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Review Feedback

Feedback as of October 24, 2018

1. Date Created: 8/16/2018

Name:
Comment: 
Test.

2. Date Created: 8/22/2018

Name: 

Comment: 
Test feeback here 

3. Date Created: 8/24/2018

Name: Verne Britton

Comment:

Please post the schedule for future meetings somewhere on the website Verne verne@wvnet.edu


4. Date Created: 8/24/2018

Name: Verne Britton:

Comment:

Website feedback for the webmaster ....  on the page  Meetings, Recommendation and Report on the pulldown menu of ABOUT ....  at https://wvblueribbonhighered.org/about/meetings-recommendations-and-report on the right are three items to choose from ... the 2nd/middle item has some overlap in the text and is hard to read.  I see the same issue using both Chrome and Firefox   Verne verne@wvnet.edu


5. Date Created: 8/27/2018

Name: 

Comment:

You may want to invest in a better phone system


6. Date Created: 8/29/2018

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7.  Date Created: 8/29/2018

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8. Date Created: 8/29/2018

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9. Date Created: 9/10/2018

Name: Melissa Craddock  
Comment:

I I feel like there are too many Community Colleges in the state. Even though some are spread out, which is a plus for rural areas, I feel it's unnecessary to keep them stock with a very high salaried upper administration. For instance, New River CTC, in 2011 had about 22,00 students across five campuses. But over the last few years, enrollment was down to about 1000-1200 students, and still, the salary of the college president grew, along with several others in upper administration. I know because I was employed there for seven years, but am now with WVU Beckley.  Please don't take this as a disgruntled employee. I still love my New River family. I never filed a complaint, and was a model employee with no marks. I was on Classified Staff Council for several years, and the biggest complaint was how the lower level employees worked very hard without raises, even taking a 20% pay cut in 2016 for a short period of time, the upper administration continued to receive multiple extreme raises. Several received $10,000 salary increases a year, more than once. And the Director of Purchasing was even turned in to the state auditor's office for taking vacation cruises, but not being made to turn in vacation time. But nothing changed.  My point being, if you have multiple upper administration employees making extreme salaries with a small student population, that doesn't seem fair at all. Some kind of combining has to take place. New River CTC runs five college campuses with only one central office for administrators, so why can't some other smaller colleges combine administration to aid with funding? I realize some may lose jobs, but I feel many classified staff and faculty have lost jobs already, while the high paying admin positions continue to receive raises. I know this may not be the case for every small college in the state, but from the looks of the salaries, it is the case for most. It seems odd that an administration would continue to make such a high salary, with raises, when the student population isn't even half of what it was 5-6 yrs. ago. Less students = less administrative demands. Most of your point of contact employees are taking care of the student's needs and helping them adjust. A lot of employees feel it's unfair that when the budget money is handed down, it all seems to spread thick at the top, and thin on the bottom. And those point of contact lower level employees have high turn over rates, and students see that. They're losing the employees that help students the most. Some upper administrators refuse to even see students... could be a factor in retention rates.


10. Date Created: 9/12/2018

Name:     
Comment: 

Comment removed. 


11. Date Created: 9/17/2018

Name: Sue Woodward  
Comment:

I am really at a loss as to why my tax dollars are going to fund "out of state" college students - the majority at WVU!  I understand these students bring in economy for 4 to 5 years (be it the northern part of the state)  but then they leave the state and provide no long term economy or help support the state.   Universities that see to the needs of West Virginians should be looked at first.    Moving forward for this and other items - whoever decides they are looking out for WV and not just their Alma mater or personal interests  - is who I am going to vote for in future elections.   


12. Date Created: 10/18/2018

Name:  
Comment: blank


13. Date Created: 10/22/2018

Name: Bruce Walker  
Comment: 

