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Wyoming has much to offer in discussions that address issues facing higher education nationwide, says Carol Frost, who will represent the University of Wyoming during an Academy for State Policy Leadership Aug. 6-7 in Chicago.
Frost, UW vice president for special projects, is among 25 individuals representing universities, educational foundations, state higher education systems, advisory groups and commissions involved in higher education issues. Most of them hold senior leadership positions in their respective institutions.
Developed by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and Lumina Foundation, the academy will focus on building essential relationships with governors, legislators, trustees, business leaders, institutional presidents, K-12 leaders and other higher education constituents. They hope to develop effective strategies to advance progress toward the national goals of expanding participation and attainment, and increasing the quality of student learning.
“With increasing demands placed on higher education and the need for more accountability in a time of declining funding for many institutions, we need people who understand state government and how the political process works,” Frost says. “UW has had incredible support from the state, and Wyoming is in a better position than many other states in recognizing the importance of supporting education.”
As an example, she cites the successful discussion about implementing stronger admissions standards, in which legislators, the Wyoming Department of Education, teachers, parents and others pulled together to ensure that students are better prepared for higher education and have the necessary assistance to succeed once they reach college.
Because of the diverse interests of the academy members, Frost says specific recommendations might not come immediately after the Chicago meetings. However, academy participants will have a better framework for understanding how to begin developing strategies to meet the needs of higher education.
“And I will bring back a better understanding of key issues from a national perspective,” she says. “We will know more about concerns that may be heading our way, so that we can address issues proactively before they become problems here.”