(a) The intent of the Legislature in the enactment of this article is to outline and organize the elements of accountability for public higher education into an effective, coherent system to provide guidance to the state institutions of higher education, the commission and the council and to clarify the roles, relationships and responsibilities between and among these entities, the citizens of West Virginia and elected state officials. The main purposes of the accountability system are as follows:
(1) To develop agreement on higher education goals, objectives and priorities through negotiation and consensus-building between elected officials acting on behalf of the citizens of the state and the commission and the council and institutions which receive public funds and provide education services;
(2) To create a seamless education system and hold boards and institutions accountable for meeting state goals and objectives.
(3) To provide a data-driven, step-by-step process to determine the progress of public higher education in addressing established goals, objectives and priorities;
(4) To promote cooperation and collaboration among all entities which are involved in the delivery of public education in West Virginia; and
(5) To provide for generation, collection and dissemination of data on which sound state-level policy decisions can be based. Possible uses of this data include the following:
(A) Identifying institutions and systems that increase quality and productivity; and
(B) Creating a mechanism to target a portion of state appropriations to institutions and systems based on performance in meeting established state goals and objectives.
(b) This article, together with section one-a, article one of this chapter and section four, article one, chapter eighteen of this code, shall be known as and may be cited as Vision 2020: An Education Blueprint for 2020.
(c) By October 1, 2008, the commission and the council shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of section six, article one of this chapter and article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code concerning the accountability system for higher education outlined in this article.
(1) The commission and the council may propose rules jointly or separately and may choose to address all of the accountability system in a single rule or may propose additional rules to cover specific elements.
(2) At a minimum, the rules shall address the respective responsibilities of the various parties, the development of statewide master plans, the process of entering into institutional and state compacts, performance indicators and institution and state-level reporting to ensure that higher education is accountable to the citizens of West Virginia.
(a) General. — For the purposes of this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter, terms have the meaning ascribed to them in section two, article one of this chapter, unless the context in which the term is used clearly requires a different meaning or a specific definition is provided in this section.
(b) Definitions. —
(1) “Accountability system for public higher education” or “accountability system” means all research, reports, documents, data and any other materials, the collection, analysis and dissemination of which are necessary or expedient to accomplish the purposes of this article or section one-a, article one of this chapter. The system includes legislative goals, objectives and priorities; public policy agendas; statewide master plans; state and institutional compacts; implementation plans; institutional mission statements and master plans; and the statewide report card.
(2) “Education partnership to achieve state goals and objectives” or “education partnership” means the formal and informal working relationships established between and among the State of West Virginia, the commission, the council, the State Board of Education and State Department of Education and the state institutions of higher education for the purpose of achieving state goals and objectives.
(3) “Functional literacy rate” means the percentage of adults over the age of seventeen who are able to read beyond a fourth grade level and interpret basic information from sources such as road signs, job applications, newspaper articles and food and medicine labels.
(4) “Goals” means those long-term public purposes which are the desired and expected end result for which public higher education is established.
(5) “Implementation plan” means a document developed within the higher education community that identifies a series of objectives, sets forth performance indicators that can be used to determine if objectives are being achieved, outlines strategies for accomplishing the objectives and identifies benchmarks for evaluating progress in accomplishing the objectives over the life cycle of the plan.
(6) “Institutions under the jurisdiction of the commission” relative to the accountability system established by this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter means Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Shepherd University, West Liberty State College, and West Virginia State University.
(7) “Institutions under the jurisdiction of the council” relative to the accountability system established by this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter means Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, the Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Marshall Community and Technical College, New River Community and Technical College, Pierpont Community and Technical College, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, West Virginia Northern Community and Technical College, West Virginia State Community and Technical College and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
(8) “Net college costs” means the total cost of tuition, room and board minus the amount of financial aid a student receives.
(9) “Objectives” means the ends to be accomplished or attained within a specified period of time for the purpose of meeting the established goals.
(10) “Priority” or “priorities” means the order in which objectives are to be addressed for the purpose of achieving state goals.
(11) “Strategy” or “strategies” means specific activities carried out by public higher education which are directed toward accomplishing specific objectives.
(12) “Statewide master plan” or “system master plan” means a document developed by the council or commission that sets forth system goals, objectives and strategies and is aligned with, but not limited to, meeting state goals, objectives and priorities.
(13) “STEM courses and programs” means curricula leading to a degree or other recognized credential in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study or specialization.
(14) “State compact” means a formal, written agreement between the council and/or the commission and at least one other member of the education partnership to achieve state goals and objectives where significant collaboration and commitment of resources between the parties to the agreement is required in order to achieve the desired results.
(a) The Legislature finds that availability of high-quality post-secondary education is so important to the well-being of the citizens of West Virginia that it is in the best interests of the state to focus attention on areas of particular concern and within those areas to specify objectives and priorities that must be addressed by two thousand twenty. The purpose of these objectives and priorities is to achieve the broad-based goals for public higher education established in section one-a, article one of this chapter. Areas of special concern to the Legislature include economic and workforce development; education access and affordability; innovation; student preparation; degree and/or program completion; intra- and inter-system cooperation and collaboration; research; and teaching and learning.
(1) Economic and workforce development. --
(A) Diversifying and strengthening the economy of the state;
(B) Providing incentives to systems and institutions to focus attention on those courses and programs which create and retain jobs in the state, especially among the emerging high-technology, knowledge-based businesses and industries.
