Governor Tom Corbett today announced the formation of a panel to study how to make higher education accessible and affordable to the students and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.
"We need to open the discussion about how best to finance higher education in this state,'' Corbett said in his budget address. "We need to have a thorough, public and candid conversation about how best to deal with the spiraling costs and our own obligations.
"To get that discussion started, I am creating a panel on post-secondary education to study our system and to make recommendations on how universities can best serve the students and citizens of this new century,'' Corbett said.
The panel will be led by Rob Wonderling, former state senator and the current president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
One of the panel's main objectives is to develop a long-term strategy for higher education with regard to the changing and future demands of Pennsylvania's economy and jobs. The panel will be reviewing programs and policies in education, to ensure educational options for students align with workforce needs.
Another goal is to examine how to make higher education affordable and available for students, as well as fair to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. The panel has been asked to identify key critical issues and to review current policies, procedures, regulations and legislation that impacts postsecondary education in Pennsylvania. In addition, the panel is to evaluate trends in education, including the role of technology, and how higher education can increase collaboration with the private sector and government.
Corbett asked the panel to submit its findings to him by Nov. 15. Wonderling, 50, of Montgomery County, served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under former Gov. Tom Ridge.
A graduate of Allegheny College with a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wonderling also served on the Public School Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees.
Wonderling served as co-chair to the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and the Life Science Caucus, which addresses policy issues important to biotechnology and life science industry.
The following is a list of other panel members:
Donald G. Block, executive director, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council;
Frank F. Britt, CEO, Penn Foster;
Lucien Calhoun, president, Calhoun Baker Inc.
John C. Cavanaugh, chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education;
William G. Durden, president, Dickinson College;
Gerald C. Eckert, vice president, Millersville University;
Rodney A. Erickson, president, Penn State University;
Don L. Francis, president, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities;
Kathleen A. Gallagher, attorney, Eckert Seamans;
Michael George, president and CEO, QVC Inc.;
Davie Jane Gilmour, president, Pennsylvania College of Technology;
William E. Griscom, president, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology;
Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania;
L. Jill Hans, Deputy Secretary of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education;
Ann Weaver Hart, president, Temple University;
Robert R. Jennings, president, Lincoln University;
Alex Johnson, president, Community College of Allegheny County;
Michael A. MacDowell, president, Misericordia University;
Suzanne S. Mayes, attorney, Cozen O'Connor;
Constance E. Nichols, education professor, Grove City College;
Mark A. Nordenberg, chancellor, University of Pittsburgh;
Rita D. Perez, director of human capital management, Allentown School District;
Guido M. Pichini, board chair, PA State System of Higher Education;
James Preston, president, PA Higher Education Assistance Agency;
Sara St. Peter, student, Allegheny College;
Karen Winner Sed, CEO, Winner International;
Ronald Simms, owner/operator, Mountain Production;
Alan Todd, chairman, Corporate University Xchange;
Larry Wittig, chairman of the state Board of Education.
Members of the panel are not compensated for their participation.