutions offered 12,031 online courses. In Fall 2012, almost 59,000 students – or 18.7 percent of total enrollment – took one or more online courses.

Since 2009, the number of online courses offered by USG institutions rose from 1,571 to 4,737, an increase of 200 percent.

Georgia Tech has offered 15 Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCS –in subjects ranging from psychology to engineering mechanics, and is launching a MOOC graduate degree program in Computational Science that will save students two-thirds of the cost of a traditional degree.

This spring UGA is leading a multi-institutional pilot offering of a MOOC-based pre-calculus course aimed at increasing retention and progression through this gateway course for degree programs in science, technology and mathematics.

Kennesaw State has just launched a MOOC graduate course in teacher preparation with more than 3,000 in-service teachers seeking to become more highly qualified.

And we are forming a consortium of institutions, led by Georgia State, who will participate in the development of a series of general education courses to be offered in this new, low-cost format.

We also are reaching out to the military as part of our work to increase the college level attainment of Georgians.

To that end, we are partners in Governor Deal’s Returning Veterans Task Force to assure that we are addressing the needs of our veterans.

We’ve established a director of Military Affairs in the System Office and our schools are working to expand on-campus, on base, and online programs to better serve our military citizens. For example, our Soldiers2Scholars program has helped to establish military outreach centers on 22 of our campuses.

We’re currently developing a means to help all military students receive appropriate college credit for their military training. And we have taken action to lower the out-of-pocket expenses for all our military students attending college through their GI benefits.

With support from a private endowment, Georgia Southern has established a Wounded Eagle Fund to provide financial assistance to wounded warriors or veterans with financial need.

As further examples of our military outreach, Georgia Perimeter College has established a Mentoring Veterans Program that pairs faculty and staff with veteran students.

Georgia Tech provides a VA-approved program that places veterans in internships with employers while receiving training, and Kennesaw State offers free entrepreneurship training to help veterans become successful business owners.

The Green to Grad Program at Georgia Regents University is training veterans with military medical training and experience as physician assistants. Abraham Baldwin offers a program that allows Army medics to become registered nurses with one year of study.

Third and lastly, and I will stop with this, even though there are other matters I would like to discuss with you. We are in this education ballgame with multiple partners, especially the Technical College System and the K-12 system of public education.

It is easy for those of us in postsecondary education to be critical of public schools about the quality of Georgia’s high school graduates. There are clearly legitimate concerns there.

HOWEVER – and that is a big however – we in the University System must look inward as well. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of Georgia’s public school teachers are graduates of one of our 22 teacher education programs. We may very well be part of the problem.

Working with the Department of Education and the Professional Standards Commission, we are launching a professional and objective evaluation of each of these programs.

This evaluation will have consequences; ultimately the graduates of those programs who do not perform at a high level will not receive a teaching certificate and the teacher education programs in our institutions graduating those students will not be allowed to continue.

Now, admittedly this is tough medicine, but folks, this is serious business and it’s time we do what we must do.

Mr. Chairman, I will conclude with these words.

It has become fashionable to question the value of college. When I have the opportunity to speak to high school students, I warn them not to listen to the “siren song” that college is not of value. It is a song that ill-serves the individual and the collective society.

The truth is just the opposite. We live in a time when labor surveys indicate that in the near future, two-thirds of the working age population will need some level of post-secondary credential to compete for jobs.

A McKenzie Global Institute analysis projects that by 2020 the world’s advanced economies may face a shortfall of more than 16-18 million college-educated workers.

Data show that those with a bachelor’s degree or higher have lower unemployment rates and higher earnings than those who do not.

The national 2012 unemployment rate for all workers was 6.8 percent. For those without a high school diploma it was 12.4 percent; with a high school diploma it was 8.3 percent and with a bachelor’s degree just 4.5 percent.

And a person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to have lifetime earnings of nearly $2.3 million, compared to $1.3 million for a high school diploma.

Put another way, a college education yields 74 percent more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma. One sure way to increase state revenues and hold the line on taxes is through our work to help more students earn a degree.

While there is a proven financial value to college for the individual and for our state, there is equal or greater value of having an educated and informed citizenry.

In these ways mentioned this afternoon the University System of Georgia is becoming a more student-centered system. I challenge our presidents at all turns to be creative about ways to contain costs, not just raise revenue.

I opened my remarks talking about challenging times. But these also are times of great opportunity for us in higher education to rethink and restructure how we serve students and the larger society. We are committed to this course.

We are not ignoring our challenges. We are tackling them.

We are making some decisions that are not easy or comfortable, but they are the right decisions for our students and the State of Georgia.

We have a Board that understands the need to act – today – in order to ensure the University System prepares our students for tomorrow.

We are reshaping public higher education in Georgia. We are not finished. But with your help, we will finish.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor’s State of the Student Address 2013

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

In recent years, it has become a custom for the chancellor to give an annual “State of the System” address. I’m all for traditions that serve a good purpose, but in this case a change in focus is needed.

“State of the System” may appear to some to be a self-centered approach to our challenges and opportunities. It looks inward, as if it is all about us – our policies, our programs, our budgets and our facilities. In that approach can be found the seeds of many of the criticisms being leveled today about higher education around the country and how we are out of touch, irrelevant and too costly.

We must lift our gaze to a broader horizon. Our focus must always be on our students and how well we prepare them for life in all of its challenges and uncertainties. While we do prepare students for work and careers, we also prepare them for all facets of citizenship and social relations. So today I bring to you the “State of the Student” – what we in the University System are doing now and must do tomorrow to create an optimal state for student access, progress and success.

