`Secret Crisis' Cited in State Higher Education / by Task Force Report

By Jenkins, Ron | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 31, 1986 | Go to article overview

`Secret Crisis' Cited in State Higher Education / by Task Force Report


Jenkins, Ron, THE JOURNAL RECORD


A task force report released Tuesday cited "a secret crisis in higher education" in Oklahoma and recommended sweeping changes to improve the system of colleges and universities.

"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. …

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