As a follow-up to the Joint Workshop, Commissioner Smith and I will be meeting to create a proposal for working groups that we can present to our respective Boards. Below is an e-mail I sent him, which outlines some early thoughts I’ve had on the matter. We will let you know more as theses concepts morph and evolve.
From: Brogan, Frank
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 11:25 AM
To: Smith, Eric
Subject: Follow-up to Joint Workshop
So sorry you were unable to meet yesterday, though I completely understand how crazy the schedule gets this time of year. As I understand it, our meeting has been rescheduled for next week. In preparation for that, I thought it would be helpful to take a moment and write down some early thoughts I had about one possible approach we may consider as we move forward. Since our timeline is tight, I am sharing these ideas with you now so you’ll know where my mind is when we do actually meet, but please know these are still very rough concepts.
As you will recall, the two Boards seemed to embrace the “four” issues that [Florida Council of 100 Chairperson] Susan Story raised as critical points that should be addressed. Based on the email [Council of 100 President] Susan Pareigis sent us today, it seems there are actually five issues:
1. Seamless, integrated, and coordinated. Pre-K through Workforce, must be brought together to create a cohesive system that coordinates these unique resources to ensure that Florida’s Talent Supply Chain has the capability and competence to achieve results.
2. Access-oriented: A person’s circumstances must not be a barrier to full participation in the education system.
3. Market-driven. The Talent Supply Chain must generate graduates who can help the state meet its most pressing economic needs. (Especially in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] areas)
4. Focused on high standards, accountability, and incentives.
5. Cost-effective. Resources must be allocated where they have the greatest impact on achieving priorities.
With this in-mind, perhaps we consider creating two working groups — one to set a “vision” and one to tackle “process.” Regardless the number of groups we actually create, they would need to be cross-representational and have a shelf life of only a few months so that we have something for the joint boards to chew on for the legislative session….all leading to the second joint workshop that would be held in time for session, as requested by the boards. Here are some thoughts regarding the possible role of the two working groups:
1.) VISION – This group would be charged with establishing an overall strategic vision for what higher education in Florida will look like over the next 15, 20, or 30 years (timeframe TBD) — a vision based on local, regional and national workforce needs and one that creates a framework for what issues could be better coordinated from a statewide perspective. Perhaps those issues are just the five that are listed above, but they may also include others that we think are vital, especially those related to the STEM areas. This group would be able to advise our Boards and the legislature regarding an overall strategic vision for higher education in Florida. To be able to accomplish this, we need certain voices in the dialogue including representatives from the SBE, BOG, SUS, FCS, ICUF, CIE, business sector, workforce sector, and others.
2.) PROCESS – This group would look at making recommendations for refining the processes that we currently use and, when appropriate, propose new processes that will be needed to implement the strategic vision. That means looking at a variety of issues including how both universities and colleges — public and private — can better coordinate degree offerings, and to propose the best possible process to ensure the greatest level of access and efficiency. This group will also need to propose a permanent mechanism that ensures we are getting regular input from the business community and that ongoing articulation occurs between the various delivery systems in order to evaluate statewide, regional and local workforce demands.
In addition to these working groups, we should also consider tasking each of our legislative staff to create a joint strategy that identifies and addresses common legislative issues that should be advanced. We should also work to ensure there is a single message being delivered regarding our steps moving forward together.
Regarding our timeline, that “30 day” update deadline is looming on the horizon. I hope you will agree that, regardless of what these working groups actually end up looking like, it would be ideal for us to be in a position to begin naming the group members before January. As you know, the BOG meets on Dec. 10, which provides a great opportunity to give them an update on a proposal for working groups. (Does the SBE meet again in December?)
Another thought regarding timing: The BOG will have its March meeting in Tallahassee, just a few weeks into the legislative session. Perhaps we consider doing our second joint workshop at that time here in Tallahassee, which would allow for the members of both boards to be available to meet with members of the legislature.
I know there is a lot here to chew on, Eric, but I hope it provides you with some sense of where my thoughts have been since the joint workshop and the meeting of the Council of 100. I look forward to hearing your ideas next week and working with you on this effort.
If we don’t have a chance to connect again this week, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! (I’ll be at Disney with the family…wish me luck).
Palm Beach Post, 11-12-09, Historic session of state education boards promises meeting business workforce needs
Palm Beach Post 11-27-09, State needs less conflict, More degrees from university system