Blue Ribbon Commission Submits Higher Education Report

Posted: February 4, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Greater affordability, quality, and accountability in Virginia’s higher education system are the three major goals identified in the final report of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education that was presented yesterday to Gov. James Gilmore. The result of nearly 15 months of study and consultation with key higher education leaders and policy makers, the report contains 73 recommendations that speak to its three major goals.

The highlight of the report is a call for the creation of six-year Institutional Performance Agreements that provide each institution with multiyear funding commitments and enhanced managerial autonomy in return for agreed-upon performance standards addressing academic quality and operational efficiency. Performance standards would focus on quality, through measures of actual student learning as well as the efficiency of the institution.

The report calls for institutions to develop the proposed agreements and submit them to the state this year. Following negotiation of funding, performance measures, and other issues, the agreements would be adopted through the Appropriation Act in the 2001 or 2002 session of the General Assembly.

“Virginia taxpayers have made a major investment in public higher education, and they undoubtedly will be called upon to make even greater investments in the future,” said Gilmore. “The adoption of institutional performance agreements is crucial to ensuring these investments yield tangible, measurable results in terms of improved academic quality and institutional efficiency. That is the hallmark of accountability.”

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