Erin K. Mitchell

Chancellor Eric Fingerhut of the Ohio Board of Regents recently announced the beginning fundamentals of his 10-year master plan that is being delivered to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and the Ohio General Assembly March 31, 2008.

“The University System of Ohio will lead the development of a highly educated workforce capable of meeting the needs of existing enterprises and creatively leading the development and growth of new enterprises,” Fingerhut said in a recent press release.

According to the same release, the chancellor is mandated by the state legislature to construct a master plan once during his tenure to contribute to the higher education of Ohio residents.

The first draft of the plan was written and released in parts to the public throughout the month of November, the release states.

The University System of Ohio’s Web site highlights two main objectives Fingerhut proposes.

These include providing financial rewards or funds to colleges and universities for having high enrollment of first-generation college students (students with no family history at colleges and universities) and nontraditional students (students above the age range of 18-24).

Miami University Provost Jeffery Herbst says Miami supports the chancellor’s master plan, especially since it gives credit to those colleges and universities that have worked to improve education.

“We think this is, in general, a very positive development,” Herbst said.

Interim Director of Marketing and Communications for the Ohio Board of Regents Michael Chaney said that Fingerhut’s plan would impact not only colleges and universities, but also all Ohio residents over time.

“The point of 10 years is to give (our educational system) a long-term strategy for improvement,” Chaney said.

Chaney said the purpose of the Ohio Regents Board is to pursue new methods to improve the educational level of all Ohio residents. The chancellor’s proposal to offer rewards to schools who draw these types of students is specifically intended to motivate the more traditional colleges and universities to step it up.

Herbst said the proposal would affect Miami’s campus, especially students at the Miami Middletown and Miami Hamilton campuses.

Even though hopeful of the plan’s initiative, Herbst is still questions a few of the funding propositions.

“The real question that needs to be asked is, ‘How do these metrics feed into the state’s funding model?'” Herbst said.

Chaney said that funding questions still haven’t been worked out yet.

“Funding bills are in the works right now and will be released the next few months,” Chaney said.

The plan itself will continue to be adjusted until the date of the formal proposal in March Chaney said.

The first draft of the 17-point forum is now available for viewing and commentary on the Ohio Board of Regents Web site, http://regents.ohio.gov.

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