Since becoming chancellor, I have talked again and again about “the new normal.” This is not a phrase; it is a reality; a reality that some higher education leaders have yet to embrace. Just as our students live in a different world today, so does public higher education. We are in the same boat and share the same challenges. Think about the amazing story in the book and movie, “The Life of Pi.” Survival, like Pi and the tiger cast adrift upon the ocean, depends upon mutual recognition, cooperation and adaptation to a new reality.

Today’s students occupy a very different world from the one that existed when many of us attended college. Globalization and technology continue to remake economies and transform work at an increasing pace. Jobs and entire industries disappear seemingly overnight. State financial resources to support public higher education continue to be tight. Significant cost shifts in higher education funding place greater financial burdens on students and families and compromise access and impede progress toward graduation.

This new reality affects our students every day. One approach we could take in higher education is to tell students to simply “deal with it.”

Former Governor Mitch Daniels, the new president of Purdue University, last month wrote an open letter to the university. In this letter, he catalogues some of the challenges facing higher education and students. And he rejects the “just deal with it” philosophy that is the perception many hold of us and that some in higher education may believe. He challenges the public higher education community to reaffirm our larger and common purpose to society – and to students: especially to students.

President Daniels wrote: “We should all remind ourselves every day that the dollars we are privileged to spend come, for the most part, from either a family or a taxpayer.”

What does this mean for the University System of Georgia? If we start with students first and then understand our stewardship responsibility as the key to how to support our students, then we can chart the optimal path for the University System. In doing so we must explore alternative paths to the ones followed since we were created in 1932. We are not going to be successful simply waiting for change. We must and we are driving some fundamental changes to our structure and to how we deliver higher education.

I will not go into detail, but consider the changes already underway to help us better serve students and to create access, encourage progress and achieve success.

We have consolidated eight institutions into four. We are examining how we utilize physical space. We are looking at how we use and deliver online education. We have a new approach to how we develop our facilities needs. We have a new approach that integrates facilities, budgets and academic needs. We are looking at athletics in a different way.

We have changed course completely with regard to our relationship with the Technical College System of Georgia. We have joined with them and others on the most coordinated, ambitious effort ever to increase college completion rates through the Governor’s Complete College Georgia Initiative.

We are going to find a new approach that links the research we conduct to businesses that can create products and services based upon what happens in our labs. We are going to be a stronger player in the state’s overall economic development efforts.

We have taken a hard line on tuition increases. We are partners in a new approach to funding higher education based on performance rather than enrollment.

All of these actions represent a significant and fundamental change in how we are structured and how we operate. These changes are grounded in the three broad themes I outlined at the beginning of my work as chancellor: performance, partnerships, value.

What is driving this change is a stark fact: in this new normal, we do not have the resources to provide every student with every program, everywhere in Georgia. To be frank, there has never been a time in our history when we were able to fulfill this goal. Today we certainly cannot do this following the old path and traditional models.

But technology and other new models offer us a different path toward this end – one that actually opens up more options for students. We have to be much wiser in how we use the dollars students and taxpayers provide us to create a responsive System that meets the needs of students and the state in an efficient way and in an effective way.

For example, while every student may not have access to every program through every institution, we potentially can offer every student access to every program through a better-organized, coordinated System. It is our job to think differently and act responsively.

Toward this end, Dr. Houston Davis is working with you and others to shape our new Strategic Plan that will help frame how we will continue to remake this great system of public higher education to meet the challenges of today and create the educated population and jobs of tomorrow.

The changes I have outlined are not the conclusion of our work. They are just the down payment on what we must do to ensure the University System is structured and managed to best serve students and the state. We are going to continue to use performance, partnerships and value to frame our decisions and drive needed change. We are going to focus our work on creating access, ensuring student progress and eventual success through timely college completion. We see affirmation of Georgia’s leadership for change in the increasing national attention we are receiving.

Overall, I am pleased with the responsiveness of our presidents, our faculty and our staff to the need for change as we focus on our students. The positive feedback we are getting from the Governor’s office, from the General Assembly and from the business community for our approach and efforts is quite encouraging.

We have sustained our share of budget cuts in recent years, but we also can point to a record of both understanding and commitment to our mission through the Governor’s and General Assembly’s sustained funding for the University System.

But we must continue to work hard and to create a System whose colleges and universities produces results. Ultimately, we must prepare our students to find their way in a new world. We help them best by providing the access they need, by removing barriers and providing them with education of value that equips them to compete and contribute.

At the outset, I noted the world of our current students is different than the one many of us experienced going to college. But one thing hasn’t changed. That is the value of college to change lives and change the world for the better.

I am from a working-class family. My father didn’t go to college, but he had a clear vision in which college was the key for success in a post war world. I was the first to go to college in my family. I worked hard to complete my degree and continue. I absorbed the invaluable lesson my father taught me about the value of college and the values it instills in those who attend.

It is easy to become frustrated by the rising chorus who discordantly sing that college is now a relic, that higher education is the problem and not the solution, that individuals and society don’t need a useless and overpriced degree. Theirs is the siren song of the twenty-first century. It is not in harmony with the tune that the business community and others are singing about the absolute need for a more highly and broadly educated citizenry.

To counter this shrill ensemble, we need to form our own choir with a message that higher education is essential and vital to individuals, to society and to our democracy. We have the data that refutes the naysayers. But we have more than data: we have the success stories of individuals that touch hearts and influence perceptions of our mission and our ability to fulfill that mission.

This is the fundamental truth of higher education – to transform lives and to prepare you to live life fully. If we are successful in this work, then the state of our students will be excellent. This is the only measure by which we should judge ourselves. And by this measure, the University System is on the right path to drive access, ensure progress and increase success for our students.

We live in exciting times and a fast changing world. But we have a strong system of 31 colleges and universities that have the talent and the resources – and the will – to adapt, to establish new traditions and create new paths for our students.

