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September 17, 2003 :: Studies to Provide State Regents with More Information to Improve Higher Ed in State

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Citing their responsibility to determine and meet public needs for public higher education programs and services in the Sooner State, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently approved plans to proceed with an Oklahoma higher education needs assessment.

The needs assessment is part of the State Regents’ 2003-2004 workplan approved last spring, which calls for the State Regents to conduct studies of the perceptions of Oklahoma public higher education and then to create a statewide improvement and marketing plan based on the findings.

The workplan is designed to inform the public as to the focus of the State Regents’ work as well as the philosophy underlying the board’s actions.

State Regents will focus these higher education assessment activities in two areas: (1) conducting a comprehensive statewide assessment, and (2) providing a needs assessment for the Tulsa area.

“Research like this is extremely important because it provides State Regents with information we can analyze to help shape public policy and, therefore, meet higher education needs of all Oklahomans,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said.

The statewide needs assessment will build on previous assessments from higher education policy groups, colleges and universities, chambers of commerce and others. It consists of two parts: (1) an assessment to determine perceived needs for public higher education services and to identify barriers to college participation, and (2) a survey of employers and opinion leaders to determine satisfaction with Oklahoma public college graduates and courses offered. State Regents staff will survey this second group.

Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Langston University-Tulsa recently requested that the State Regents provide assistance in determining how programs and services delivered by each institution can best meet Tulsa-area needs. State Regents plan to survey Tulsa-area residents and students regarding higher education needs delivered at the two Tulsa campuses as well as at Northeastern State University –Broken Arrow, the University of Oklahoma operations in Tulsa and Tulsa Community College. Higher education officials expect this project to be completed by December 15, 2003.

“We are committed to ensuring that all Oklahomans get what they expect and need from our public colleges and universities. That’s why it is so important to have these types of assessments,” State Regents Chairman Ike Glass said. “We look forward to working with all parties involved in the individual projects.”