Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 14, 2011, at 10:00 AM in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Reginald Meeks, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Reginald Meeks, Co-Chair; Senators Gerald A. Neal, R.J. Palmer II, Mike Wilson, and Ken Winters; Representatives Leslie Combs, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Kelly Flood, Donna Mayfield, Ryan Quarles, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, and Rita Smart.
Legislative Guests: Representative Arnold Simpson
Guests: Anthony Ogden, University of Kentucky; Ted Farrell, Education Kentucky, Inc.; Chris Bierwirth, Kentucky Institute for International Studies; Analy Scorsone, Kentucky Community and Technical College System; Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Erin Klarer, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation; Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Public Schools; Mason Dyer, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities; and Sue Cain, Council on Postsecondary Education.
Kentucky’s Postsecondary Education Student International Initiatives
Dr. Ted Farrell of Education Kentucky, Inc. discussed the benefits that international students bring to the Commonwealth. International students contributed $92.4 million dollars in 2010 and $114.6 million dollars in 2011 to Kentucky’s economy. Dr. Farrell said that international students graduate at higher rates than their American peers, and one study has shown that American students who spend significant time with international students also graduate at higher rates. While in Kentucky, many international students will make lifelong friends, connect to Kentucky companies, and go home to have distinguished careers with Kentucky business partners. Although Kentucky benefits from international students, the state is lagging in national and regional averages in the number of enrolled international students.
Dr. Anthony Ogden, Chair of the Kentucky Council on Education Abroad and Director of Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky, discussed the passage of 2002 Regular Session Senate Concurrent Resolution 142, which encouraged students, teachers, administrators, and educational policy makers to participate in international study, along with educational programs and other activities that advance cultural awareness and promote mutual understanding and respect for citizens of other countries. Kentucky was one of the first states to have a resolution of this nature. In the 2009-2010 academic year, only 270,604 United States students studied abroad for college credit. This number is less than two percent of college students in the United States. Kentucky has some model institutions such as Berea, Centre, and Transylvania that are graduating greater proportions of their students with international education experience. Over 70 percent of Centre students have studied abroad.
Dr. Chris Bierwirth, Executive Director of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS), said that over the last three years KIIS has sent 8,700 students from Kentucky to study abroad. These students are not looking for glorified tourism but are serious and looking for something of value. They are vocationally oriented and are looking for ways to enhance their education so they can have successful careers. One of the biggest obstacles for students wanting to study abroad is the cost. The least expensive KIIS program costs around $2,500 dollars, not including airfare for a month-long program during the summer. Dr. Bierwirth described the benefits of studying abroad. The results of a 10-year study at the University of Georgia showed that students in study abroad programs showed improved grade point averages. Those students also showed higher graduation rates and at-risk students showed improvement as well. Dr. Bierwirth said that study abroad gives students the opportunity to act as positive ambassadors for the United States and Kentucky.
Former Governor Martha Layne Collins said that Kentucky has made some strides but must do a lot more to compete for business. The future for Kentucky is with international markets because the U.S. markets are saturated. Kentucky has an advantage over other states because everyone has heard about Kentucky, whether through Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kentucky Bourbon, Muhammad Ali, or My Old Kentucky Home. She said that Kentucky should take advantage of every opportunity to bring more companies into the state, and Kentucky has many good products and services that other countries want. Governor Collins said education and economic development go hand-in-hand, and international study programs can lay the groundwork to help Kentucky be more prosperous. Companies are interested in working with states that invest in their people. It is important to have an educated and trained workforce to attract companies.
In response to Chairman Meeks’ question regarding how attitudes about other cultures can be changed, Governor Collins said young people are more willing than adults to experience other cultures, and Kentucky needs to provide more opportunities for them to do so. Dr. Bierwirth said sometimes parents are reluctant to allow students to participate in study abroad because of safety concerns. He said KIIS developed policies and procedure to ensure safety. Dr. Ogden said that Kentucky needs to remove barriers, particularly financial, and deal with all obstacles students are facing. Dr. Farrell said that Kentucky should lay a foundation for partnerships for international study programs.
