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Brad Cowgill, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, visited the campus of Campbellsville University on Wednesday, Dec. 19, as part of the Council's "double the numbers" initiative.
Cowgill spoke to a gathering of CU senior administrative and academic leaders along with a group of community leaders on the mission of the CPE and its core mission of working to advance educational attainment in Kentucky.
One of the core goals of HB 1, enacted by the General Assembly in 1997 and generally recognized as a piece of landmark legislation leading to the formation of CPE, is to double the number of college graduates in Kentucky by the year 2020. The "double the numbers" initiative of CPE is geared toward making that goal a reality by 2020.
CU President Michael Carter welcomed the group and summarized the highlights of the fall 2007 semester at CU. He talked of CU's commitment to and experience in regional stewardship and how private independent universities are able to move quickly to respond to needs of the community and region.
"Although Campbellsville University is a private independent university, its mission is to serve the public agenda of providing quality higher education and regional stewardship. Campbellsville University enjoys a very close working relationship with our community including the political, civic and business leadership of the community and region," Carter said.
He further summarized how CU works closely with area school systems, discussed the 40 academic offerings provided by CU at the baccalaureate level and ten master's degree programs.
Carter noted the presence of community leaders such as Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers, Team Taylor County Executive Director Ron McMahan and Industrial Development Authority Board Chair and local bank president Mark Johnson. He noted that Mayor Brenda Allen sent her regrets at having to attend another meeting.
Cowgill commended Carter and Campbellsville University for her exemplary role in regional stewardship and economic development. He noted that one of Kentucky's challenges is creating sufficient job opportunities for college graduates to be able to stay in Kentucky and said that, "Campbellsville University's role in the 'Campbellsville Comeback' is a model for all of Kentucky. CU is a leader in the more comprehensive sense of regional stewardship, with engagement in a number of initiatives in the community and region."
Cowgill said that private colleges and universities are centers of "innovation, high touch, high service to each individual student." Affordability remains a challenge of higher education in Kentucky, and schools like CU are pouring "millions of dollars of its resources in providing scholarships and financial aid to students coming from first generation college students and those in financial need."
He further stated that CPE recognizes the vital role of Kentucky's independent college sector, and that CU's leadership in partnership with public sector educational institutions is another example of innovation and positive return on investment from the state's perspective.
While he was at CU, Cowgill was a guest on Dialogue on Public Issues hosted by John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.
The interview may be seen by going to www.Campbellsville.edu; select quick links and then streaming video. It will also be aired on TV-4/Cable 10 in January.
- Linda Waggener is assistant director of university communications at Campbellsville University.