I would like to take the offered opportunity to comment on the goals and objectives, both stated and unstated, of the Blue Ribbon Commission. But first, as they stated in old Westerns, my “bona fides”. I recently retired as General Counsel of the HEPC after nearly 30 years representing higher education in West Virginia. In that time I represented or was General Counsel to all WV statewide higher education boards including the Board of Regents, the State College System Board of Directors, the University System Board of Trustees, the Interim Governing Board, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education. I represented what I believe was 14 interim and permanent Chancellors. I have also represented every public higher education institution in the state at one time or another, advised a countless number of Presidents and trained and advised Board of Governors at nearly every institution. I have participated in every revenue capital bond issue since the beginning of my tenure. At one point during this time I served as Deputy Attorney General for Education, Revenue and Taxation. I defended institutions in myriad of personnel grievances and started the first grievance decision index and library. I organized the first CLE conference in Governmental Law for WV government attorneys. I drafted or was part of the drafting process, amendments, and legislative process for all higher education and related legislation since the early 90s. I argued many of the significant decisions by the WV Supreme Court of Appeals regarding higher education and other governance issues. And I was blessed and privileged with working with some of the most dedicated, passionate advocates for students at both the state level and individual institutions who put those students before any issues involving turf, power, or self aggrandizement. Frankly, I think I know as much about the past of higher education in this state, and the present issues, than almost anyone alive. Nonetheless, the BRC has not sought my input on the issues before it. However, I should not feel too left out since I understand elements of the BRC seek no outside information that might contradict their narrative. Nonetheless, I offer my following thoughts, especially in response to state comments that institutions should be left alone to live or die on their own. 1. Using the HEPC to provide essential services institutions may require is an idea that has been in practice for years and has saved the state millions of dollars. It can be expanded even farther if institutions cannot show merging back office services do not make them more efficient. For years the HEPC has provided institutions free, yes free, legal services and representation in courts for actions not covered by state insurance. Statewide contracts for various vendor services have been entered into on behalf of institutions if they want to piggyback on them. Architectural and construction oversight has been provided by the HEPC, as well as revenue bond issues to construct campus facilities. The HEPC and CTC have negotiated numerous reductions in costs for required services for such items as cyber security, tuition and fee net calculators, software licenses, workers comp, specialized legal services, etc. The HEPC provides free required training for BOG members in areas such as governance, ethics, etc. This is not a task to be casually tossed away and should even be expanded. Walmart and Lowe’s do not have each separate store provide its own, duplicative services. Nor should we. And such services should be provided in a neutral, non coercive matter not influenced by a gubernatorial appointee executive director, as has been recommended, who might have an institutional or regional bias. Institutions must be confident that they have a trusted independent organization providing these services and not dictated to by one or two institutions. 2. Approval and oversight of new programs to be offered at institutions has always been an issue and the authority over them have always been vested in a strong central board to guard against wasteful spending, duplication, and low producing programs. I understand the present thought among some is that we can go back to the Wild West and let knife fights determine who lives and dies. But there has always been a reason for central office determinations on this issue. Do we really want institutions trying to runoff or kill off other institutions by duplicating programs in the other institution’s back yard? Especially if they move like a Walmart into a small town and use loss leaders to drive off the smaller stores? Would WVU be happy with Marshall and Concord opening up law schools in southern WV and Charleston? What programs of Shepherd would be opened by other schools in the Eastern Panhandle to try and takeover Shepherd? Program approval and oversight, especially termination of wasteful programs, by a central independent organization without institutional or regional bias, is one of the most important tools a legislature can assign to save millions and foster efficiency and a statewide master plan for higher education. 3. The Legislature has enacted comprehensive goals and objectives for higher education in this state. See http://code.wvlegislature.gov/18B-1D/ . This extensive legislation requires a statewide master plan for higher education developed by the HEPC in line with compacts submitted by the institutions. Funding was partially based on filing and adherence to these compacts and master plans. The recommendations made by some of those on the BRC is to remove any attention to or adherence to these legislative mandates. In effect, it is a pitch for feudalism with individual fiefdoms setting their own goals and objectives. Without a strong independent central office like the HEPC, free of institutional or regional bias, to develop and enforce these goals and objectives the BRC and legislature can merely state they do not care about a statewide higher education future for our students. Back to a let them “live or die” mentality. 4. The HEPC sets the standards and makes the awards for several state financial aid programs such as Promise, the Higher Education Grant Program, the Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship and loan awards, the Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics Scholarship. Who will do this without an institutional or regional bias? 5. The HEPC coordinates and oversees the required financial audits for higher education. Who will do this and how will they enforce the requirements and submissions without an independent agency like the HEPC, free of institutional or regional bias, conducting it? 6. The HEPC and its predecessors have traditionally been responsible for approving major capital projects and their financing. This was to guarantee the project and financing was feasible, needed, efficient and cost-effective——especially if students were paying for it. College presidents and boards like to build buildings. Some are not needed. Some are not feasible. The present system is attempting to move away from this oversight and has led to at least one institutional dormitory multi- million dollar project that was let on a no-bid contract, was not built to code and had to be massively rebuilt, opened semesters late, had a very low occupancy rate and led the institution to shut down a cheaper dorm to funnel students to a new more expensive dorm. That institution asserted the HEPC had no authority over the project. If the BRC and Legislature wants millions spent on buildings without any independent oversight then so be it and I hope it does not affect our bond ratings. It also should be noted that the HEPC created a Higher Education Facility Information System to measure use of institutional facilities, classrooms, labs etc to make construction and renovation based on actual usage. At least one institution declined to participate. If the legislature wants this crucial information it must vest the power to gather it in an independent agency like the HEPC and absent institutional or regional bias. 7. For years the HEPC has provided an extensive legislative monitoring process that keeps institutions advised on a 24/7 basis of legislation that might affect institutions. Regular communications are sent to the institutions, faculty, staff and students regarding the contents of introduced and amended bills. The Chancellor and staff routinely testify before legislative committees and their staffs, assist in drafting original bills and and amendments, and answering legislative inquiries. This has always been done in an open, neutral and transparent manner. Without the HEPC who will be this agent and advocate for the institutions and do so