"The economic future of Oklahoma and the basic quality of life of its citizens are substantially dependent on the creation of a superior system of higher education," the report of the Oklahoma Higher Education Task Force said. "Strong leadership is required to create such a system and resolve Oklahoma's secret crisis."
The report, released by task force chairman James R. Tolbert III, an Oklahoma City businessman, recommended five major areas of reform. They are:
- Restructuring the present 17 higher education governing boards into five - the State Regents for Higher Education, separate boards for the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, one board for all four-year colleges and one board for all two-year colleges.
- Fundamental changes in how education funds are allocated, removing the perception that funding is based on enrollment.
- Efforts to improve education quality by better measuring student achievement and committing to a core curriculum of liberal studies, strong research and a climate for scholarship. In addition, efforts to acquire and retain superior facility and develop a system for evaluating operations were recommended.
- Development of clear mission definitions for both vocational technical education and higher education in an effort to eliminate overlap and fully utilize resources for economic development.
- Adoption of a new funding philosophy by Oklahoma leaders in order to "dramatically increase appropriations" to higher education. …