Report Takes New Look at Role of Public Colleges in Mass.

Sep 24, 2012

According to a new report released by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, 1/3 of high school graduates in the Commonwealth are not prepared for college level work. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The report called Time to Lead: The Need for Excellence in Higher Public Education released by the Department of Higher Education outlined the growing role of public colleges and universities in Massachusetts, the under-preparedness of high school graduates, and the adaptations public institutions must make to educate state residents towards the future Massachusetts economy.

Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland said now public schools are playing a more important role in a state where private universities often dominated the landscape of higher learning. Freeland said that public universities now have the responsibility of training a new workforce for the Massachusetts innovation economy.

Freeland also noted that students that attend public universities are more likely to stay in Massachusetts, than students at private institutions.

Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, said that MCLA is doing it’s part to educate students in the area’s highlighted as important for the future economy.

Brown also mentioned MCLA’s work to support education in the creative economy, a factor that is a driving force the Berkshires.

Michael Bullock, Vice President for Student Affairs at Berkshire Community College, addressed the report’s call for insurance of higher graduation rates at community colleges and the issue of a lack of college readiness for1/3 of graduating high school seniors.

Bullock also mentioned a series of grants funded by the US Department of Labor to the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts.

The Time to Lead report is part of the Vision Project, a program that is reevaluating the Commonwealth’s needs and future pathways for the state’s public education system.

For more information, see the study online here.