without an institutional or regional bias? In the past, we were able to identify blatant misleading statements made to legislators that benefited some institutions and disadvantaged others and an independent body is need to still do so. 8. WV is the home of the first state higher education Report Card published annually by the HEPC and first created by our own Dr. Krotseng, President of Bluefield State. This is a report the Legislature requested and is crammed with facts and figures about higher education in the state, its students and staff, and trends. To that end the HEPC has one of the most historically prodigious Policy and Planning Offices in the country, headed now by the immensely talented Dr. Chris Treadway. That office is the fount of all legislative and federal inquiries about institutions in WV. Over the years more and more reports have been required by the legislature and federal government and the HEPC has been tasked with providing those. Yet we have been blamed for requiring too much information from our institutions to meet those requirements. Be aware, we worked assiduously over the last few years to reduce the number of legislative required reports and were successful in doing so. Believe it, because I drafted the different pieces of legislation reducing them. If some institutions complain about reporting data ask them for what specific data they complain about and see if we are required to provide it by federal or legislative mandate. If they can’t point out specifics, and previous complaints they made about them that were ignored, then they are just following a useless narrative like blaming the country’s woes on immigration or welfare fraud. 9. The other argument made in support of elimination of the HEPC or any other such body is an alleged overregulation of the institutions. This narrative rapidly devolves when those who complain are asked to detail SPECIFIC rules or regulation affecting their best service to students. We routinely asked that and would not be given any specifics. We asked for requested legislation from the institutions and received nothing ordinarily. In fact, in my time involved with the central office and statewide boards I have seen a constant, unilateral proposal of the elimination of unneeded regulation by Charleston and our statewide boards. When I represented the Board of Regents till 1989 the Board actually had to approve all tenure applications, sabbaticals, student expulsions, etc. With the advent of the two new statewide boards in 1989 many of these rules and regulations were transferred by the statewide boards to the institutions. When the HEPC was established in 2000 we were tasked with determining what to do with all the statewide rules. After a comprehensive study I recommended most of the old statewide rules be eliminated or transferred to the jurisdiction of the new institutional governing boards. The HEPC accepted those recommendations. We continued to offer increased flexibility to institutions in rules in various areas such as faculty. Again, ask those pushing these BRC proposals which specific rules they dislike and whether they asked that they be changed but were denied by Charleston. 10. Until recently the Chancellors had to approve new institutional rules to see if they were contrary to law or the statewide higher education mandate. I was staffed to review each of these proposed rules by institutions and make comments and recommendations whether a Chancellor should approve. I regularly found errors in these proposed rules—-typographical, grammatical, statements of law, formatting, etc. I must emphasize I have found these in rules from EVERY institution and even after their full Board has reviewed and approved them. I understand that each institution has staff support at different levels, different levels of experience, and different levels of understanding of state and federal law. That is why it is important to have a strong central board like the HEPC that can monitor and approve institutional rules. You must realize that no outside monitoring or approval of institutional rules makes these institutions the only state agencies that have no oversight or approval by the Legislature of their rules. All other agencies, including the HEPC, now must have their rules approved by the full Legislature. If the BRC and Legislature want a new fourth branch of government then they should follow the recommendations being made by some that seek to eliminate oversight. 11. There is presently some oversight on tuition and fee increases by the HEPC and CTC. It must be admitted that tuition and fee increases are tax increases on WV parents and students. They have a right to have an independent determination that those increases are necessary and not funding such things as private jets. Every other state agency, Board, or commission must receive legislative approval for tax, license, fee, or premium increases. If the legislature is not going to retain that approval for itself to protect its citizens then it must delegate that to an independent agency like the HEPC free of institutional or regional bias. The students and the affordability and access they have to our institutions must be preeminent and not the building edifices and empires. 12. I do not have much to say about the proposed funding formula that led to WVU having the BRC appointed because I am not a numbers person. I have set in the corner of dozens of meetings over the years where institutions fought over funding and argued they were the most underfunded institution in the state. (I honestly have heard every institution claim that, I believe.) Once I was told that higher education has plenty of money—-it just is spending it on other things. The HEPC put together what seemed like a rational funding formula as required by state code and recent legislation. But do we really know what each institution is spending their funding on? What are their staffing to student ratios and cost per student? There is one recent study that shows some states’ students are being disadvantaged by big public universities that are perceived as party schools and admit more out of state students than instate students. That, in fact, in state students are even better served to go to smaller regional schools. So is that a factor that should be computed in a funding formula? That fascinating study should be read since it specifically references WV. Find it here https://www.jkcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Cooke_Foundation_State_University_No_More.pdf 13. I do believe that instructional cost as a comparison between institutions cannot be left to be measured by the institutions themselves. The simplest and most accurate way to compute actual instructional cost per student is to calculate total expenditures per school in every area—-capital, faculty, staff, administrators, athletics, hospitals—-and then divide by the total number of students. I know people say items like athletics and capital should not be included in total cost but if they do not aid in student education then why are we doing it? How much is the hospital and property acquisition binge costing? If we are doing it then it must be needed for students and so it should be included in instructional cost. It is ridiculous to argue that instructional cost is just for academic affairs. 14. I would have been glad to answer any historical questions by the BRC or give my experience of the mischief institutions can get involved in because there was not a strong central Higher ed office to advise them or tell them “no”. I don’t think much of that was for purposes of self aggrandizement or deliberately unlawful by institutions. But it was almost a weekly practice of advising Chancellors of potential or actual problems at an institution that he or she was then able to ameliorate. Without that ability and oversight it will just be the Wild West and individual fiefdoms. As I write this the website maintained by WVU that set out BRC meeting dates and call in numbers has disappeared. As I understand the Governor’s BRC Executive Order the HEPC was to staff the BRC. However, WVU has unilaterally taken over that function. Thus, I hope the webpage becomes operational again so the public can join in on these issues. Streaming video would even be better. 15. I could write for hours on the subjects involved and relate hundreds of relevant incidents. But this is a start and I hope others detail the mission of the HEPC and who would take on the myriad tasks the HEPC undertakes. The response the HEPC made to the Legislature in 2016 explains in great detail the breadth of responsibility of The HEPC and what would be lost with its demise. I urge you to ask for a copy of it.  

