The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Fingerhut defines future

“If you’re graduating soon, you’re probably wondering where you’ll be next year. Ohio’s Chancellor of Education, Eric Fingerhut, thinks no matter which path students choose, they should stay here in Ohio. Fingerhut announced his 10-year plan for Ohio universities on Monday.”

If you’re graduating soon, you’re probably wondering where you’ll be next year.

Ohio’s Chancellor of Education, Eric Fingerhut, thinks no matter which path students choose, they should stay here in Ohio.

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Fingerhut announced his 10-year plan for Ohio universities on Monday. The plan, which consisted of mandates for the state education system, focused on three main goals: graduating more students, keeping more graduates in Ohio and attracting more degree holders from out of state.

Several ideas that Fingerhut released in the plan will collaborate to accomplish this. Centers of Excellence, previously mentioned by Fingerhut, will function to create efficiency as well as reputation for Ohio schools. The Seniors to Sophomores program, on the other hand, will help lower cost by allowing high school seniors to finish their first year of college. Fingerhut’s plans also call for a University System of Ohio campus, whether main or community, to be available within 30 miles of every Ohioan. His plan implied this would encourage higher attendance rates.

The ultimate goal is to have 230,000 new students by the year 2017.

The question is, however, how will this be accomplished, and is it even possible?

The Associated Student Government made a trip to Columbus Tuesday to investigate.

Keeping Ohio grads in Ohio jobs

State Rep. Tom Sawyer and Inter-University Council President Bruce Johnson shared their thoughts, concerns and hopes for the University System of Ohio.

The future of our work force is dependent on our younger generation, Bruce Johnson said.

Johnson stressed these words to members of ASG on Tuesday.

In order to speak about the future work force, however, Johnson had to confront an unpopular issue-the rising costs of college.

We have an administration that is focused on getting more students into school and better jobs, Johnson said.

Johnson stated that at the end of the day, what made this state attractive to future students was human capital.

A business will be attracted to a location because they can attract high quality, highly educated, highly motivated people, he told students.

Which begs the question: which needs to come first in order to attract both students and employers?

Going to school in Ohio costs students 47 percent more than in other states, Johnson said.

Tuition is high because state support is low, he said.

In terms of spending, Ohio is about the same as other states. In order to get the state support up to the average, however, they would have to add $420 million a year to the budget.

According to Johnson, there is not an easy answer as to how to fund higher education.

If you look at the state budget, all the things are worthy causes, he said. It’s not easy to raise funding for higher education.

His specific goals for higher education were simple – make all credits transferable to all Ohio universities.

We have a core curriculum across the state that is transferable, (and) we would like to make all courses transferable to all institutions of higher education, he said. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort.

A lot of the hassle in that area revolves around the semesters versus quarters debate. Johnson said there was a recent consensus among education officials that a semester system is more efficient.

State Rep. Tom Sawyer

State Rep. Tom Sawyer’s office is bare.

There’s no collection of figurines, no mementos of his years of service to the community – all that stands out is a simple law dictionary, a book on the constitution and a poster of the Akron Art Museum.

While this information may seem trivial to UA students, it is an excellent glimpse into the future of higher education in Ohio.

Sawyer’s office is a reflection of his approach to students, lawmaking and his endeavors for the university system – straightforward and clean-cut. This is the approach he gives the issues that are changing Ohio.

Frankly, I think it’s going to be a little difficult to do, Sawyer said in response to Fingerhut’s statements.

There were several reasons Sawyer offered regarding his doubt. Sawyer said the University System would be hard to implement because schools value their entities. The basic idea, however, he agreed with.

Some of these ideas make a lot of sense, he said. The centers of excellence are something we’ve been stressing for the last 30 years.

Another issue he found in the plan was the process of deciding the tuitions at each school. According to Sawyer, instead of doing the normal appropriation processes this fall, where schools come in and advocate for a higher education budget and the trustees establish tuition costs, schools would advocate in front of the general assembly based on the cost levels and then let the general assembly set tuition levels.

That’s not going to fly, Sawyer said. If that’s what (Fingerhut) has in mind, there’s going to be a revolution around here. I believe we need to make sure we have a way to cap tuition increases, but I don’t know if we’ve made clear yet how we’re going to do it.

Sawyer’s major misgivings concerning the plan, however, were focused on the question of the state of Ohio politics in 10 years.

This governor and this chancellor will be gone in ten years, and the legislature will change, he said. The legislature is the only thing that could sustain the ideas of a long-term governor.

He did, however, have faith in Gov. Ted Strickland.

The governor has his priorities correct. Now it’s the detail of execution, he said.

I’m hopeful that we have a more fully developed, strategic approach how to make higher education affordable for a very large amount of people in Ohio – affordability is certainly the single most important issue of accessibility.

But what happens after you graduate? Sawyer hopes that Ohio will provide more jobs, in order to keep more graduates here. His own daughter currently resides in Chicago. The key, he feels, is providing more new work opportunities.

We must provide constructive, exciting work opportunities, he said. That’s what made Ohio a growing state.

In general, however, he had high hopes for the University System of Ohio program, and expressed his approval for change for Ohio.

The superiority that Ohio has enjoyed for decades has deteriorated over the last 25 years, he said. We are no longer among the leaders, and we need to regain that or begin to reconcile ourselves to it. I’m not willing to do that.

A complete listing of Fingerhut’s plan for the University System of Ohio can be viewed at

” #1.1361114:3071546940.jpg:20080403_tom sawyer_Johanna.jpg:State Rep. Tom Sawyer talks to ASG members about Ohio politics.:Johanna Hariharan”

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