I continue to be honored to have the opportunity to work with this Board and with our presidents, our faculty and staff and our partners across this state on behalf of our students.

Thank you.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Testimony by Chancellor Hank Huckaby of the University System of Georgia on SB 458

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to come before you to discuss SB 458.

The issue before us is a complex one with strong feelings on all sides. What is great about our nation is that we have a forum like this to express our views about public policy. I appreciate the opportunity to do so, and will do so briefly and respectfully.

We all know of the vigorous debate about undocumented immigrants receiving public benefits. In the university system, the debate centers on whether undocumented students should be admitted and if so, how much should they pay. Several weeks ago, I asked the House Higher Education committee considering HB 59 to permit the Regents’ current policy to continue. Today, I am here to make the same request of you. The regents’ policy was approved in October 2010 and its four points went into force last fall semester. They are:

  • The addition of language on all applications that outlines the legal penalties for “false swearing,” or knowingly providing incorrect information on the forms.
  • The addition of language on all applications that, for the first time, requires applicants to state whether they are seeking in-state tuition. This helps institutions to make a decision on whether or not additional residency verification is necessary.
  • A requirement that USG institutions verify the lawful presence in the United States of any applicant seeking in-state tuition and not applying for federal financial aid, which has its own stringent verification processes. Approximately 60 percent of our students do apply for federal aid. If verification cannot be made, these students are charged out-of-state tuition.
  • A policy that any person not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for admission to any USG institution which, for the two most recent academic years, did not admit all academically qualified applicants.

In short, we believe this policy assures undocumented students do not receive a public benefit since they must pay out of state tuition and that no undocumented student will be taking a seat in a class away from a Georgia student, since our selective institutions are not allowed to admit undocumented students.

I believe our current policy addresses the concerns some of you have that the System should ensure that all undocumented students pay out-of-state tuition, that no Georgians should be denied a seat in college if they were academically qualified because of an undocumented student, and that educating undocumented students would not cost Georgia taxpayers. I respectfully ask you to allow our policy to work to determine if it addresses your concerns. We will monitor it closely through both auditing and staff reviews and will be happy to report to you on the results of that audit. I can assure that we will respond to correct any exceptions should we identify non-compliance .

Of the 318,000 students enrolled in the System last fall, less than one-tenth of one percent are undocumented. All pay the out-of-state tuition rate, which at slightly more than three times the in-state tuition more than covers the cost of education. No one gets a free benefit. The five institutions under the admission ban admitted no undocumented students.

I would like to raise a related issue, and I do so with utmost respect for this committee. Graduating more students is a key goal of the System as we work to help Georgia prosper. Even for those who are here through no fault of their own, it makes sense to me that we should educate them to the highest level possible. It helps our state economically, culturally, and educationally.

Georgia is in the mainstream with its current law. Only two states, Alabama and South Carolina, ban undocumented students from attending any public college or university. Texas is actually more liberal than Georgia, as it allows undocumented students to attend and pay in-state tuition. Like most states, Georgia allows college attendance for undocumented students at the out-of-state tuition rate. Like most states, Georgia’s current policy is a common sense approach to a complex issue.

Long-term, we want to protect Georgians, promote the state as a place to do business, and encourage all individuals to pursue education, but we do not wish to offer anyone an undue benefit. I believe that the current Board policy achieves all of these goals and would ask you to consider giving us the opportunity to address this through board policy. We will continue to work closely with you to make sure that our policy achieves our common aims.

I appreciate your service to our state very much, and also appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. Thank you.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Testimony of University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby on HB59

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to come before you to discuss HB59.

The issue before us I know is a complex one with strong feelings on all sides. What is great about our nation is that we have a forum like this to express our views about public policy. I appreciate the opportunity to do so, and will do so briefly and respectfully.

We all know of the vigorous debate about undocumented immigrants receiving public benefits. In the university system, the debate centers on whether undocumented students should be admitted and if so, how much should they pay. Today I am here to ask you to allow the Regents’ current policy to continue to achieve what are our shared goals.

The regents’ policy was approved in October 2010 and its four points went into force last fall semester. They are:

  • The addition of language on all applications that outlines the legal penalties for “false swearing,” or knowingly providing incorrect information on the forms.

  • The addition of language on all applications that, for the first time, requires applicants to state whether they are seeking in-state tuition. This helps institutions to make a decision on whether or not additional residency verification is necessary.

  • A requirement that USG institutions verify the lawful presence in the United States of any applicant seeking in-state tuition and not applying for federal financial aid, which has its own stringent verification processes. Approximately 60 percent of our students do apply for federal aid. If verification cannot be made, these students are charged out-of-state tuition.

  • A policy that any person not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for admission to any USG institution which, for the two most recent academic years, did not admit all academically qualified applicants.

In short, we believe this policy assures undocumented students do not receive a public benefit since they must pay out of state tuition and that no undocumented student will be taking a seat in a class away from a documented student, since our selective institutions are not allowed to admit undocumented students.

I believe our current policy addresses the concerns some of you have that the System should ensure that all undocumented students pay out-of-state tuition, that no Georgians should be denied a seat in college if they were academically qualified because of an undocumented student, and that educating undocumented students would not cost Georgia taxpayers. I respectfully ask you to allow our policy to work to determine if it addresses your concerns. We will monitor it closely through an annual audit and will be happy to report to you on the results of that audit.

Of the 318,000 students enrolled in the System last fall, less than one-tenth of one percent are undocumented. All pay the out-of-state tuition rate, which at slightly more than three times the in-state tuition more than covers the cost of education. No one gets a free benefit. The five institutions under the admission ban admitted no undocumented students.

