Miller Center

Media Contact: Howard Witt, 434-924-6051

Front and Center: Critical Choices for Higher Education

A Report Developed by the Miller Center and the Association of Governing Boards (AGB)

Read 2011 Report
May 2011 Press Release
Watch Conference Video
View Report Publicity
Read Participant Bios

Read 2008 report

America is at a crossroads. In a time of economic upheaval both nationally and at the state level, we are not helping younger people in this country prepare themselves to become members of a skilled workforce that can compete effectively in a global economy. What happens at universities matters. Educational institutions are integral to our states, communities and the fabric of our societies since they allow us to realize our intellectual capacity, advance our society, and remain competitive in the world.

Despite a challenging economic climate and a changing student population, colleges and universities must identify ways in which to deliver their valuable product in new, innovative, and effective ways—even with dwindling financial resources.

In December 2010, the Miller Center hosted a conference where an invited group of governors, state legislators, business leaders, and higher education leaders met to discuss how to maximize higher education’s contributions to the American economy.  The sponsoring institutions included the Miller Center, AGB, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  This report and the recommendations herein were developed by the Miller Center and AGB.

They are the result of careful deliberation. They are intended to identify realistic and implementable solutions that will increase output in a time of dwindling resources and result in improved education attainment and performance for our citizens.  State, federal and institutional policy affecting public higher education must be reexamined to encourage the following:

  1. Promote—and reward—institutional changes that increase the number of persons who successfully complete higher education degree and certificate programs.
  2. Reconsider the federal role in higher education.
  3. Create an environment at the state level that will give institutions reasons to pursue the public agenda.
  4. Leadership: helping the colleges and universities do the work that needs to be done.

This is an important project and one that we hope will result in strong interest and bold action to restore and improve our nation’s higher education systems.  

With the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act taking place in 2013, it is an especially propitious time to reexamine the basic roles of the federal government and states and define a new, evolving role for higher education in our society.

Click here to view the full 2010 report, or here to view the 2008 report.

Session 1 paper:
A New Funding Paradigm for Higher Education

Session 2 paper:
Defining Attainment and Policy Responses to Improve Performance

Session 3 papers:
Improving Cost-Effectiveness: Leadership Challenges for Public Higher Education
Metrics for Efficiency and Effectiveness in Higher Education: Completing the Completion Agenda

Click here to view the full agenda of the 2010 Higher Education Conference.

Download May 2011 press release.

For more information, please contact:

Heather Mullins Crislip
Staff Director

Juliana Bush
Policy and Planning Coordinator