VCCS chancellor embraces Charter ideas
The following essay is condensed from remarks made Dec. 16, 2004, to the SJR 90 Joint Subcommittee of the Virginia Legislature by Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and chairman of the Council of Presidents. It examines the portion of DuBois’ remarks outlining the proposed commitment Virginia’s public universities and colleges would make to the commonwealth in exchange for the creation of a three-step systemwide plan to provide these institutions with varying degrees of autonomy from state oversight (with full post-audit accountability.) For more information about the three-step systemwide plan contained in his original remarks, read the article on page five or DuBois’ complete remarks online at www.virginia.edu/chartereduniversities/dubois.html.
My name is Glenn DuBois. I am speaking today with the collective interests of the presidents included in Virginia’s circle of public colleges and universities.
I am delighted to present to you with a conceptual overview of a recommendation that is being developed by the Council of Presidents for a new and more productive relationship with the commonwealth. You all are familiar with the “chartered university” proposal that was described to you at your last meeting by three of our universities. Since then, the Council of Presidents, including the three sponsor institutions, has spent a considerable amount of time on enhancing the draft you last heard.
More specifically, we have written into the original idea a public, or accountability, agenda and a three-step plan that would initially include all public colleges and universities.
Simply stated, the Council has expanded the original idea to include commitments that reflect our effort to respond to critical state needs. But these commitments are written with the clear understanding that we need you — the legislature — to help us build capacity — not only in achieving base budgets, but in obtaining management controls that we currently do not have. Too often we have to negotiate with an endless number of well-intentioned stakeholders.
With respect to the public agenda, we, as a statewide council, agree now upon a series of broad-reaching commitments to which we are prepared to be held accountable.
Collectively, colleges and universities in the public sector will:
• Develop more curricula and produce more graduates in critical areas such as nursing, teacher training, engineering, construction trades and other high-demand areas.
• Provide enhanced access to underserved populations.
• Develop additional articulation agreements between four-year institutions and the Virginia Community College System to address the anticipated increase in applications by students seeking to transfer from the VCCS to four-year institutions.
• By 2010, confer 10,000 more degrees by enrolling more students and improving graduation rates, retention rates and time-to-degree.
• Ensure that all tuition and fee increases are accompanied by parallel increases in financial aid, with an ultimate goal of offering sufficient financial aid that students may be admitted without regard to ability to pay, recognizing that some institutions will be able to achieve this goal more rapidly than others and that some institutions will require more General Fund assistance to achieve this goal.
• Reach a statewide total of $1 billion in research funding by 2010.
• Increase college-going rates for high school students by developing closer ties with the K-12 educational system throughout the commonwealth, as exemplified by the recently adopted agreements with the governor to increase the credits that can be transferred from high school to institutions of higher education in the commonwealth, and by forming partnerships with schools or small school divisions that currently do not meet state standards and working actively and cooperatively with administrators, teachers and students to achieve those standards.