With the university community having worked hard to develop a strong bond with many of the members of the legislature, it has been evident that the university voice is postured to have input into an ever growing number of issues. The Partnership appreciates the work of so many supporters during the campaigns. Further, we acknowledge and encourage you to continue to build relationships with the members of the Alabama Legislature.
University employees should be pleased to know that Dr. David Bronner called to thank the Higher Education Partnership and the network of public universities for the positive response during the recent vote for the RSA board. The Partnership members and friends played an important role in the vote. THANKS for returning the ballots! Your voice was heard.
Here are a few additional action items to report:
- The Education Trust Fund budget proposal for 2013-2014, that was introduced by Governor Robert Bentley, was a successful start for the universities. While the growth in the higher education portion of the ETF budget is around two percent for most institutions, the overall amount of increase is a good starting point for this year’s discussions. The really good news about this proposal is that the universities are receiving this increase at a time when the Alabama Education Association and others in K-12 have a huge list of projects. The leadership in the legislature has stood with us during the first couple of weeks. Let’s stay active in our encouragement of the members. Having a big crowd for Higher Education Day (February 28 at 11 am in front of the StateHouse) is really important this year because we need to say thanks to our friends!
- The move by the legislature to establish a statewide technology office is being watched closely by the universities. Efficiency is certainly a goal that is supported by the Partnership. However, the universities want to make sure that this Secretary of Technology does not limit the universities’ capacity to operate in areas of importance. Technology is critical to the universities being successful.
- In an effort to enhance the environment for on-line education and effectively compete with an ever-growing number of competitors, the Partnership and your lobbyists are working with multiple pieces of legislation. The desired outcome is to give more individuals an opportunity to be connected to Alabama’s public universities and to make sure that the financial picture related to on-line courses works within the overall business plan of each institution.
Finally, the Partnership is in the midst of the planning and preparation for another successful Higher Education Day. We remind every member and friend to make plans to attend. The bands will be festive, the lunch will be good and the speaker list is filled with decision makers. The key is for the universities to actively “turn out the crowd.” Bus transportation is available from every campus so let us know if you need additional information. Otherwise, please plan to join us on February 28 at 11:00 am.
Gordon Stone, Executive Director