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Ritter names higher ed study panel

Campus of University of Colorado at Boulder
Campus of University of Colorado at Boulder
J. Zubrzycki

Gov. Bill Ritter Tuesday finally named the full membership of the panel assigned to develop a new strategic plan for the state’s colleges and universities, just a day before the group is to hold its first meeting.

The idea of a strategic plan has been discussed within the administration for a year, became public last summer but is only now getting started. The groups is supposed to produce a report by the end of year – just as Ritter is preparing to leave office.

“This steering committee will address the major challenges facing Colorado’s higher-education systems and create a blueprint to ensure our colleges and universities are accessible, affordable, accountable and of the highest quality for decades to come,” Ritter said in a statement.

The governor previously named Jim Lyons, a lawyer and Democratic Party figure, and Colorado Rockies vice chair Dick Monfort as co-chairs of the steering committee.

The remaining members announced Tuesday are heavy on people with current or past ties to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. The members are:

  • Ray Baker, former chair of the CCHE
  • John Bliss, former vice president of budget and finance for the University of Colorado System
  • Terry Farina, former member of the CCHE
  • Russ George, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation and former state lawmaker
  • Theresa Pena, member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education
  • Jim Polsfut, current CCHE chair
  • Meg Porfido, member of the Colorado Community College System board
  • Jane Rawlings, assistant publisher of the Pueblo Chieftain
  • Alan Salazar, senior policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo
  • Greg Stevinson, current CCHE member

Rico Munn, executive director of the Department of Higher Education, and Don Elliman, the state’s chief operating officer, will serve as ex-officio members.

The steering committee assignment includes defining state higher educational needs and examining institutional missions; reviewing the governance and structure of the system; addressing higher education funding; and increasing and improving student access and success.

Subcommittees will be set up to examine those areas.

Subcommittees will be formed to address each of these areas, and the committee as a whole will develop a master plan and submit it along with recommendations to the Governor, Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the legislature by the end of the year.

The committee’s first meeting is at 10 a.m. Wednesday at DHE, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1600.

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