News and Events
President Benton Named to National Higher Education Commission
President Andrew K. Benton has been named one of three inaugural vice chairs at the creation and first convening of a national Commission on Higher Education Attainment. Its goal is to chart a course for greatly improving college retention and attainment and, in turn, restore the nation's higher education preeminence. The Commission consists of representatives from six higher education presidential associations.
"My colleagues and I accept this challenge eagerly," notes President Benton. "Americans are justifiably proud of their colleges and universities. Our diversity of approach combined with our common commitment to doing the best we can for our students is, I think, an enviable strength. Still, we can and must do better. The higher education community must own and shape the future and this Commission is a good and meaningful place to begin."
While the precise work of the commission will be defined by the participants, the topics will include: the changing nature of students seeking a degree or credential; the ability of higher education to attract, retain and graduate the increasing number of adults seeking a degree or credential; the current capacity of higher education to accommodate the large number of students who will need to enroll if we are to increase the number of graduates; and the opportunities to increase efficiency and enhance productivity in meaningful ways.
Commission members were nominated by each of the presidential associations. E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, will serve as chair. Joining President Benton as vice-chairs are O. Mellow, repsident of LaGuardia Community College (NY); and George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College (NJ).
"President Obama's call for the United States to have the highest level of postsecondary educational attainment in the world by 2020 highlights the importance of higher education to our nation's future," says American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. "We believe achieving this important objective will not be possible without clear and decisive leadership by colleges and universities, which is why we are launching this effort."
The first commission meeting will take place Monday, Oct. 31, at the American Council on Education's Washington, DC, offices. The commission is expected to complete its work by fall 2012.
The six higher education associations whose representatives comprise the commission are: American Council on Education, Association of American Universities, American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.