College president prefers local trustees over statewide panel

A state committee’s idea to have a regulatory board oversee and make decisions for all public colleges and universities in Colorado has Mesa State College President Tim Foster worried.

Foster said he believes the “de-centralized” higher-education system that Colorado uses now is more cost-effective and efficient than a proposed idea to have a state regulatory board make decisions for institutions of higher learning in the state.

Local boards of trustees now make decisions for colleges, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education works as a review and planning board for all colleges in the state.

But the new state regulatory board, unlike the commission, would have the power to make decisions ranging from consolidating schools to deciding where programs are located.

“That kind of centralized control went out with the Soviet Union,” Foster said. “This has pretty much been a failed exercise in my opinion.”

The Higher Education Strategic Planning steering committee, assembled by Gov. Bill Ritter in January to develop a master plan for the state’s colleges and universities, may recommend that colleges keep their trustee boards.

The steering committee’s suggestions for higher-education governance reform are still in the draft stages.

The committee will host a hearing Sept. 29 at Mesa State to collect ideas and gauge how the public feels about having a regulatory board, as well as other suggestions compiled by the committee. A time has not been made available for the forum.

To view a copy of the draft plans, visit HigherEd.Colorado.gov/Publications/General/StrategicPlanning and click on “Background Materials.”


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