During the past five years a series of national commissions and study panels have addressed the issues facing higher education. The sponsors – the Association of Governing Boards, the Business-Higher Education Forum, the National Academies, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, the Secretary of Education, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers – indicate the breadth and depth of the concern.
Federal and state policymakers and educators at every level must consider their responsibilities and roles in achieving higher quality and more widespread educational attainment. And they must do so without diminishing higher education’s essential contributions in advancing and preserving knowledge and fostering free inquiry and debate. While this challenge has implications for every person involved in the educational system, the role of state policymakers and the trustees of public colleges and universities is the focus of this paper.