The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education (Council) has released “Educating West Virginia is Everyone’s Business: Report from the West Virginia College Completion Task Force.” The report represents more than a year of study and review by the West Virginia College Completion Task Force regarding the state’s higher education enterprise and its ability to produce graduates for today’s knowledge economy.
The West Virginia College Completion Task Force, co-chaired by West Virginia First Lady and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President Joanne Tomblin and West Virginia University President Jim Clements, was charged by the Commission and the Council in late 2010 to examine state and national data on college completion and develop recommendations for increasing the number of West Virginians with high quality certificates and degrees.
“For West Virginia to compete economically and globally, it is critically important that we increase college completion and that every student in West Virginia be placed in a pathway to meet the future needs of the State’s business and industry,” said Tomblin.
“Increasing our college completion rates is one of West Virginia’s most important public policy goals,” said President Clements. “The work of this Task Force is a significant step toward achieving that goal, and I hope our report generates a sense of urgency and inspires our collective action.”
The Task Force, comprised of state policy leaders, faculty, higher education administrators, and business leaders as well as student, classified staff, and public education representatives, developed a roadmap to improve college completion in the state’s public higher education institutions and ensure that West Virginia will have the educated citizens it needs to meet the demands of the 21st Century. The roadmap, emphasizing partnership and communication while protecting quality and access, includes five key recommendations as outlined below.
1. Make graduation a visible and tangible priority across the state;
2. Reduce the time it takes for students to earn a college certificate or degree;
3. Improve developmental education;
4. Increase adult completion rates; and
5. Connect funding to priorities.
Commission Chancellor Paul Hill and Council Chancellor James Skidmore pledged statewide support in implementing the report’s recommendations.
“It is the responsibility of all levels of education, especially postsecondary education, to enroll eager, inquisitive students of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds and, ultimately, produce highly qualified, skilled workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Hill.
“In order to implement the recommendations contained within the report, the Commission and the Council will require broad support from administrators, faculty, and staff across the state’s higher education institutions,” said Skidmore.
A copy of “Educating West Virginia is Everyone’s Business: Report from the West Virginia College Completion Task Force” is available at www.hepc.wvnet.edu and www.wvctcs.org