(2) Access and affordability. --
(A) Maintaining geographic access while eliminating unnecessary duplication;
(B) Enhancing education opportunities for the widest range of state citizens:
(i) By establishing tuition and fee levels for in-state students that do not inhibit access to public education nor cause students to incur excessive debt. This is particularly important in West Virginia where about two-thirds of all students attending college are enrolled in public higher education institutions and where families devote a very large share of their incomes to pay the cost of education. The share of costs paid by families remains very high even after adjusting for the impact of financial aid; and
(ii) By establishing tuition and fee rates for out-of-state students at levels which, at a minimum, cover the full cost of instruction unless doing so is inconsistent with a clearly delineated public policy goal established by the Legislature, the commission or the council.
(iii) Innovation. -- Devise innovative programs, delivery modes, partnerships, research initiatives, curricula and pedagogy to achieve the needs of the state and its citizens and carry out the mission and objectives of the state institutions of higher education. Methods include aligning entrepreneurial efforts, research and partnerships with established state goals.
(iv) Student preparation. -- Ensure that potential students are academically prepared for college and that graduates are adequately prepared for careers or further education.
(V) Degree and/or program completion. -- Despite significant improvement over the past decade, fewer than twenty percent of state residents hold a bachelor's degree. This shortage of highly educated, highly qualified workers substantially limits the state's ability to compete in the knowledge-based economy.
(vi) Collaboration and cooperation. -- Deliver education services to the extent possible through collaboration, coordination and brokering, with particular emphasis on the need for a seamless relationship between public and post-secondary education.
(vii) Research. -- Develop a greater research capacity within public higher education to enhance West Virginia in the eyes of the larger economic and education community, develop greater specialized expertise in high technology and policy fields, create more employment opportunities within the state and provide a basis for improved capacity to compete in the new economy through research focused on meeting state needs.
(viii) Teaching and learning. -- Develop admission and exit standards for students and emphasize professional staff development, program assessment and evaluation and other incentives to improve teaching and learning. Ensure access to stable and continuing graduate-level programs in every region of the state, particularly in STEM subject areas and teacher education related to teaching within a subject area to improve teacher quality.
(b) Vision 2020: Objectives for public higher education. -- In view of the findings outlined in subsection (a) of this section, the Legislature hereby establishes the following objectives to be addressed as highest priorities beginning on the effective date of this article through development of compacts and/or implementation plans between and among members of the education partnership as provided in subsection (e), section one-a, article one of this chapter. The following is the legislative vision for the years two thousand eight through two thousand twenty:
(1) Objective. -- Develop a state-level facilities plan and funding mechanism to reduce the obligation of students and parents to bear the cost of higher education capital projects and facilities maintenance.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) West Virginia is one of the very few states in the nation which does not address higher education capital project and facilities maintenance needs through a statewide plan.
(ii) The burden of paying for capital projects and deferred maintenance is placed on students and their families through collection of capital fees at the institution level and contributes significantly to the poor grade West Virginia receives each year in the category of "Affordability" on "Measuring Up: The National Report Card on Higher Education".
(iii) Net college costs for low- and lower middle-income students to attend state community and technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities average approximately forty-five percent of their annual family income.
(iv) The high cost of capital fees contributes directly to the amount of debt incurred by students during their college years and the necessity to repay student loans severely limits career choices and areas of residence after graduation.
(B) Expected outcomes. -- Success in meeting this goal can be measured in part by benchmarks which include the following:
(i) Development by the council and commission of a compact with elected state officials to fund a significant portion of higher education capital project needs from dedicated state revenues;
(ii) Development by the council and commission of a system to establish priorities for institution capital projects in a manner that is consistent with state public policy goals for higher education;
(iii) Implementation of facilities maintenance plans by institutions to ensure that maintenance needs are not deferred inappropriately;
(iv) Efficient use of existing classroom and other space by institutions:
(I) New capital funding is applied effectively to projects at institutions that have a demonstrated need for new facilities and major renovations; and
(II) The cost of operating and maintaining the facilities and physical plants of institutions are appropriate for the size and mission of the institution; and
(v) Capital and facilities maintenance planning that gives careful consideration to the recommendations arising from the study mandated by section nine, article fourteen of this chapter.
(2) Objective. -- Increase academic rigor and improve learning at higher education institutions.
(A) Problem statement. -- West Virginia has made significant progress on certain indicators within the category of student learning, but lags far behind national and regional averages on others.
(i) The state compares very well in workforce preparation as reflected in professional licensure examinations, ranking among the top five states in the country. More West Virginia graduates take these examinations than is typical nationally and the passage rate is at the national average.
(ii) The state also ranks well above the national average passage rate on the state teacher's examination when compared to other states; however, there is serious cause for concern when the state is compared to the national benchmark in preparing students for graduate study.
(I) West Virginia ranks more than fifty percentage points below the national average in preparing students to take and pass graduate admissions examinations.
(II) Fewer West Virginia graduates take these examinations than is typical nationally and the proportion earning competitive scores is only about seventy-five percent of the national average.
(B) Expected outcomes. -- Success in meeting this goal can be measured in part by benchmarks which include the following:
(i) State institutions of higher education develop or use existing nationally normed assessments of student learning outcomes. Data generated through these assessments are analyzed and the results applied by the institutions to improve the quality of undergraduate general education programs; and
(ii) Implementation plans at the system and institution levels are developed to improve student preparation for graduate study and to expand graduate and professional education, where appropriate.
(3) Objective. -- Increase the percentage of entering students who persist to receive a degree, a certificate or an industry-recognized credential.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) This goal is particularly important to West Virginia where only about one person in five holds an associate degree or higher.