I would like to raise a related issue, and I do so with utmost respect for this committee. Graduating more students is a key goal of the System as we work to help Georgia prosper. Even for those who are here through no fault of their own, it makes sense to me that we should educate them to the highest level possible. It helps our state economically, culturally, and educationally.

Georgia is in the mainstream with its current law. Only three states, Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina, ban undocumented students from attending any public college or university. Texas is actually more liberal than Georgia, as it allows undocumented students to attend and pay in-state tuition. Like most states, Georgia allows college attendance for undocumented students at the out-of-state tuition rate. Like most states, Georgia’s current policy is a common sense approach to a complex issue.

Long-term, we want to protect Georgians, promote the state as a place to do business, and encourage all individuals to pursue education, but we do not wish to offer anyone an undue benefit. I believe that the current board policy achieves all of these goals and would ask you to consider giving us the opportunity to address this through board policy. We will continue to work closely with you to make sure that our policy achieves our common aims.

I appreciate your service to our state very much, and also appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. Thank you.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Investiture Ceremony Remarks

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Governor Deal, Speaker Ralston, Sen. President Pro Tempore Williams, Chairman Tarbutton: thank you for your presence and participation in this ceremony today. It is with a great deal of humility that I stand before you today and accept the responsibility for steering the great ship of the University System of Georgia.

To the Board of Regents – I am honored to have been chosen for this assignment and grateful for the trust you have placed in me. To my wife Amy and my family – thank you for your unfailing support through all of the endeavors that brought me to this day.

To the members of the General Assembly and all those who serve in state government, and to the students, faculty, and staff of the University System: I have been one of you and stood in your shoes along the way in my career, and I look forward to renewing and continuing these relationships as we work together toward a more highly educated Georgia.

In his papers of 1782 and 83, which are now in the Library of Congress, Ben Franklin described attending a meeting in 1744 at which the leaders of the colony of Virginia offered the six Indian tribes an opportunity to send six of their young men to study at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. They respectfully declined the offer.

Franklin reports their response as follows: “Several of our young People were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces. They were instructed in all your Sciences. But when they came back to us, they were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a Deer or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors or Counsellors (sic); they were totally good for nothing.”

Of course, in colonial days the few American colleges in existence were focused primarily on educating ministers. It was not until the mid-1800s, when the United States had entered the mainstream of the Industrial Revolution, that higher education began to develop a more practical economic aspect. Nevertheless, Ben Franklin’s story raises an important question for us today: what are our students learning?

One of the first things I did as chancellor was to ask our System institutional leadership to read a book, which was published early this year, entitled Academically Adrift. The authors used the Collegiate Learning Assessment to track the academic performance of 2,300 students. The results are not encouraging.

Students and education have been a highlight and a focus of my trips around the state as I visit the colleges and universities in the system. And I am pleased to report that I have completed 34 visits. I can attest from this experience and observation that there is much to be proud of in the University System of Georgia. But the findings in this book have been much on my mind as I have visited our campuses.

Along with the valid question about what our students are learning, as one of the authors of the book Academically Adrift pointed out, the world has become an unforgiving place for those who do not have critical thinking skills. And higher education today faces the challenge of becoming more than it has been in the past.

Most of you are no doubt familiar with Thomas Friedman’s best-selling book The World is Flat. He describes how advanced technology has interconnected the world and leveled the global economic playing field. Nations such as China, India, Russia, and South Korea are now seizing the opportunity to compete with the United States on this new level playing field.

But Richard Florida, who is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, says it is not quite accurate to say that the world is now flat. He argues that the world of the 21st century is actually going to be spiky. Economic strength and growth will not be spread evenly across the landscape, but rather will be concentrated at specific locations, or spikes.

The places that are hotbeds of discovery and innovation and have the educated workforce that can do something with those advanced ideas and technologies will be the economic spikes that will flourish. And the driving force behind these hot spots of economic growth is higher education, which provides both the research and the educated workforce required to run out on the leading edge.

Economic data is increasingly proving Richard Florida right. On September 23rd, the Wall Street Journal reported the release of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. According to the Journal, the survey shows that “regions with the most skilled and highly paid workers continue to widen their advantage over less well-endowed locales.”

The survey indicates that areas with the highest educated workforce also tend to have the highest wage earners. The article concluded, “Overall education level and supply of higher skilled labor are the big drivers of economic success.”

Unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also tell us about the economic importance of a college education. For September, the unemployment rate for those with only a high school diploma was more than two times higher than the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree.

The economic hot spots of the last century were determined by physical capital, natural resources, and cheap labor. Today it is intellectual capital that drives the economy. Even manufacturing, which is now characterized by advanced technologies and automation, is increasingly seeking an educated workforce.

Roads and rail sidings still have a role to play, but if Georgia is to become one of those 21st century spikes where the economy flourishes and the people prosper, it is the University System of Georgia and our colleagues in Georgia’s private colleges and universities that will be the state’s most powerful economic asset.

To create a more educated Georgia, I intend to focus on three long-term strategies: performance, partnerships and value. Let me say just a few words about each one.

First, performance. As a public entity we are accountable for our use of state funding. If we are to do more in a time of austerity such as this, we must become more strategic about deploying our resources. We need to ensure that we are good stewards in the utilization of our physical spaces. We need to ensure that we deploy our academic programs and our employees in the most efficient and effective way.

Partnerships are also essential. A partnership with K-through-12 education is crucial to ensure that students come into the University System better prepared for college-level work. A partnership with the Technical College System will enable us to align our efforts so that we serve the citizens and industries of Georgia more effectively. Partnerships with the businesses and industries of this state will help us focus our education, research, and service endeavors on what Georgia needs to grow and prosper.