14. 
Date Created: 10/22/2018

Name: Marsha Krotseng  
Comment: 

Dear Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission:  Thank you for your commitment of time and energy to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education.  From the perspective of a regional four-year institution such as Bluefield State, the services provided through the present Higher Education Policy Commission structure are vital and extremely valuable.  I support the structure that currently exists and urge you to deliberate long and hard before recommending any other form to take its place such as a higher education service agency.  I have several concerns about the proposed service agency model and how the service agency would function.  For example, would the cost of services provided be charged back to the institutions?  What would that cost be?  HEPC also serves as the authorization/reauthorization agency for West Virginia’s higher education institutions.  Would the service agency perform that essential role?  According to the Education Commission of the States governance study posted on the BRC website, every state that has a higher education service agency also has another form of governance: either a System Governing Board (AK, DC, PR) or Two or More System Governing Boards and Several Institutional Governing Boards (AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, IA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, WI).  There is no model with a service agency alone.        More importantly, as I listen to the deliberations of the Governance and Finance Subcommittees, I have a very significant concern that needs to be considered before the Commission decides to adopt a service agency model.  That concern is the availability of accurate, consistent, reliable data across all institutions   Much emphasis is being placed on the adoption of a more equitable funding model for the state’s public higher education institutions, and rightfully so.  More equitable funding is sorely needed.  The models that have been proposed will allocate funds to institutions based on various metrics, such as credit hour completion, progress toward degree, and graduation.  Whatever model  - and whatever metrics are used – will only be valid if the data used to arrive at the funding allocation are based on standard definitions and are comparable for every institution.  HEPC staff currently provide this assurance.  Will a service agency have the authority required to review, question, and, if necessary, seek a revision of data provided by the institutions to ensure that comparability and consistency exist before funds are allocated?  Without that impartial assurance and without the ability to require that all data conform to a defined standard, any funding model will be invalid.         The first position I held in West Virginia came about as the result of a situation similar to this.  As I understand it, in early 1991 the Chancellors of the (then) State College and University Systems were given one set of data to present to a legislative committee in the morning, and another set of data was presented later that day.  At that time, the Systems’ Central Office did not have a research office.  In response to that data inconsistency, the legislature passed the Higher Education Report Card legislation. The Central Office created the Division of Research and Information Systems later that year, and I was fortunate enough to be the successful candidate for Director.  Since that time, the Directors and their staff have worked diligently to ensure the integrity of data reported to the Chancellors.  That is as it should be.  Thank you for your service on this important Commission and for giving serious attention to these concerns.  Let’s not have history repeat itself.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  Sincerely, Dr. Marsha V. Krotseng   Marsha V. Krotseng, Ed.D. PRESIDENT Bluefield State College  219 Rock Street  Bluefield, WV  24701 304.327.4030 | (fax) 304.327.4581 REACH NEW HEIGHTS  