(ii) The lack of a well-trained workforce is reflected in the most recent score of forty-one received by the state on the nationally recognized New Economy Index which measures the extent to which a state is prepared to participate in knowledge-based industries. This low score places the state well below the national benchmark of sixty on the index.
(iii) State institutions of higher education have placed a greater emphasis on student recruitment than on student retention and completion. This strategy alone cannot be successful in meeting state needs for the following reasons:
(I) The number of state high school graduates is expected to decline over the next several years; therefore, institutions must improve their performance in retaining the students who enroll.
(II) West Virginia is among the leading states in the percentage of first-year students at community colleges who return for their second year and large percentages of freshmen at four-year colleges and universities return for their sophomore year; however, when compared with other states, only a small percentage of these students actually persist to earn a bachelor's degree or associate degree within six years.
(III) The state performs poorly on international comparisons of enrolled students who complete certificates or degrees, trailing behind other industrialized and even some third world nations.
(IV) While the state college-going rate has improved, most state institutions have made only marginal progress over the past decade in increasing the percentage of students who persist to obtain a degree or certificate.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) Enhanced quality of life for West Virginians, including increased level of per capita income; and
(ii) Increased economic development opportunities by expanding existing high-technology and knowledge-based businesses and industries and attracting new ones which demand highly qualified professionals.
(4) Objective. -- State institutions of higher education, particularly community and technical colleges, make maximum effort to recruit and retain adults twenty-five years old or over.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) The percentage of West Virginia's working-age adults enrolled part-time in college-level education or training is very low and the state has experienced one of the largest declines in the nation on this measure over the past twelve years.
(ii) A large part of preparing workers for the 21st Century and for a high-quality style of life hinges upon providing opportunity for adults to acquire a series of skill sets in addition to obtaining a degree or other credential.
(iii) A major focus for community and technical colleges is upon providing programs to upgrade employee skills through obtaining industry credentials. Currently, however, only certificate program degrees (one-year) and associate degrees (two-year) are counted for funding purposes even though other types of credentials often are as important in meeting workforce development goals as providing degree programs.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) Provide programs of interest to nontraditional students, including those that afford them the opportunity to obtain certificates and credentials, enhance career development and acquire new skill sets;
(ii) Develop a high-visibility marketing program which makes adults aware of the opportunities available to them and assists them in entering or reentering the learning environment;
(iii) Provide for lower cost tuition and fee rates, particularly at the community and technical colleges, and/or greater access to financial aid for adult full- and part-time students.
(iv) Develop open admissions policies which provide opportunities for adults to participate in public post-secondary education beginning at any level of preparedness. Most working-age adults cannot or will not "go back to high school" in order to prepare themselves to participate in higher education.
(v) Tailor institutional policies to meet the needs of adults, recognizing that these individuals have responsibilities that are different from those of traditional-aged college students. High on this list of needs are flexible class schedules to accommodate work obligations and waiving dorm residency requirements.
(5) Objective. -- Provide incentives to state institutions of higher education to encourage emphasis on STEM courses and programs leading to degrees in the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to encourage collaboration with public education to stimulate interest and prepare students to succeed in these fields.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) STEM courses often are more expensive to deliver than traditional programs; therefore, institutions may be reluctant to start or expand programs in these areas because of anticipated cost;
(ii) Institutions have difficulty recruiting and retaining faculty members in STEM areas because of competition from surrounding states and other market forces;
(iii) There is insufficient communication between STEM teachers in public education, STEM faculty in higher education and professionals employed in STEM-related careers such as engineering;
(iv) Many students have not taken sufficiently rigorous high school courses to allow them to succeed in post-secondary STEM courses and programs. A large percentage of students enrolled in higher education STEM programs either withdraw from the institution or change majors within the first year; and
(v) The transition from high school to college is difficult for many high school students who lack a family role model to provide guidance relevant to the higher education experience.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) Increased capacity for high quality instruction across public higher education;
(ii) Increased student access to high quality undergraduate and graduate research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
(iii) Enhanced economic development opportunities through increased numbers of highly-qualified professionals available to business and industry;
(iv) Development of a consistent and effective forum for communication among STEM faculty in public and higher education and relevant professional communities to address the continuing needs of students, educators and industry;
(v) Increased percentage of high school students who have access to and take advantage of rigorous STEM courses;
(vi) Alignment of STEM curricula between public and higher education;
(vii) Development of a finance formula that gives greater weight to courses taken in high-cost disciplines and/or those that are critical to the state economy; and
(viii) Creation of a STEM coordinator position within the faculty of each state institution of higher education to provide outreach to secondary schools, to mentor freshman students and to collaborate with coordinators at other institutions. Because of the size of the student body, the two research universities may need to create coordinator positions specific to certain high-demand STEM disciplines such as engineering and computer science.
(6) Objective. -- Develop a stable funding stream for state institutions of higher education to pay for essential programs which are expensive to deliver, are in high demand and/or are critical to the state's capacity to replace an aging workforce as employees retire. This objective has a particular impact on community and technical colleges which deliver high-cost technical programs.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) An educated and technically skilled workforce is vital to the state's ability to be competitive in the global marketplace. Currently, West Virginia's employers must struggle to find a sufficient number of highly qualified workers to fill the jobs they have available; and
(ii) The majority of technical occupations require the delivery of equipment-intensive, high-cost programs that state institutions of higher education, especially community and technical colleges, lack the capacity to provide.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) State institutions delivering community and technical college education focus on expanding and/or implementing technical programs to meet the needs of high-demand, high-wage occupations;
(ii) Funding priorities for community and technical colleges focus on developing and maintaining high-cost technical programs;
(iii) Creation of a strategy to fund the replacement, upgrading and purchase of equipment to implement and/or maintain technical education programs; and
(iv) Support critical, noncredit programming by incorporating the number of contact hours delivered into a formula to distribute funding to community and technical colleges.
