Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Governor Patrick’s Readiness Project to Include UMass

Subcommittee of Governor’s Education Panel Will Address Structure of and Collaboration within the University of Massachusetts System

BOSTON—Tuesday, June 19, 2007 –Governor Deval Patrick today announced that his recently created Readiness Project will include a review of the University of Massachusetts system. The review will focus on internal and external collaboration between campuses, other higher education institutions, and with the public and private sectors to determine how to better serve University students and the Commonwealth and to strengthen the University’s standing among the nation’s universities.

The Governor’s Readiness Project, a group of state education, business and community leaders headed by former Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tom Payzant, EMC Corporation Chairman and CEO Joseph M. Tucci and Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott, is responsible for implementing the Governor’s pre-k through workforce education plan. The Governor will charge several subcommittees of the Readiness Project to make specific recommendations to implement the various aspects of his education plan. Public higher education, including the structure of and collaboration within the University of Massachusetts system, will be among the issues addressed.

“The University of Massachusetts offers our students an educational opportunity unlike any other. But we must be responsive to the ever-changing demands of a global economy to ensure that our graduates are able to compete—and win—in the workplaces of today and tomorrow,” Governor Patrick said. “That is why I have asked the Readiness Project to recommend strategies to implement a new vision for public education, including how to enhance the vital role of the University of Massachusetts.”

The project's review will not encompass the University President's authority to make personnel decisions in consultation with its Board of Trustees, and eliminates the need for the previously recommended University of Massachusetts taskforce. The Readiness Project is required to report recommendations to the governor no later than March 31, 2008.

University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson and University Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen P. Tocco expressed their support for the Governor’s review.

“The University of Massachusetts very much appreciates Governor Patrick’s decision to deepen the important discussion now under way about the University’s quest for national prominence, with a focus on how collaboration can fuel UMass in its effort to take its rightful place alongside the very best public universities in the nation,” said Wilson. “This discussion is of critical importance to the University and to the Commonwealth as we seek to position our students and our state for success in the global innovation economy. The Governor rightly places the emphasis on collaboration, believing, as we believe, that collaboration is the key to building a University of true national distinction and acclaim. This is the right discussion at the right time and once more we applaud Governor Patrick for putting education and excellence first.”

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