May 30, 2012

Jefferson City - About 100 college and university governing board representatives and top administrators will convene June 7 at a Governing Board Forum in Columbia.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education is hosting the event. It is the first time the coordinating board has assembled local governing boards to discuss higher education issues facing the state and nation.

The day-long conference will cover such topics as stewardship, higher education finance, improving degree attainment rates, maintaining academic quality in challenging fiscal times, and forming partnerships with business and industry.

Speakers with national perspectives include Stan Jones, founder of Complete College America; Rich Novak, senior vice president of the Association of Governing Boards; and Jee Hang Lee, director of public policy for the Association of Community College Trustees.

Local governing boards allocate financial resources, guide policies, and hire and fire top administrators at Missouri's 13 community colleges, 10 public four-year institutions, and two-year technical college. Board members at four-year institutions are appointed by the governor, while community college boards are elected by voters within their districts.

Bringing local governing board members together to discuss topics of mutual interest is a priority for the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, according to its chair, Kathy Swan.

"We have more in common than we have differences," said Swan. "We are all faced with reduced financial resources, growing enrollment and pressure to graduate more students. We're coming together next week to learn from each other and national experts about how institutions around the state and nation are coping with these challenges."

Sponsors for the conference include the Higher Education Partnership, Husch Blackwell law firm, Complete College America, the Missouri Community College Association and the Council on Public Higher Education.