(7) Objective. -- Develop a mechanism to assure uniform delivery of community and technical college education for all regions of the state.
(A) Problem statement. -- The average education attainment rate in West Virginia lags eleven percent behind the national average in part because delivering education programs to the state's adult, place-bound and rural populations presents significant challenges.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) All state citizens have access to a minimum of two years of college education regardless of their place of residence within the state.
(ii) The state institutions increase the innovative use of technology and distance education to provide general and technical education access in sparsely populated rural areas.
(iii) Creation of a seamless education system and uniform transfer of credits with special attention to transfers between community and technical colleges and four-year institutions;
(iv) Appropriate use of adjunct faculty; and
(v) Where feasible, use of facilities in public schools, technical centers and other public facilities as classroom space.
(8) Objective. -- Develop greater research capacity throughout public higher education, with a special focus on the state's two doctoral degree-granting universities.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) West Virginia ranks near the bottom among all states in the amount of federal and privately funded sponsored research it receives. Historically, only the National Science Foundation's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR) has focused on building research capacity in the state, but if West Virginia is to benefit from the increased economic opportunity, better jobs and higher standard of living associated with more STEM professionals in the population, the state must invest more to build its research capacity; and
(ii) Low research capacity results in low levels of intellectual property creation, patenting and licensing of commercial property.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) Partnering between and among higher education institutions in West Virginia and between state institutions and larger, resource-rich higher education institutions outside the state;
(ii) Developing an institutional and/or statewide research niche and focusing resources on research that contributes most to meeting state needs;
(iii) Leveraging scarce resources to make steady, targeted investments in research in niche areas where the state can be a real player at a competitive level;
(iv) Developing specific research expertise within the two state doctoral degree-granting universities to generate and analyze data to provide policy recommendations. The areas of focus include funding strategies for higher education, demographic trends and methods to determine and meet workforce development needs by anticipating job creation and credential requirements;
(v) Improving communication among the research branches of higher education institutions, including identification of mutually complementary areas of interest to increase funding opportunities and collaboration on intellectual property issues; and
(vi) Focusing on economic development through commercial applications of research and recruitment of new research faculty members for this purpose.
(9) Objective. -- Increase the percentage of functionally literate adults in each region of the state.
(A) Problem statement. --
(i) The literacy attainment of a population is defined at its most basic level as the percentage of those individuals over the age of fifteen who can read and write, but such a definition does not address the realities of the 21st Century. The National Literacy Act of 1991 and the National Workforce Investment Act of 1998 both define literacy more broadly as "an individual's ability to read, write, speak in English, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual and in society".
Approximately twenty percent of the adult population in West Virginia cannot meet this definition of functional literacy. One adult out of every five in the state lacks the basic literacy skills needed to succeed at work, to enter the learning environment of post-secondary education, to acquire advanced occupational training or to participate in preparing his or her own children to learn.
(ii) The high rate of illiteracy in West Virginia not only handicaps adults in seeking employment and achieving their goals for their own quality of life, but also has serious implications for the future of their children and for the state.
There is a direct, positive correlation between the reading scores of children and the education level of their parents. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) has concluded that youngsters whose parents are functionally illiterate are twice as likely to become functionally illiterate adults.
(iii) When the level of functional illiteracy in West Virginia is compared to the requirements for high-demand occupations, the negative consequences for the economy of the state become obvious. The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) established a scale of five levels which is used extensively to measure the literacy attainment of adults. When this scale was used to compare the literacy requirements of projected high-growth occupations with those in declining occupations such as certain types of manufacturing, researchers found that level three literacy is required for the new jobs, while level two is sufficient for the jobs in the declining occupations. Therefore, workers displaced from jobs in declining occupations as well as those seeking to enter or reenter the work place must possess literacy skills a full level higher than those required for workers only a few years ago. Documents such as manuals outlining standard operating procedures, health and safety manuals, leave forms and retirement options that they encounter daily require a level of literacy well above level two.
(iv) A highly skilled and literate work force is essential to the success of state businesses and industry. A ten percent increase in the average education of all workers, equivalent to approximately one additional year of schooling, is associated with an increase of about nine percent in the productivity of that labor force. Additionally, workers who lack literacy skills cannot provide the data and feedback that companies need to make informed business decisions. A company whose employees cannot record reliable production data cannot assess its performance from year to year or determine how well it is meeting its long range goals and objectives.
(v) The rate of functional illiteracy in West Virginia also has a direct impact on the health of state citizens. Residents with low literacy skills have difficulty in many health areas including the following:
(I) Understanding the correct way to take medication, interpret test results or perform simple self-testing such as taking temperatures or checking blood glucose levels;
(II) Understanding and following directions given by physicians or the written instructions provided with prescription or over-the-counter medication for themselves or for their children;
(III) Reading and understanding information on food labels and other nutrition information to make sound decisions necessary to establish and maintain healthy lifestyles; and
(IV) Furnishing correct information in emergencies to medical providers about illnesses, surgeries and medications or understanding how to fill out insurance forms and other health-related documents.