And, finally, increasing the value of higher education. After World War II, the GI Bill began flooding colleges and universities with veterans, and our focus was on expanding our capacity to accommodate them. More recently, we have focused on retention – encouraging our students to stay the course and finish their degrees in a timely manner. Both of these are important, but they are no longer enough. We need to improve what we do, rather than simply growing the enterprise.

Which takes us full circle, back to Ben Franklin’s story and the need for our students to learn the substance, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities they will need to succeed and thrive in the world of the 21st century. I have already emphasized the economic value of higher education both to the individual and to the state of Georgia.

But, as my teacher, mentor, boss, and dear friend, Zell Miller, proclaimed in 1998 in a speech at the American International University in London, higher education is more than the accumulation of mere information. Senator Miller said: “The business of higher education is knowledge. And unlike information, knowledge cannot be poured into your mind like Earl Grey into an English teacup. Knowledge is not a destination; it is a process. What your future employers will value most in you is not the facts and data you have memorized, but a questing and inquisitive mind that is skilled in decision-making and problem-solving; a mind that looks at the same things everybody else sees, but finds something more; a mind that is not only comfortable with change, but anticipates it and even seeks it out; a mind that forms the foundation for lifelong intellectual inquiry that will serve you well, not only as a job skill, but also in giving meaning, direction, and richness to your life.”

But the goal is not merely to “have more.” It is also to “be more.” Back in August, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum in Columbus. And she pointed out: “Without education, we lose who we are. We lose what holds this nation together, because education is the transformational act that takes us from where we were to where we can go.”

Her words and sentiment are strikingly reflective of an observation voiced by Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago. In these words, Mr. Jefferson said: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate power of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education.”

The students of our colleges and universities are the future workforce of Georgia. They are also our future citizens, parents, community volunteers, and leaders. And if we prepare them well for all of these roles, then higher education will transform our citizens and our state, and take us where we want to be. There is no question that we are about critically important work.

The University System of Georgia is strong and vibrant, but never before has Georgia’s well being been so dependent on our ability to offer world-class college graduates, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values to thrive in a very competitive global economy. To meet this challenge, we must take the University System to the next level. We must foster and promote a culture of high expectations.

Governor Deal, Lieutenant Gov. Cagle, Speaker Ralston Senate President Pro Tempore Williams, Chairman Tarbutton, and members of the Board of Regents and my friends and former colleagues in the General Assembly: we in the University System of Georgia – our presidents, our faculty and our staff – pledge our unrelenting fidelity to this noble and enduring enterprise. We urge you to join and support us as together, we build a more highly educated Georgia.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor Huckaby’s Report to the Board of Regents

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thank you Chairman Tarbutton. On behalf of the Board and the University System Office, let me express my appreciation to President Bloodworth and President Azziz for their hosting of this regents’ meeting. Dr. Bloodworth and Dr. Azziz, please extend our thanks to your great staff for their hard work. This meeting returns the Board to its long-standing practice of formally visiting two campuses during the year. I realize that hosting the board meeting represents a tremendous amount of work for our institutions, and we do appreciate all of the very fine efforts to make this a very smooth and informative meeting.

Over the past fourteen weeks, I have conducted campus visits, held meetings with legislators and regents, and met other responsibilities. In fact, during this Board meeting I did double duty, using the occasion to make my official campus visit yesterday to Augusta State. That visit was my 23rd. The others are on the books and I look forward to completing these visits.

Let me share with you some impressions from some of these visits. These don’t do justice to the depth of what I have witnessed, but give you an idea of the important work that is occurring.

The passion of the music students at Albany State was obvious. There is a proud musical tradition there, even given the space constraints. This sense of pride and tradition was not limited to the music students but was expressed by everyone we met, including alumni.

Georgia Southern was alive and vibrant with throngs of students crowding the pedestrian mall as we slowly made our way on a golf cart tour of the campus.

Bainbridge College students spoke of the accessibility of their faculty and administrators and of their genuine concern with student progress and success. They felt a very close sense of community.

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography research scientists spoke of their commitment to basic research and the critical importance it has on caring for Georgia’s coastal treasures. I met one Dutch scientist who expressed his surprise and dismay that Skidaway is better known in his country and the rest of Europe than in Georgia.

Savannah State students, faculty, staff, community and alumni have a devotion for that university that is inspiring. The Marine Science program in particular is a real point of pride. I spoke with several students who were doing their graduate studies there and are excited about the program.

On every campus visit, students have expressed their pride in their institution. All the students I have met have been very candid and frank. No one holds back. In many instances it is interesting is that students are asking as tough or tougher questions than faculty! When I talk to students and faculty I find that their thoughts and concerns fit the thematic outlines I put forth in the August meeting: those of performance, partnership and the value of higher education.

With that as a long preface, let me round out this report with an update on the three initiatives I announced in September – space utilization, design architecture, and campus consolidation. In addition, I will touch on a few other areas of activity related to our performance, partnerships and values focus.

There will be two phases to our space utilization review. Phase One will be assessments at six pilot institutions. We will use this to develop a uniform system approach. A working group composed of institutional and System Office staff will be central to this effort. We don’t do this work in a vacuum – it will be hands on with campus involvement throughout.

Phase two will roll out the model developed in the first phase to the remaining institutions. The next steps: we will solicit nominations for the working group from the presidents and then we will kickoff the pilot assessments with a charter meeting of this working group.

We are scheduling the first kickoff meetings with architects to discuss design principles. Our goal with this initiative is to ensure that all parties involved in the process are good stewards for the citizens of Georgia and that all stake holders involved in the programming, design and construction of a building share the same philosophy about the building’s character in the context of the campus.