15.  Date Created: 10/22/2018

Name: Obi Wan HEPC

Comment: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8RCQDDsMpU 


16. Date Created: 10/24/2018

Name: Bruce Walker

Comment: 

In my previous comments I stated one could not find the meeting page of the BRC. When I went to bookmarked page it said page was missing and I could not mention. Due to the responsiveness of Jay Cole at WVU I learned they had redesigned the website and the meeting data is in another place now that can be located from the BRC website. 

17. Date Created: 10/24/2018

Name: Phillip Cottrill, Ed.D. 

Comment: 

I noticed in the 10-23-2018 press release  regarding funding for small West Virginia colleges that Glenville State College is to receive a pittance of $40,000 of the $10,000,000 proposed supplement.  Glenville State is the only four year college in Central  West Virginia and deserves to be funded on a par with the other West Virginia State Colleges.

18. Date Created: 10/26/2018

Name: Bruce Walker 

Comment: 

I must disagree with some of the narratives offered in support of the elimination of HEPC by some members of the Governance Subcommittee. The first flawed narrative is that institutional board members do not need their decisions reviewed by an independent body and have all the information and data to make their own decisions in every area. First, this narrative depends upon the institutional boards being presented all the relevant data and background to make all the decisions. For instance, here is the link the public has to the agenda for WVU’s Meetings. https://bog.wvu.edu/agendas There are no supporting materials attached to the one page agendas. Other institutions have different levels of access  to board decision materials at other institutions. So, without an independent inquiry, how is it determined whether a board was given accurate enrollment predictions, that a program is self supporting and duplicative? How did the board evaluate the action as effecting any statewide master plan or vision by the Legislature? Are the financing decisions reasonable and supportable? A second flawed narrative is regarding program review and approval. Without an independent body reviewing these proposals how is it determined whether it is duplicative of another institution, contrary to a statewide plan, or intrusion into another institution’s market. Besides, the bogeyman trotted out here does not even exist. WVU and Marshall have almost unfettered authority to offer new programs. The HEPC is to be notified at the inception of the planning on campus for a new program and so that is several months of notice that will allow quick approval by the HEPC upon institutional approval. Besides, WVU and MU only need HEPC approval if a program is to be offered in a new location not already served. So what they are asking here is the authority to go into the backyard of any regional institution and offer programs that are duplicative and see who “ lives or dies”. Another narrative is that only shared services should be within HEPC purview. They forget that the HEPC now has to approve degree programs of all private institutions in the state and has the power to audit both public and private institutions. What would this state had done without such independent audit authority when Supreme Court, flood damage and recovery, and other wasteful spending was discovered. Another narrative is that approving presidential salaries is unnecessary. Chancellor Hill or Tucker can tell you some interesting stories about some contracts offered by boards and the intervention at state level to stop an arms race in salaries or public condemnation for some of the contract provisions suggested. And approval of presidential contracts and raises is one of the few ways to get the attention of presidents that will not provide required institutional data. So, at the very least, to have any kind of governmental oversight over the institutions some independent body has to be able to review proposed policies and rules of institution wide effect, audit institutions, review programs, approve presidential contracts and foster statewide goals established by the Legislature. And per present statute that has never been repealed, but not utilized, make all higher ed appropriations to HEPC for distribution to campuses based on rational and common sense funding formulas and priorities.