(B) Expected outcomes. --
(i) Develop greater access and capacity to deliver literacy and remedial education, workforce development training and other higher education services to place-bound adults primarily through the community and technical colleges;
(ii) Increase the percentage of the working age population who participate in higher education, either full or part time;
(iii) Establish a statewide mechanism to collect data to provide a baseline for measuring progress toward meeting the goal of functional literacy for all working-age adults and to serve as a framework for setting priorities, identifying gaps in service and targeting services to key populations, industries, economic sectors and geographic areas;
(iv) Develop programs that include, at a minimum, the following:
(I) Learning opportunities within a real-life context, such as workplace and family literacy programs;
(II) Recognition of the diversity of individual abilities, skill levels, circumstances and life goals; and
(III) Strategies to access, promote and accommodate a variety of instructional methods and learning styles.
(v) Develop a culture committed to life-long learning by creating literacy-rich environments wherever people live and work that are capable of influencing changes in individual behavior; and
(vi) Create partnerships among schools, employers, workers, governments and communities to achieve these objectives and mechanisms to collect, interpret and disseminate data to assist policymakers in determining the appropriate level of resources essential to support lifelong learning systems.
(a) It is the responsibility of the commission, in cooperation with the council, to develop, oversee and advance the public policy agenda mandated by section four, article one-b of this chapter to address the goals and objectives established pursuant to this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter, including, but not limited to, aligning state and institutional compacts, master plans, implementation plans and institutional missions for institutions of higher education except the exempted schools with state goals and objectives to accomplish the purposes of this article.
(b) It is the responsibility of the council, in cooperation with the commission when applicable, to develop, oversee and advance the public policy agenda mandated by section six, article two-b of this chapter to address the goals and objectives established pursuant to this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter, including, but not limited to, aligning state and institutional compacts, master plans, implementation plans and institutional missions with state goals and objectives to accomplish the purposes of this article.
(c) It is further the responsibility of the commission and council to collect the data, for institutions of higher education including the exempted schools, assemble it in the appropriate format and transmit all reports and any other essential documents as needed to fulfill the purposes of this article. Each report shall contain a brief, concise executive summary and shall include trends and recommendations in text format. Recommendations shall be ranked by order of importance and shall be supported by objective data available elsewhere in the report. In addition to those specifically mandated by this chapter or chapter eighteen-c of this code, reporting responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Ensuring that data systems collect the essential information state-level policymakers’ need to answer key policy questions to fulfill the purposes of the accountability system established pursuant to this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter;
(2) Collaborating with public education to establish policies to link existing pre-K, K-12, higher education and teacher data systems to enable tracking of student progress and teacher performance over time; and
(3) Ensuring that reports provide data analyses to determine if students entering the public higher education systems are prepared for post-secondary education and if students obtaining degrees, certificates or other credentials are prepared to pursue careers or to continue their education.
(d) It is the responsibility of public institutions of higher education except the exempted schools to report to the commission or the council, as appropriate, on plans, accomplishments and recommendations to implement the goals and objectives contained in the institutional and state compacts.
(a) The commission and the council each shall develop a master plan for public higher education that is closely aligned with the goals and objectives of this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter as they relate to the missions of institutions under their respective jurisdictions.
(b) The authority of the commission and the council, respectively, related to developing and implementing statewide master plans is subject to the following conditions:
(1) The master plans shall be established for periods of not more than five years.
(2) The master plans in place on the effective date of this article continue in effect until the end of the five-year planning cycle unless amended or rescinded by the commission or council, respectively, pursuant to this article.
(3) Any new master plan proposed by the commission or council shall be communicated to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and may not be adopted or implemented without the approval of that body;
(4) The commission and council each shall perform a comprehensive review of its master plan at least annually and shall revise it periodically as appropriate to meet state goals and objectives.
(5) The commission and the council each shall review the progress of its higher education system in meeting the goals and objectives of the master plan and report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability, with detailed recommendations for amending the plan, by January 1, 2009, and annually thereafter.
(6) At the end of each five-year planning cycle and as an integral part of the preparation of a new master plan, the commission and the council, respectively, shall prepare and submit to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability a comprehensive report containing at least the following:
(A) A detailed, data-based analysis of the progress of the system and the institutions within the system toward meeting each goal and objective included in the current plan; and
(B) A strategy for using this data as a basis for developing the master plan for the next planning cycle.
(c) The master plan shall include a detailed set of system objectives designed to meet the state goals and objectives outlined in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) A well-developed analysis of missions, degree offerings, resource requirements, physical plant needs, personnel needs, enrollment levels and other planning determinants and projections for public higher education and other matters necessary in such a plan to assure that the needs of the state for a quality system of higher education are addressed; and
(B) A strategy for cooperation and collaboration with the state Board of Education and State Department of Education, state institutions of higher education, the counterpart state coordinating board and other relevant education providers to assure that a comprehensive and seamless system of education is developed and implemented for West Virginia.
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that members of the education partnership to achieve state goals and objectives engage in developing state compacts between and among themselves for the purpose of enhancing the well-being of the citizens of West Virginia. Such a compact constitutes a formal contract and focuses on the goals and objectives established pursuant to this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter. A compact is called for when achievement of specific goals or objectives requires significant collaboration and commitment of resources by more than one member of the partnership.
(b) The rules to be proposed relating to state compacts pursuant to subsection (c), section one of this article shall include, but are not limited to, the following components:
(1) A procedure to determine when a state compact is necessary or desirable;
(2) A procedure for determining the identity of parties to the compact and for establishing compact terms:
(A) Parties to the compact may be any two or more members of the education partnership to achieve state goals and objectives who are positioned to make significant contributions to meeting compact objectives; and
(B) The terms of the compact shall focus on achievement of objectives. The expected outcomes shall be stated in concrete terms that are measurable.
