When Governor Kasich appointed me Chancellor in March of 2011, I came in knowing that nationwide – and even more so in Ohio – we face the issue of an undereducated workforce, and the future of our state and the prospects for its economic growth hinge on having more citizens with a certificate of economic import, an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree. As we move into the global economy of the 21st century, there has never been a more important time to realize that this lack of skilled workers is a serious problem.
I arrived here with a goal of increasing the number of Ohioans who have completed their college education and received one of the aforementioned degrees or certificates. And I knew that I wouldn’t be able to reach this goal without a team of talented workers dedicated to the same vision. Now, nearly two years later, I look back on what we have accomplished in a relatively short time and confidently say that we are moving in the right direction. There are many things that we have done well, and we couldn’t have gotten here without all of the hard work of the Board of Regents’ staff.
Three of our biggest achievements fall under what I call the three C’s – completion, commercialization and collaboration. Last November, we hosted a Complete College Ohio conference that provided the 300-plus people in attendance with a blueprint setting forth a comprehensive plan to grow college completion in Ohio. We need to grow our numbers by five to 10 percent within two years.
Earlier in the fall, a Commercialization Task Force wrapped up a series of meetings around the state that focused on ways to improve the relationship between universities and businesses and turn faculty research into commercially marketed products.
Finally, we concluded 2012 by completing our long-awaited move from the Rhodes Tower to the Ohio Department of Education building, laying the foundation for years of collaboration with our P-12 education partners.
As I look back on more than 30 years in public service, many highlights come to mind, and several of those involve my time here. I am honored to have served as Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. There are daunting challenges ahead, but I know the fruits of our labor will impact Ohio’s students for years to come.