Representative Smart noted the importance of having global language skills in today’s world. Representative Flood commented about her experiences living abroad while her parents were in the military and the benefits of being exposed to different cultures.
In response to Representative Richards’s question regarding the possibility of funding, Dr. Ogden mentioned The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act. He said the legislation did not pass but could serve as an example of a funding model for Kentucky.
In response to Senator Wilson’s question regarding financial assistance, Dr. Bierwirth said his school has identified two dozen sources of funding for students, and the sources are published on the KIIS website. One idea to increase funding is to add a $5 to $10 fee to all students’ university fees. The money would be placed in an international fund to be used for scholarships. Dr. Odgen said that the University of Kentucky (UK) has a similar fee, and the student body just voted to raise the fee by $1. About 80 percent of the fees are used for education abroad, and 20 percent are used to bring international students to UK.
In response to Chairman Meeks’ question, Dr. Bierwirth said that a typical KIIS program is during the summer and lasts about one month. To be eligible for the KIIS program, students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average, and those with a 2.5 or better are given preference. Nationally, about 38 percent of students will study abroad for one semester and another 35 percent will study abroad for eight weeks or less.
Approval of Minutes
With a quorum being present, Representative Richards moved to approve the minutes of the August 1, 2011, meeting, and Representative Combs seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by voice vote.
Statewide High School Assessment Results: the Postsecondary Education Perspective
Dr. Aaron Thompson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), said one of the best things to happen to education in Kentucky has been connecting K-12 with higher education through 2009 Senate Bill 1. Over the past two years, Kentucky has made dramatic progress in implementing a college readiness agenda, and postsecondary and K-12 are responding to and reacting together regarding K-12 test results.
Dr. Sue Cain, Coordinator, College Readiness and Developmental Education, CPE, discussed how Kentucky was a lead state in the alignment of college readiness standards. The unified strategy mandated in 2009 Senate Bill 1 has made the direction very clear about what Kentucky needs to do to improve test scores. One of the first steps was developing high school senior year transitional courses in reading, writing, and math. Dr. Cain said CPE is working on building middle school transitional courses, and has built a college and career readiness kit for middle school and high school teachers. Everything being done at the postsecondary level has included K-12 and adult education.
Dr. Thompson reported on the implementation of three assessment academies in eastern Kentucky, western Kentucky, and northern Kentucky. These academies are partnerships with K-12 and two-and four-year institutions to help target professional development based on student assessment information.
Dr. Cain mentioned national partnerships Kentucky is participating in for college and career readiness. Two of the grants Kentucky received are Complete College America and Learn on Demand.
Dr. Cain and Dr. Thompson discussed high school assessment scores and said there is a gap persisting for students of color. They said additional efforts are needed to focus on closing these gaps. The statewide target for college readiness is 81 percent by 2014, which would be a 31 percent change from 2008. The rate of improvement in Kentucky between the years 2000-2009 leads the nation. They noted that the total degrees and credentials awarded by public and nonprofit, independent institutions from 2001 to 2010 increased 84 percent.
Responding to questions from Senator Neal, Dr. Cain said transfer students have a higher graduation rate than non-transfer students. Dr. Thompson said there is a movement nationally to track completion rates instead of graduation rates.
Responding to questions from Representative Smart regarding transitional courses, Dr. Cain the courses are already online, free, and fully implemented across the state. They are available to any school, and middle school transitional courses will be online by April. Dr. Thompson said these transitional courses are producing 80 percent college readiness.
In response to Chairman Winters comments regarding his concerns with remediation needs, Dr. Cain said CPE is addressing the issue with tools like diagnostic assessments and offering remediation courses in shorter time periods.
Responding to a question from Chairman Meeks regarding issues that could be brought to the General Assembly, Dr. Thompson said Kentucky has to focus on closing the achievement gaps at a much deeper level and put some emphasis on Kentucky’s adult learners. He said there needs to be ways to educate all of Kentucky’s students to the point of being impactful citizens.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 12:02 p.m.