Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Summit aims to strengthen ties between universities, K-12 officials in Bluegrass
The first-ever major conference in the Bluegrass Region between the presidents and senior officers of the 12 universities and invited superintendents, principals, guidance counselors and other key administrators from most central Kentucky counties is set for Friday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington.
Hosted by the new Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium (BHEC), the focus of the event is to create a new agenda, goals and strategies for the new consortium, discussing college and career readiness, and how to move the needle in a positive fashion on such negative numbers as six-year graduation rates and high school drop out rates.
“We’ve gone into this without any kind of agenda. In other words, we’re not trying to plant any ideas or plant any seeds. We’re trying to begin to cultivate those ideas at this event,” said Rob Rumpke, CEO and president of Bluegrass Tomorrow. “The key is that there really hasn’t been a whole lot of communication that has gone on between universities and K-12. The more we talk about this and the more we talk to others in education around the state, the more we’re learning that this is pretty unique, what we’re doing.”
While the event is not open to the public, any educators, administrators, company CEOs, or economic development officials wishing to attend, may contact Bluegrass Tomorrow.
The consortium, which was formalized by the signing of a charter agreement at Bluegrass Tomorrow’s annual breakfast in February, is co-chaired by President Doug Whitlock of Eastern Kentucky University and President Augusta Julian of Bluegrass Community & Technical College, both Bluegrass Tomorrow board members.
One of the key goals of the consortium is to develop better communication with superintendents and school systems throughout the 18-county Bluegrass Tomorrow footprint, and to develop collaborative opportunities through meaningful dialogue; and the concept for this summit was born.
The summit is a part of Bluegrass Tomorrow’s 3rd Annual Create Bluegrass Celebration, preceded by the annual Vision Awards Breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Keynote speakers for the summit include Kris Kimel, President of the Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation and Ted Abernathy, Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board.
Three major topics will be discussed:
• Are our students college and career ready from an academic perspective?
• Are our students college and career ready from a social/cultural perspective?
• Are our students ready to move from secondary or college education to a career?
A myriad of presenters, from educators, students, business executives and others, will be giving short 7-minute “TED type” presentations on each topic, with 20 minutes of discussion following. Key comments, goals and strategies will be captured from each discussion and plenary voting will take place at the conclusion of the event setting priorities for the new consortium.
“The bottom line is we’re trying to create an agenda for the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium, coming out of this conference. Action items that will come out of this conference are things that we will take forward and try to be a model to the state and even a model to the south eastern part of the country and maybe even to the nation in terms or real innovative practices that we’ll develop,” Rumpke said.
The twelve schools that have agreed to collaborate to advance the region educationally and economically are: Asbury University, Berea College, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Midway College, Morehead State University, Kentucky State University, Sullivan University, Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky. All 12 schools are regionally accredited, four-year institutions, an important criteria for membership agreed to by the presidents.