LOCAL VOICES: Education's obligation

Education is often described as an investment, and I believe that the reality of this has never been more profound. Like any wise fi
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Education is often described as an investment, and I believe that the reality of this has never been more profound. Like any wise financial undertaking, funds provided to higher education in Ohio can yield high returns to the state as our institutions continually strive to provide not only state-of-the-art education to our students, but also engage in meaningful and productive research and community partnerships. As deliberations in Columbus continue over the state budget and its funding provisions for Ohio's colleges and universities, it is clear that our governor and legislators have themselves embraced this idea.

Indeed, it is a pleasure to see the degree of attention given to higher education in the budgeting process thus far, and I wish to commend Governor Strickland for beginning the discussions on this topic, as well as House Speaker Jon Husted, whose valiant proposals received vital backing from his colleagues in the Ohio House.

And, with the budget now under examination by the Senate, I am optimistic that the members of that body will continue their long tradition of support for higher education through a strong statement in their own proposal.

The budget deliberations are encouraging at this stage. I am hopeful that the biennial budget will be the beginning of a long-term commitment to higher education on the part of the state.

The support of higher education is essential because, in turn, colleges and universities are important members of Ohio's community, able to contribute greatly to the state's economy, image and engagement.

As president of Bowling Green State University, I am proud of the innovations and partnerships that my own campus has forged. BGSU Firelands, for example, is studying the use of wind turbines as an alternate energy source on campus, and the Bowling Green State University Research Institute was recently established to aid our faculty in effectively marketing the fruits of its research.

Additionally, Dr. James Michael Smith, former dean of BGSU Firelands, will begin serving our campus this summer as vice president of economic development and regional growth, examining methods by which BGSU can contribute to these all-important areas.

The university has also been highly involved with the surrounding community through a variety of efforts, including providing theater performances and workshops to the Bowling Green City Schools, involving community members in campus programming such as the BGeXperience orientation, and the university's participation in a number of community service opportunities.

BGSU and other colleges and universities throughout Ohio look to the state for the necessary funding to support such initiatives.

However, it is also the responsibility and commitment of the higher education community to subsequently provide the research, workforce, and other necessities that help put our efforts to work for the betterment of all Ohioans.

I look forward to the continued support of the Strickland administration and our state legislators, and greatly anticipate working with them to build new and wonderful opportunities in Ohio.