(3) A mechanism for negotiating agreement on compact objectives. The mechanism shall provide for negotiation and development of consensus among the parties and must be reasonable in its operation and outcomes expectations;
(4) A procedure for creating and consolidating commitment between and among parties to the compact. Most state compacts will extend over multiple years and will require that negotiation between education partners and elected state officials take into account the constraints of the political process and the limits on available resources; and
(5) A process for periodic review, assessment and reporting of progress toward meeting the compact objectives. The rule shall provide for objective analysis and reporting to the compact partners and to the elected officials of the state.
(c) In addition to authorizing the commission and the council to enter into state compacts pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage them strongly to develop implementation plans together with other members of the public higher education community to achieve system and institutional goals and objectives which are consistent with and supportive of the goals and objectives established in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter.
(1) At a minimum, each implementation plan shall contain the following elements:
(A) Identification of the goal and the objectives to be achieved;
(B) Identification of the parties to the implementation plan and a process for developing consensus among the parties;
(C) A needs assessment or other mechanism to determine current status of the proposed objectives, including a survey of available resources and other data relevant to achieving the objectives;
(D) Identification of challenges or barriers to meeting objectives;
(E) Delineation of tasks to be performed;
(F) A specific time line for meeting objectives;
(G) An evaluation process administered periodically to determine progress in meeting the objectives during the life span of the plan; and
(H) A method for determining success in achieving the objectives following the closing date established by the time line.
(2) Implementation plans are internal documents developed among members of the public higher education community and are not subject to an external approval process.
(a) The Legislature finds that West Virginia long has recognized the value of education and, on a per capita income basis, ranks very high among the states in its investment to support public education. The Legislature further finds that a combination of state and national demographic and economic factors as well as significant changes in methods of course and program delivery compel both the state and public higher education to create a process that will strengthen institutional capacity to provide the services so valued by the citizens of the state and so essential to promoting economic vitality.
(b) Therefore, each state college or university except the exempted schools, shall prepare an institutional compact for submission to the commission and each community and technical college shall prepare an institutional compact for submission to the council. When the process herein provided is completed, the resulting institutional compact shall contain at a minimum the following basic components:
(1) Institutional strategies for focusing resources on meeting the goals and objectives set forth in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter; and
(2) Commission or council strategies for promoting and supporting the institution in fulfilling its mission and objectives, to make it more competitive with its peers and to ensure the continuity of academic programs and services to its students.
(c) In addition to the basic contract components described in subsection (b) of this section, each compact shall contain at least the following elements:
(1) A determination of the mission of the institution which specifically addresses changes necessary or expedient to accomplish the goals and objectives articulated by the state and the appropriate statewide master plan;
(2) A detailed statement of how the compact is aligned with and will be implemented in conjunction with the master plan of the institution;
(3) A comprehensive assessment of education needs within the institution’s geographic area of responsibility;
(4) A strategy to ensure access to comprehensive community and technical college and workforce development services within each respective region of the state consistent with the mission of the institution;
(5) Provision for collaboration and brokering of education services as necessary or expedient to carry out the institutional mission and meet its objectives;
(6) Provision of student services at the optimum level to support the institutional mission and to achieve state goals and objectives;
(7) Strategies for using existing infrastructure and resources within each region, where feasible, to increase student access while controlling costs and maintaining academic quality; and
(8) Other public policy objectives or initiatives adopted by the commission or council pursuant to the intent and purposes of this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter.
(d) Each institutional compact shall be updated bi-annually and shall follow the same general guidelines contained in this section.
(e) Development and updating of the institutional compacts is subject to the following conditions:
(1) The ultimate responsibility for developing and updating the compacts at the institutional level resides with the board of advisors or the board of governors, as appropriate. It is the responsibility of the commission or council to provide technical assistance as requested and to assist the institution, with the exception of the exempted schools, in development of the strategies to promote and support the institution pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;
(2) The commission and the council each shall establish a date by which institutions, with the exception of the exempted schools, under their respective jurisdictions shall submit their compacts to the commission or council pursuant to the provisions of this article. The date established by each state-level coordinating board shall apply uniformly to all institutions under the jurisdiction of that coordinating board and shall meet the following additional conditions:
(A) Allow sufficient time for careful analysis of the compacts by the central office staff and for review by members of the commission or the council, as appropriate; and
(B) Allow sufficient time for the institutions to make necessary revisions to the compacts as provided in this section.
(3) The commission shall review each compact from the institutions under its jurisdiction and either confirm the compact or return it with specific comments for change or improvement. The council shall review each compact from the institutions under its jurisdiction and either adopt the compact or return it with specific comments for change or improvement. The commission and council, respectively, shall continue this process as long as each considers advisable;
(4) By May 1 bi-annually, if the institutional compact of any institution as presented by that institution is not confirmed by the commission or adopted by the council, then the commission or council is empowered and directed to develop and adopt the institutional compact for the institution and the institution is bound by the compact so adopted; and
(5) As far as practicable, the commission and council each shall establish uniform processes and forms for the development and submission of the institutional compacts by the institutions under their respective jurisdictions, taking into consideration the differences in institutional missions and objectives. As a part of this function, the commission and council each shall organize the statements of legislative goals and objectives contained in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter in a manner that facilitates the purposes therein.
