Sen. Norment Statement on his Appointment to the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform
In response to his appointment to the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment, Senator Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R- James City) issued the following statement:
“I am honored to serve at the request of the Governor on such an important commission. Now, more than ever, we need to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all Virginians and ensure that the education they are receiving is on the cutting edge of innovation and technology.
“Higher education has consistently been an economic driver, and in order to attract businesses and high paying jobs to Virginia, it is critical that we develop and retain a well educated work force.
“I am proud to represent the College of William and Mary, Thomas Nelson Community College and Rappahannock Community College in the General Assembly. These are pre eminent institutions of higher learning and all are integral aspects of their communities. Like all public institutions of higher learning, they have seen their state support nearly cut in half on a per student basis. This has caused an unfair burden on the institutions and the students.
“I am honored to be involved in this critical effort and I look forward to working alongside the Governor, institutions of higher education and my colleagues to develop bold new initiatives to further the quality, affordability and accessibility of our colleges and universities.”
The commission is scheduled to meet for the first time on July 12 and will focus on the following:
- Preserving and enhancing the instructional excellence of Virginia's leading universities and of the higher education system as a whole;
- Increasing significantly the percentage of college-age Virginians enrolling in institutions of higher education and attaining degrees;
- Attracting and preparing young people for the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas and other disciplines (e.g., healthcare and advanced manufacturing) where skill shortages now exist and/or unmet demand is anticipated;
- Forging new effective public-private partnerships and regional strategies for business recruitment, workforce preparation, and university-based research;
- Making Virginia a national leader in providing higher education opportunities to military personnel and veterans;
- Crafting a sustainable higher education funding model that will systematically move Virginia toward higher levels of educational attainment and economic competitiveness over the next decade-and-a-half;
- Developing innovative ways to deliver quality instruction, cost-saving reform strategies, and affordable new pathways to degree attainment for capable and motivated Virginians regardless of income or background;
- Evaluating strategies to reduce costs through additional college placement testing and accelerated degree completion; and
- Creating effective workforce development programs through expanded use of the Community College System in coordination with the Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation.