By Timothy Cox
Ohio desperately needs a more educated workforce and Wright State University and its local Lake Campus plan to help fill the need, university officials said during Wednesday's annual report to the community.
University President Kim Goldenberg said the final report of the Governor's Commission on High Education and the Economy called for increasing enrollment in Ohio's colleges, universities and technical schools by 30 percent during the next decade. Goldenberg served on the special commission.
"Ohio has an environment that needs more people with higher education than currently exists," Goldenberg said. "The workforce needs people with skills over and above high school."
The commission looked at ways that Ohio's education system can be improved to bolster the economy.
"The goal was to make Ohio a place to come, not a place to leave," Goldenberg said. Anita Curry-Jackson, the Lake Campus dean, said the branch campus can play its role in bolstering Ohio's higher education. Lake Campus officials should strive to boost enrollment 2-4 percent annually to meet the governor's commission's mandate, she said.
"We're always looking for ways to make the Lake Campus the No. 1 choice for students leaving high school," Curry-Jackson said.
Keys to bolstering enrollment include expanding the Lake Campus' four-year degree offerings and graduate studies, Curry-Jackson said. Partnering with the main campus and the local community also are keys to success, she said.
Goldenberg noted that Wright State already is doing the things necessary to meet the commission's goals. For example, Wright State recently opened a school of geriatric medicine, which is one of only five in the nation. People 85 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, Goldenberg said.
"This university is rising to meet that need," he added.
Meeting the governor's mandate though also hinges on finances, Goldenberg said.
"The commission laid out some extraordinarily ambitious goals and the funding has yet to be worked out," Goldenberg said. "Funding is ultimately, we think, going to be critical."
In order for those goals to be met, the state's philosophy on funding higher education will have to change, Goldenberg said.