(f) Assignment of geographic areas of responsibility. -–
(1) The commission shall assign geographic areas of responsibility to the state institutions of higher education under its jurisdiction, except for the exempted schools. For institutions other than the exempted schools, the geographic areas of responsibility are made a part of their institutional compacts to ensure that all areas of the state are provided necessary programs and services to achieve state goals and objectives. The commission and the council each shall develop data-based measures to determine the extent to which institutions, with the exception of the exempted schools, under their respective jurisdictions are providing higher education services aligned with state goals and objectives and institutional missions within their geographic areas of responsibility. This information shall be reported in the statewide report card established pursuant to section eight of this article.
(2) The council shall assign geographic areas of responsibility to the state institutions of higher education under its jurisdiction, including the administratively linked institution known as Marshall Community and Technical College, the administratively linked institution known as the Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology and the regional campus known as West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
(3) The geographic areas of responsibility for the state institutions of higher education known as West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Marshall University and West Virginia University are assigned by the Legislature.
(4) The benchmarks established in the institutional compacts include measures of programs and services by geographic area throughout the assigned geographic area of responsibility.
(g) The compacts shall contain benchmarks to be used to determine progress toward meeting the objectives established in the compacts. The benchmarks shall meet the following criteria:
(1) They shall be objective;
(2) They shall be directly linked to the objectives in the compacts;
(3) They shall be measured by the indicators described in subsection (h) of this section; and
(4) Where applicable, they shall be used to measure progress in geographic areas of responsibility.
(h) The rules required by subsection (c), section one of this article shall include indicators which measure the degree to which the goals and objectives set forth in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter are being met by the institutions under the jurisdiction of the commission and the council, respectively.
(1) The rules pertaining to benchmarks and indicators in effect for the commission and the council on the effective date of this section remain in effect for the institutions under their respective jurisdictions until amended, modified, repealed or replaced by the commission or the council, respectively, pursuant to the provisions of this article, section six, article one of this chapter and article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(2) The rules shall set forth at least the following as pertains to all state institutions of higher education, except the exempted schools:
(A) The indicators used to measure the degree to which the goals and objectives are being met;
(B) Uniform definitions for the various data elements to be used in establishing the indicators;
(C) Guidelines for the collection and reporting of data; and
(D) Sufficient detail within the benchmarks and indicators to provide the following information:
(i) Measurable evidence that the pursuits of the institution are focused on the education needs of the citizens of the state and are aligned with the objectives of the institutional compacts and statewide master plans;
(ii) Delineation of the objectives and benchmarks for an institution so that the commission or council can precisely measure the degree to which progress is being made toward achieving the goals and objectives provided in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter: Provided, That the commission has no authority regarding the objectives and benchmarks for exempted schools; and
(iii) Identification of specific objectives within the master plan or compact of an institution that are not being met or toward which sufficient progress is not being made.
(3) In addition to any other requirement, the rule established by the council shall set forth at least the following as pertains to community and technical college education:
(A) Benchmarks and indicators which are targeted to identify the following:
(i) The degree to which progress is being made by institutions toward meeting state goals and objectives and the essential conditions for community and technical college education pursuant to section three, article three-c of this chapter;
(ii) Information and data necessary to be considered by the council in making the determination required by section three, article two-c of this chapter; and
(B) Sufficient detail within the benchmarks and indicators to provide clear evidence to support an objective determination by the council that an institution’s progress toward achieving state goals and objectives and the essential conditions for community and technical college education is so deficient that implementation of the provisions of section four, article two-c of this chapter is warranted and necessary.
(i) The commission shall confirm the compacts developed for the institutions under its jurisdiction, with the exception of the exempted schools, by the boards of governors or the boards of advisors pursuant to this section and consistent with the powers and duties prescribed in section four, article two-a of this chapter and section one, article six of this chapter.
(ii) The council shall approve the compacts developed for the institutions under its jurisdiction, by the boards of governors or the boards of advisors pursuant to this section and consistent with the powers and duties prescribed in section four, article two-a of this chapter and section one, article six of this chapter.
(a) The purpose of the institutional and statewide report cards is to make information available to parents, students, faculty, staff, state policymakers and the general public on the quality and performance of public higher education. The focus of the report cards is to determine annual progress of the commission, the council and institutions under their respective jurisdictions toward achieving state goals and objectives identified in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter and system goals and objectives contained in the statewide master plans of the commission and council created pursuant to section five of this article.
(b) The information contained in the report cards shall be consistent and comparable between and among state institutions of higher education. If applicable, the information shall allow for easy comparison with higher education-related data collected and disseminated by the Southern Regional Education Board, the United States Department of Education and other education data-gathering and data-disseminating organizations upon which state policymakers frequently rely in setting policy.
(c) The rules required by subsection (c), section one of this article shall provide for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information on the performance of the state institutions of higher education, including health sciences education, in relation to the findings, goals and objectives set forth in this article and section one-a, article one of this chapter and those contained in the statewide master plans of the commission and council developed pursuant to section five of this article.
(1) The objective of this portion of the rule is to ensure that the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and others identified in subsection (a) of this section are provided with full and accurate information while minimizing the institutional burden of recordkeeping and reporting.
(2) This portion of the rule shall identify various indicators of student and institutional performance that, at a minimum, must be reported annually, set forth general guidelines for the collection and reporting of data and provide for the preparation, printing and distribution of report cards under this section.
(d) The report cards shall be analysis-driven, rather than simply data-driven, and shall present information in a format that can inform education policymaking. They shall include an executive summary which outlines significant trends, identifies major areas of concern and discusses progress toward meeting state and system goals and objectives. They shall be brief and concise, reporting required information in nontechnical language. Any technical or supporting material to be included shall be contained in a separate appendix.