Emphasis will be placed on the building’s functionality, and the appropriateness of construction materials to be used. We will focus on achieving both an efficient design that yields a return on investment thru operating cost savings over time and, even more importantly, on effective design that adds value by enhancing the teaching and learning process as well as the research and service that happens within our built environments.

As I travel the state and meet with various individuals, a constant question I receive is on consolidation. We will soon finalize the criteria for assessing consolidations and will share those recommendations with the Board. Following receiving your input, we will be able to share more details and our plans for moving forward. We want to do this in a careful and thoughtful way, but we also will move expeditiously.

Let me just touch on several areas that relate to our efforts to improve performance, strengthen partnerships and communicate value.

In the area of performance, we are moving ahead on our academic program and facility proposal process. We have now in place an integrated proposal review process. The purpose of this process is to lead to better decisions and to assure the public and state officials that we are thinking very carefully about how we allocate our resources. The first set of questions will focus on whether the new degree or program or building is needed. Academic Affairs, Fiscal Affairs, and Facilities staff will all review each proposal.

Another area of performance relates to our Shared Services efforts. We have listened; we have learned. We remain committed to obtaining efficiencies through a shared service approach. However, we have reassessed and will continue to reassess the concept to make sure it makes sense for the System and the institutions.

We are reconstituting the Shared Services Governance Council and appreciate the hard work by Mac McConnell and this group. Moving forward, Columbus State President Tim Mescon has agreed to chair the new council, which will have a mix of academic affairs, HR and other campus professionals, along with System Office staff who will serve ex-offico. Another structural change is that the council will report to John Brown, while day-to-day oversight will be provided by Dr. Curt Carver.

Another area of performance concerns our academic program delivery efforts through online learning or distance education. This also ties into our space utilization work – can specific online learning help us meet growing academic needs without a corresponding increase in space.

To help us focus on our distance education efforts, I am pleased to announce that Jon Sizemore has been named assistant vice chancellor for Distance Education for the Board of Regents. Jon is currently director of eLearning at Valdosta State University. He has both the knowledge of the University System and its history with distance learning, as well as the expertise in the field of online education and technology to move this critical function forward and in the right way for students throughout the University System.

In the area of Partnerships, I will note three current efforts.

On Monday, Oct. 17, we will host at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center a “Social Business and Microcredit Forum.” The daylong conference represents a true, collaborative, partnership effort with many educational, economic development organizations and agencies and the private sector. We have as our keynote speaker, Nobel Prize Winner, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the “father of microcredit.” The conference features a competition among students at our institutions to develop a social business plan that will address a key issue in a community. Ideally, these plans will create the potential for new jobs.

During this board meeting, you have heard updates on two other partnership efforts: our work with the Technical College System on articulation and the college completion efforts through Complete College Georgia. Both of these efforts reflect our work to strengthen key partnerships to benefit the state and students.

In terms of value, I referenced in my beginning remarks the remarkable students I have met on my campus visits. As I meet and talk with groups around the state, I use every opportunity to advocate for the value of public higher education in terms of the values our graduates take into the world. We are going to continue to advocate for this core mission. We will develop a communications plan with input and participation by our campuses. We are committed to telling our story more effectively.

Some of our graduates are newly minted. Some of them, like me, have a bit a burnish from long and constant use. Let me close by mentioning one of this System’s graduates, who certainly has burnish. His career is a great example of an individual who is equipped with the values we seek to instill and who has used those values on behalf of the state and its citizens.

Tom Daniel, a UGA graduate, has been named as the 2011 recipient of the Marvin D. “Swede” Johnson Achievement Award. The Johnson award is a national honor and recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement, quality and effectiveness of state relations on behalf of a higher education institution or state system. It is a collaborative recognition by four national higher education associations.

The award is named in honor of the late Marvin D. Johnson, a longtime director of state government relations at the universities of Arizona and New Mexico. Tom will formally receive the award this December at the annual Higher Education Government Relations Conference. I’ve known Tom for virtually his entire career. He not only exemplifies what I mean about the value of higher education to the individual, but his work truly meets all of the very high qualifications demanded by this award. Join me in congratulating Tom on this well-deserved award.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor Huckaby’s Report to the Board of Regents

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thank you Mr. Chairman. The past ten weeks have been very busy as I visit our campuses, and well as meeting with board members and legislators and others. To date, I have visited eight institutions. My ninth campus will be to Valdosta State University this Friday.

Visiting our campuses is one of the perks of this job. It is on the campuses that what we are about comes to life. It is on the campuses that faculties teach and students develop the habits of the mind and the values that will serve them throughout life.

As a business member of one of our presidential search committees commented recently, the most important thing we can do in the University System is to teach students to think critically and to be analytical. I am sure we all agree with him. And as I visit our institutions, I never fail to come away impressed and energized by the very bright and committed people – whether our presidents, our faculty and staff, and especially our students.

We have a great story to tell – in fact, we have thousands of good stories to tell – and they unfold each and every day in our 35 colleges and universities. Here are just two examples: Georgia Perimeter College receiving $2.6 million in state and federal funds for STEM projects. Also, another example is the nursing training occurring at Gordon College in their state-of-the-art nursing simulation clinical suites. Great teaching and training and research happen every day throughout our System.

But now I want to talk about a few changes we recommend to assure that we keep the System moving forward.

The theme of any good story is change. Change is what drives us forward. Failure arises because organizations become victims of change – that is, they don’t adapt to the changing climate or a new environment. They cling tenaciously to the status quo.

