State higher education leaders aim to reinvigorate Master Plan
Leaders of California’s three public higher education systems jointly addressed the UC Board of Regents on Wednesday, Jan. 22, and discussed their plans for strengthening implementation of the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education.
Enacted in 1960, the Master Plan made California the first state in the nation to promise a place in higher education for anyone who wanted one. It was landmark legislation that has been credited with helping California build a skilled and educated workforce and establish itself as an international powerhouse of publicly funded research and knowledge. The purpose of the Master Plan remains as relevant today as when it was enacted more than 50 years ago, but California itself is a far different place, UC President Janet Napolitano told the board.
“We must look at the Master Plan today in terms of how we collaborate, how we cooperate . . . always with the education of the next generation in mind,” she said. To that end, Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White and California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris sketched out a variety of new ways the three systems plan to work together to better serve students.
Among their goals: developing a new student-centered Web portal that makes it easier for community college students to track their academic progress toward being eligible to transfer to a UC or CSU campus. Although still in the formative stages, the three system leaders envision a shared website that would make the transfer process more transparent — both in terms of which courses any particular students need to transfer to CSU or UC, and what kind of financial aid is available to them.
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While considering a new system for progress toward transfer, the three educational systems may want to consider an automated approach to transcript processing. Right now tens of thousands of transcripts are issued between community colleges and the UC/CSU. If the organizations had a system to transmit the data application, processing could be significantly enhanced for the institutions but also for the students.