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Gov. Barnes Addresses Regents, Commends Board’s Commitment

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Atlanta — March 12, 2002

Thanking them for being “a great partner in improving education in our state,” Governor Roy E. Barnes told the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia that they represent a strong commitment to creating the type of university system that “will be at the forefront of education well into the future.”

He used his appearance to highlight the collaborations in which the University System is engaged with state government and to lend support to the regents’ current strategic planning process. Barnes highlighted the “endless possibilities for our state as we move to further integrate our universities with the workings of state government.”

Barnes also cited the Board for its support of his education reform efforts. “Many people from this Board stepped forward and served on our education reform commissions and gave important insight into what it will take to mold Georgia into a state that offers all of its students, from pre-K to college graduation, a great education,” the Governor stated. “And this Board continues to provide strong leadership in education reform with its work on the Education Coordinating Council.”

Barnes noted how he had tapped the University System for key talent to head administrative units in state government. Among them, he cited Georgia Tech’s Catherine Ross, who heads the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; the Regents’ Office Mike Vollmer, who launched the Office of Education Accountability; and Valdosta State University’s F.D. Toth, who now heads the Professional Standards Commission.

The Governor’s remarks coincided with the board’s on-going review of 11 strategic goals. In a separate presentation, the Board heard a report from Senior Vice Chancellor for External Activities and Facilities Thomas E. Daniel on Strategic Goal #11, which focuses on how the University System maximizes cooperation with other state agencies, boards, the Governor’s office and the General Assembly.

A survey of the 34 University System institutions and other state agencies found that over an 18-month period, there were 314 partnerships with state agencies, 50 with state boards, 25 with the Governor’s office and 26 with the General Assembly.

Partnerships included programs such as the Georgia Elections - Electronic Voting Machine Project with Kennesaw State University and the Secretary of State; bio-terrorism consulting by the State University of West Georgia for the Georgia Emergency Management Authority; Georgia State University Professor of English David Bottoms serving by gubernatorial appointment as the state’s Poet Laureate; and the University of Georgia’s staging of the “Biennial Institute for Newly Elected Georgia Legislators.”

“We learned that for our employees, service and collaboration are core values,” Daniel said. “They happen without mandate, fostered by innovation, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.”

The regents will explore a number of options designed to both communicate the level of these partnerships to a wider audience and to thus encourage new areas of collaboration between the System and state and local governments. The regents will hear additional presentations on the remaining plan goals over the next several months and will adopt a series of final recommendations on all 11 goals by June. These recommendations then will be incorporated into a final action plan for the University System to implement over the five-year life of the Strategic Plan.

In his remarks today, Barnes recalled the Board’s strong commitment to ensuring accountability at every level of education and state government, and noted, “I am proud that the Board has so completely taken the concept of accountability to heart. Not only have you enthusiastically supported efforts to conduct a management review of state agencies, but you were the first to volunteer to make yourselves more efficient and thus even more indispensable.”

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