University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Inaugural Address by Governor Douglas_Jan 8_09

TO: The UVM Community

FROM: Daniel Mark Fogel, President

DATE: January 8, 2009

RE: Inaugural Address by Governor Douglas

In his Inaugural Address this afternoon, Governor James Douglas offered language that has the potential to impact UVM in significant ways.  I am sending to you a memorandum sent by UVM Board Chair Ian Boyce to our Board today which summarizes the Governor's ideas and proposals.  We are grateful for the opportunity to explore the potential of a different relationship with the Vermont State Colleges, and deeply appreciate the Governor's recognition of the importance of higher education to Vermont's future.  I would note, however, that it is much too soon to even begin to speculate about the outcomes of the process to explore an integrated relationship with the VSC or the viability of Governor Douglas's desire to invest additional resources in higher education.  Both ideas face a long and potentially difficult road ahead and will not diminish our pressing need to strengthen our financial situation here at UVM.

Challenging times demand creative and bold thinking.  Governor Douglas's proposals are worthy of careful examination and consideration.  We appreciate and welcome the invitation to participate in generating and evaluating ideas and developing recommendations that will serve Vermont, its people, and its higher education enterprise.  Our future depends on the availability of viable, accessible, high quality educational choices in Vermont, and we will approach the opportunity the Governor has presented with energy, creativity, and open minds.

We look forward to the important work ahead.  Further details about the Governor's comments appear below.

 

TO: Members of the UVM Board of Trustees

FROM: Ian Boyce, Chair

DATE: January 8, 2009

RE: Governor's Inaugural Address, Thursday, January 8

In this afternoon’s Inaugural Address, Governor Douglas raised some specific issues of significant importance to UVM and the State of Vermont that I want to bring to the attention of the Board. In his address, the Governor offered the following proposal:

“…to seek the benefits from an integration of the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges into a single organization. We have real gems in our state university and colleges, and with a commitment to progress, we can establish a higher education system better positioned to meet the needs of the student bodies. This marriage of resources – from infrastructure to administration, programs to athletics – will allow each college the freedom and flexibility to better focus on targeted academics offering the very best to each student.   I will charge a working task force with the responsibility to find academic and administrative efficiencies that will be achieved through consolidation of our university and state college systems. I will ask the task force to report with recommendations by November 15th.”

The Governor also highlighted the importance of higher education to the future of Vermont and the nation, and noted low state funding at both ends of the educational spectrum:  early education and higher education.  He expressed his view that a significant “imbalance” exists between these low levels of support compared to K-12 funding.  In his address, he proposed a 20% increase to both early childhood and higher education.

Our response to the Governor’s perspectives will be constructive, cooperative, and open to the notion that a closer relationship between UVM and the Vermont State Colleges could have positive outcomes for Vermont and its people, for public higher education, and for UVM.  We will not speculate on what such a relationship might look like, nor talk about the pros and cons of any different models, since it would be clearly premature to do so.  And of course we very much appreciate his view that higher education is worthy of additional resources.
This is important work, and as a Board I anticipate that we will have a continuing role in helping to shape the outcomes of this process.  I appreciated receiving a call from the Governor’s Chief of Staff to personally alert me to this initiative.

We will of course keep you informed as more is known, and as always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

The full text of the Governor’s Address is available at:  http://governor.vermont.gov/speeches/Inaugural_2009.pdf

Last modified January 11 2009 02:28 PM

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