Higher education chancellor visits southeast Oklahoma to present 2016 legislative agenda


KREBS, OK (Jan. 22, 2016) – Strengthening Oklahoma’s workforce pipeline through degree and certificate completion continues to be the state system of higher education’s top priority. That was the message delivered by Chancellor Glen D. Johnson as he presented the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s FY 2016 legislative agenda to an audience of lawmakers, community leaders and educators in Krebs on Jan. 22.

“Our system of higher education remains committed to college degree and certificate attainment,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We know that increasing college degrees and certificates is Oklahoma’s pathway to jobs and prosperity, increasing our state’s per capita income and advancing economic growth. No entity in state government can help Oklahoma reach its goals of educational excellence and workforce development faster or more comprehensively than public higher education.”

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently voted to request $963.4 million for FY 2017, which reflects no increase over the FY 2016 appropriation of $963.4 million. The State Regents also approved an addendum acknowledging the need for $22 million to meet campus operational fixed costs.

Another area of focus in the coming legislative session will be maintaining current law regarding weapons on higher education campuses. Oklahoma higher education does not oppose the second amendment or gun ownership. Under current law, campus presidents have the discretion to grant exceptions to the weapons ban when an exception is warranted. The State Regents and the presidents of all 25 state system institutions strongly believe that there is no scenario where expanding authorization to carry weapons on higher education campuses does anything other than create a more dangerous environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The State Regents will also continue efforts to preserve the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship as an access program. Recognized by many as America’s best college access program, Oklahoma’s Promise is considered a model that combines emphases on academic preparation and financial support for college. More than 65,000 students have earned college tuition scholarships through Oklahoma’s Promise since the program’s inception in 1992.

Eastern Oklahoma State College regents, faculty and staff gathered with local legislators to attend Chancellor Glen D. Johnson’s presentation of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s FY 2016 legislative agenda on Friday. Pictured at the event are (left to right) Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith, Representative Ed Cannaday, EOSC Regent Brian Lott, EOSC Vice President of Academic Affairs Janet Wansick, EOSC Regent Bobby Mouser, EOSC Regent Loise Washington, Senator Larry Boggs, EOSC Professor Cheryl Wood Myers, EOSC Regent Carl Wooldridge and EOSC Regent Teresa Jackson.

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