Access to higher education and partnership between colleges and industries are essential, the appointee says.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
COLUMBUS -- Gov. Bob Taft has appointed Bruce R. Beeghly, a former Youngstown State University trustee, to a nine-year term on the nine-member Ohio Board of Regents.
Beeghly, 60, who lives in Struthers, is president of Altronic Inc. of Girard. He served as a YSU trustee from 1992-2001 and as YSU trustee chairman in 1999 and 2000.
"There are two key things that the board of regents is going to have to focus on. The first is access to higher education, and the second is aiding our institutions in collaborating with industry to get our share of more technical types of businesses in the future" in Ohio, Beeghly said.
As it goes through difficult financial times, a major challenge for the state will be to maintain access to higher education to support economic development efforts, he said.
For most of the past decade, Ohio has ranked about 40th among the 50 states in per capita state funding for higher education, he noted.
That translates into higher tuition, which discourages enrollment, he observed. Raising tuition is "a self-defeating game in the long run," he said.
"If the state of Ohio is to be competitive going forward, it must have more college-educated people in the work force. We are below the national average," Beeghly said.
Some 75 percent of the "foot soldiers" in the 21st-century work force will have bachelor's degrees, he said.
Work to do
Beeghly also said the regents should re-examine their formula, which rewards higher-level undergraduate courses and postgraduate courses with more funding than entry-level courses and causes institutions such as YSU, which don't offer many postgraduate programs, to suffer.
"The formula is using the statewide average cost," including large institutions with very large lecture classes delivered at low cost.
"So it does penalize a school like YSU that is trying to provide very high quality [but smaller] undergraduate courses right from the basic ones up," he explained.
Beeghly said he will attend the regents' Sept. 19 meeting in Cleveland, but his term does not officially begin until Sept. 21. His first meeting as a regent will be in October in Columbus. The regents, who are not compensated, meet nine times a year.
The board of regents appoints a chancellor to lead the professional staff in serving higher education in Ohio, recommends how the state's $2.6 billion investment in higher education should be directed, manages state-funded student financial-aid programs and approves new degree programs.
The only other Mahoning Valley resident to serve on the Ohio Board of Regents is Atty. Paul Dutton of Liberty, who was appointed by Gov. Richard Celeste and served on the board from 1987-96 and as its chairman in 1994 and 1995.