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Report 90-12: The Dynamics of Postsecondary Expansion in the 1990s: Report of the Executive Director, Kenneth B. O'Brien, March 5, 1990

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

March 1990

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In this report to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Kenneth B. O'Brien -- the Commission's executive director -- summarizes the major demographic and political forces that will likely affect the shape of higher education leadership in California during the 1990s.

On pages 1-3, he discusses the implications of increased enrollment pressures on educational equity, geographic access, and competition among the segments for new campuses.

On pages 3-6, he analyzes the State's political climate and prospects for State support of growth, with particular emphasis on California's economy, the State budget, and the vulnerability to revenue shortfalls of the University of California and the California State University.

On pages 7-8, he identifies four major challenges to the State's postsecondary leaders -- (1) insulating institutions from political uncertainty; (2) building a decision-making process to manage the politics of growth; (3) maintaining quality and dynamism within steady-state; and (4) improving productivity.

On pages 8-9, he concludes that "the decade of the 1990s will be a dynamic and important one for higher education in California. The decisions that are made during this decade will significantly affect both the size and type of institutions that this State will have in place for the next several decades. The quality of leadership -- both at the campus, the system, and the State level -- is critical to the success of this agenda. With the right leadership, institutions can be strengthened, and their ability to respond to the changing needs of future populations improved. Although the task of competing for State funds will not be easy, with prudent management and planning, the resources can be found. With capable leadership, some vision, and -- frankly -- some luck, the system of higher education in California that will be available to today's children has every promise of being as diverse, excellent, and exciting as the one that has made California the great State that it is today.

The Commission discussed this report at its meeting on March 5, 1990.

Related Topics: Enrollment Demand and Capacity Analysis | Commission Operations

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