Our Very Public Work

The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently picked up a report from the University of Pennsylvania, named the College Opportunity Risk Assessment.  In the report, the state of Georgia ranked 23rd overall.  The CORA report is broad in its scope, highlighting academic success and options in a state, but additionally weighing up factors of state investments, educational equity and productivity of colleges and universities.  It all it measures seventeen indicators that paint a broad brush of college opportunity and success.

Often I talk of the “public square” in which we live and work.  This report is one example.  Earlier in the summer that public square was the arena of national politics.  The Higher Education Authorization Act (the so-called PROSPER Act) was presented by the House last winter, but is now floundering in Congress with no clear sense of a path forward.

Our work in higher education is part of a broad story or dialogue in the public square.  We are given a wonderful responsibility, but asked to account for it.  It is a privilege, not only a right, to teach the next generation of students, and we must constantly consider how we explain what we do not only to our students and our colleagues, but to those outside our doors who rightly claim a stake in our work.

This week we finalized a new Memorandum of Understanding with Robins Air Force Base, and immediately are expanding our connections and new programs there.  That is exciting work!  It also is one small example of our engagement, connection and responsibility in the public square.

Next month Chancellor Steve Wrigley will be joining us for Convocation, helping us understand even better our role within the broader framework of public higher education in the state of Georgia.

I hope this summer you have enjoyed some private space of rejuvenation and relaxation, as we gear up for another year of work in the very public and visible square of higher education.