As I travel this state and meet with our presidents, legislators, and others I am stressing over and over, again and again, that we in higher education need to embrace change and work to be its active agents – and not its victim. A recent article in, appropriately, Change Magazine, speaks to the need for higher education to recognize that colleges and universities are operating in a different environment and why change is essential. The article observes that our contemporary higher education model is a product of the challenges faced after World War II when millions of G.I.’s went to college. Our predecessors met those challenges with a growth formula: build the buildings, add the faculty, initiate new degree programs, enroll the students – and do it as fast as possible.

Today is different. While we as a System continue to grow along with the state, the political climate, the economic realities and the budget constraints mean that the “old growth equals rewards” model no longer works as well. Not only has the climate changed, but so have societal needs and citizen expectations.

However, the responsibility of governing boards today has not changed. The imperative to champion the value of public higher education is paramount today more than ever. We must focus on this: we must act in ways that underscore its value. This is why I have stressed the need to focus on performance: how well we use our resources to educate students and encourage faculty.

So let me address three areas in which we are going to seek to change our current model. Let me also stress that we are not advocating change for its own sake – we seek change to improve our performance and our outcomes. Each of these three areas considers performance from the perspective of what is best for the System and the people of the state. These are: space utilization, new procedures for building design and the potential for consolidation of institutions.

There are growing concerns about the cost of construction. But the real costs are those that come once the ribbon is cut and the doors are opened. Over the life of a building, the operating costs are ten times the initial construction debt. We are going to continue to build buildings – but we must build based on a clearly documented need.

In this new environment, the major challenge is not building capacity: it is first to ensure the existing capacity is used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Accordingly we must ensure that we are utilizing our entire space well before new buildings are approved.

Let me acknowledge the leadership and foresight of Regent Larry Walker on this issue. He has been a key champion for change in how we look at our space needs. Let me also note that Chairman Tarbutton shares our belief that this is an urgent priority for us.

As I noted in my August remarks to you, in order to ensure we are good stewards of the System’s physical assets, we will evaluate capital projects more closely. We will ask what long-term strategic academic need the facility meets and look more closely at design features to assure we are optimizing our scarce capital resources.

Consequently, I am announcing today that we are embarking on a space utilization study. This study, conducted in conjunction with our campuses, will allow us to have a better understanding of how efficiently we use current space. It will help us in the future assess if we really need to build new space. We need to determine what we have, how well we use it, and what else we need.

We are going to collaborate with our campuses as they develop proposals for new programs and facilities and ask them to consider every alternative before sending a proposal to build new space. We must carefully balance the need to construct new facilities with the need to rehabilitate, modernize and maintain existing facilities. In the future, you will see our Facilities, Academic Affairs and Fiscal Affairs offices evaluating proposals for new programs and facilities in an integrated way.

This will mark a significant change in how we approach our capital needs and requests. This fundamentally changes our model to meet current realities. You received a copy last week of a memo I sent to all presidents outlining this space study and we will get it underway immediately.

Efficient use of space needs to be complemented by an effective, functional design process. Today I announce that we will change our current procedures with respect to building design. Going forward, our Facilities staff and senior leadership will meet with architects before any design work is undertaken to ensure that we all share the same philosophy about a building’s character, its functionality, and the materials used in it.

To the campuses, I want to assure you that we are not going to micromanage projects or interfere with legitimate and unique design needs. Our purpose is simply to have a clear understanding at the outset of the design process so that we maximize our resources in every way.

Facilities must meet the needs of students and faculty in ways that allow for future reuse and accommodate changes without requiring extensive renovation. Every facility should directly advance the institution’s core academic mission.

Looking ahead, we must ensure that our System has the appropriate number of campuses around the state. We need to be organized in ways that truly foster service to our students in the most effective way and that ensure our faculty are properly deployed and supported.

Therefore, I believe it is time for the system to study if campus consolidations are justified and will enhance our ability to serve the people of Georgia at less cost. Our staff will begin right away to assess if any campus consolidations would further our teaching, research and service missions in a more fiscally prudent way.

Let me be clear: no plans have been made for specific institutional consolidation. Our task at this point is to develop the evaluative criteria and processes to be used in identifying any potential consolidations. Chairman Tarbutton has already indicated to me that he will appoint an ad hoc committee to work with this group. Our emphasis must be and will be on the greater good.

I understand that this is potentially a significant change. I need your support. I would urge campuses and communities around the state not to panic – we will be deliberate and objective about our work and this Board will have substantial input and every opportunity to discuss final recommendations. Our current reality demands that we not only adjust to changing times – but to lead through them. We in the university system should be the first to ask questions of ourselves to make sure we are serving the State in the best way.

These three activities will be important to our efforts to reset the higher education model – but they will not be the only ones. Everything we do is geared toward improving higher education.

When I visit our campuses, I appreciate the beautiful landscaping. I go to the football games and root for our teams. I marvel at the residence halls and how different they are from my college days. I listen to the concerns of administrators and faculty. I hear the hopes and dreams of our students. I receive all of the detailed strategic plans from our presidents. We are here to create a more highly educated Georgia. Our energies must be focused on our teaching, research and service mission – as each in its own unique way fulfills that primary education mission.

As I stated at the outset, there are thousands of stories unfolding on our campuses about rich student experiences and the extraordinary achievements of our faculty. The purpose of the three initiatives I announce today is to assure that the University System of Georgia will be well positioned to serve the citizens of this State for the balance of the 21st century. We want to encourage the creative genius of our campuses, and I am confident they will respond.

We have a great University System that is equal to the challenges ahead and ready to make the changes needed. We have a strong Board empowered and ready to fulfill its governing responsibilities. Georgians are counting upon us to change and prepare them better for a productive and fulfilled life.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report.

Joint Appropriations Presentation - Office of the Chancellor - University System of Georgia
not mobile

Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor’s Remarks, Board of Regents Meeting

Print friendly Modified January 15, 2014

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am sincerely appreciative to the Board for your faith in appointing me the chancellor of this great University System of Georgia. Never did I dream some 46 years ago as a student at Georgia State University that one day I would hold this position.

I am very proud of my educational heritage in this System. It has served me well throughout my career and private life. That same System in its modern metamorphosis continues to serve all of our students well by preparing them for life in a way little else can match.

Today marks my first board meeting, as well as my 40th day as chancellor. During these 40 days I have sought to learn even more about the System, its people, its great work, its opportunities, as well as its challenges. This time includes five campus visits, conducting my first presidents’ meeting, discussions with legislators, community and state leaders, faculty and students. These discussions have been both instructive and uplifting.

Although not perfect, you and I are blessed to be asked to lead a strong and vibrant public higher education system into the balance of the 21st century. Our responsibility and great privilege is to work together to take a strong System and make it even better. That is a challenge that I and my colleagues throughout the System eagerly embrace.

As we pursue this challenge, our foundational theme – creating a more educated Georgia – remains unchanged. To create a more highly educated Georgia, I propose three broad areas of focus.

1. PERFORMANCE

First, we must continually evaluate not only what we do, but also how well we do it. Our performance going forward will not be judged solely by growth as measured by enrollment and new buildings. Instead, the Board’s recently adopted focus on RPG – retention, progression, and graduation – remains relevant and timely. In fact, those themes – in varying terms – are being sounded throughout the U.S.

Today’s fiscal realities mean that no longer can the current funding model be sustained. No longer will higher education be immune from answering questions of effectiveness and efficiency. As a public agency we are accountable; we are expected to deliver service in the most efficient and effective way.

A critical responsibility I have as the new chancellor is to leverage and prudently invest our resources so as to be good stewards as we seek to pursue our basic missions of teaching, research and public service. With your support and leadership, we will do that. Our parents, our students, and the taxpayers of Georgia should expect nothing less.

For example, going forward we will ask more questions about new and existing programs and how they mesh together from a system standpoint. We also will scrutinize capital projects more closely, asking what long-term strategic academic need the facility meets and looking more closely at design features to assure we are optimizing our scarce capital resources.

So we will need to work more closely with our campuses as they develop proposals for new programs and facilities and ask them to consider every alternative before sending a request forward. There may be other options or higher priorities that fit better with the System’s and state’s goals. Your support of our efforts will be critical as we work with our campuses to meet the educational needs of Georgia while making sure we use our limited resources in the most effective way possible.

2. PARTNERSHIPS

Secondly, we do not pursue this great goal alone. Meeting the educational needs of Georgia’s students will require us to strengthen and nurture our collaboration with other state agencies, particularly the Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia. We are not competitors, but partners.

As Gov. Deal noted in his press conference last Thursday, we will be working with the Technical College System to ensure better articulation – the ability of students to move easily between the two systems. Similarly, the Governor asked me to serve on the Governor’s State Education Finance Study Commission as it undertakes a comprehensive review of the method of funding K-12 schools in Georgia. I am actively engaged in the work of that Commission. The future success of our system is inextricably linked to the success of K-12 education.

To be successful in creating a more highly educated Georgia, we must all work together to identify and champion what is best for our citizens, not what may be desired as narrow and parochial interests of a particular agency or institution.

3. THE VALUE OF COLLEGE

Lastly, the value of postsecondary education must be continually and appropriately advocated. This state has a long and strong history of investing in a world-class system of higher education, as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce recently noted in an opinion piece. This investment enables the University System of Georgia to create Georgia’s future, student by student, achievement by achievement. After all, a world-class public higher education system retains and attracts the best and brightest students, faculty, and researchers.

Economists, authors, and economic development professionals, even in today’s difficult economic environment, continue to cite higher education as a necessary and critical key to a sustainable and vibrant economy. It is in the classroom, in the laboratory and applied fieldwork that new knowledge is created leading to new opportunities and new jobs.

Frankly, we have work to do here. As a member of the Governor’s Competitiveness Initiative, I and my colleagues in the System Office are committed to working with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Department of Community Affairs and the business leadership of this state in forging a dynamic coalition to support Governor Deal in his efforts to lead Georgia to economic recovery by creating and attracting more jobs for our citizens.

But as essential as our role is for the future economic well being of our students, there is another equally important role we play. We not only teach and train students for work, but we help prepare them for life, regardless of their career path. We teach students how to think critically. We educate students on how to analyze and interpret complex issues. We prepare students to work with others often very different in nationality, thought, and culture. We expose students to their responsibilities as citizens and community life.

There is an old adage, your parents give you life, but education prepares you to live. A college curriculum should not be solely focused on training a person for a first job, as important as that is. Of equal value is the role of college in shaping someone to live a productive life, no matter what the career path he or she chooses.

The people of Georgia must have faith in our ability to deliver a world-class graduate, equipped with the knowledge, and just as critically, the values, needed to be successful in a very competitive and global world. This trust demands that we do it right.

We are doing a lot right. That fact, and the unquestioned academic strength of our system, embodied in our outstanding faculty and staff, and in the leadership of our presidents and the direction of this Board, gives me positive reasons to be optimistic about the future. We are indeed doing much right, but we are not perfect. As a John Wesley Methodist, I believe in perfection.

Our efforts are essential to creating a more highly educated Georgia. We must spend wisely and carefully to help make the case for receiving the additional funds we will need to meet the enrollment demands we face in the coming years. Our success will be a major determinant in Georgia’s success in becoming a global economic leader. This is why we are here. This is why what we do matters so much to every one of us who love this state.

I look forward to working with each of you in the months and years ahead as together we march toward perfection in this great and noble task.