(e) The statewide report card shall include the data for each separately listed, applicable indicator identified in the rule promulgated pursuant to subsection (c) of this section and the aggregate of the data for all public institutions of higher education.
(f) The statewide report card shall be prepared using actual institutional, state, regional and national data, as applicable and available, indicating the present performance of the individual institutions, the governing boards and the state systems of higher education. Statewide report cards shall be based upon information for the current school year or for the most recent school year for which the information is available, in which case the year shall be clearly noted.
(g) The president or chief executive officer of each state institution of higher education shall prepare and submit annually all requested data to the commission at the times established by the commission.
(h) The higher education central office staff, under the direction of the Vice Chancellor for Administration, shall provide technical assistance to each institution and governing board in data collection and reporting and is responsible for assembling the statewide report card from information submitted by each governing board.
(i) The statewide report card shall be completed and disseminated with copies to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability prior to January 1 of each year and the staff of the commission and the council shall prepare a report highlighting specifically the trends, progress toward meeting goals and objectives and major areas of concern for public higher education, including medical education, for presentation to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability at the interim meetings in January, 2009, and annually thereafter.
(j) For a reasonable fee, the Vice Chancellor for Administration shall make copies of the report cards, including any appendices of supporting material, available to any individual requesting them.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code to the contrary, the following statutorily mandated reports are not required to be prepared and submitted annually to the Legislature but this information and data previously contained therein shall be combined with other reports in a manner that reduces the cost and increases the efficacy of those reports. This includes:
(1) All personnel, classification, compensation and human resources reports set out in section four, article one-b of this chapter, section six, article two-b of this chapter and article nine-a of this chapter;
(2) All capital appropriation requests, priorities and campus and state capital development plans set out in section four, article one-b of this chapter, section six, article two-b of this chapter and article nineteen of this chapter;
(3) All academic related matters and reports including those detailing institutional reauthorization at section seven, article four of this chapter; training of institutional Boards of Governors set out in section nine, article one-d of this chapter and section one, article ten of this chapter dealing with institutional compliance with tuition and fee increases;
(4) All financial aid reports including PROMISE, HEAPS, the Higher Education Grant Program, the Nursing Scholarship Program, the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program and others set out in chapter eighteen-c of this code.
(b) In order to create more efficiency, reporting deadlines of statutorily or rule mandated reports may be altered, as needed by the Commission without a statutory or rule-making change,: Provided, That the reports are always provided within any given calendar year.
(a) The commission and council, either jointly or separately, shall coordinate periodic training and development opportunities for members of the commission, council and institutional governing boards as provided in this section.
The training and development shall address the following topics:
(1) State goals, objectives and priorities for higher education;
(2) The accountability system for higher education set forth in this article;
(3) The general powers and duties of members; and
(4) Ethical considerations arising from board membership.
(b) Training and development is required as follows:
(1) A member newly appointed to the commission, council or a governing board shall complete three hours of training and development by the end of the first fiscal year of service if the appointment is made in the first half of a fiscal year. If the appointment is made in the second half of a fiscal year the member shall complete three hours of training and development by the end of the first half of the second fiscal year.
(2) With the exception of the ex officio members of the commission and the council and the student member of a governing board, each member shall complete at least six hours of training and development related to his or her duties within two fiscal years of beginning service and within every two fiscal years of service thereafter.
(c) Annually, by July 31, the chair of the commission, council and each governing board shall certify to the commission or council, as appropriate, the number of hours of training and development that each member received during the preceding fiscal year.
(d) If the certification indicates that a board member has not completed the training and development required by this section, the commission or council, as appropriate, shall send a notice to the affected board member, and to the Governor and the Secretary of State or to the institutional appointing entity that the board member is disqualified from continued service notwithstanding the provisions of sections five and six, article six, chapter six of this code. The commission or council, as appropriate, shall request the Governor or appointing entity to appoint a replacement for that board member.
(e) Annually, by September 30, the commission and council shall report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on the training and development that members of the commission and council and the governing boards under their respective jurisdictions have received during the preceding fiscal year. This information shall be included in the institutional and statewide report cards provided in section eight of this article.
(f) As used in this section, "member" means all members of the commission, council and the governing boards unless a specific exception is provided in this section.
(a) The intent of the Legislature in enacting this section is to direct the commission, council and State Board of Education to enter into a state compact, consistent with the provisions of section six of this article, on or before July 1, 2009, to develop and maintain a longitudinal education data system and to share educational information.
(b) The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Sound data collection, reporting and analysis are critical to building an education system capable of ensuring that all West Virginia students are adequately prepared for college and the global workforce. Elementary schools, middle schools, secondary schools and higher education institutions can improve instructional and educational decision-making using data that are collected and made available to them.
(2) State education policymaking benefits from partnerships between state education agencies and entities with expertise in education research. It is beneficial for West Virginia to establish systems and processes that permit qualified researchers to assist with state evaluation and research functions in a manner that is consistent with privacy protection laws.
(3) West Virginia is committed to establishing and maintaining a longitudinal student unit record data system that educators and policymakers can use to analyze and assess student progress beginning with early learning programs and continuing through post-secondary education and into employment. The commission, council and State Board of Education have designed, built and deployed some of the fundamental components of a longitudinal data system and have engaged in extensive efforts to link and use available education data effectively. Now, it is necessary to integrate and manage the various education data components in a cooperative manner to establish a data-driven, decision-making environment for this state's education system.
(4) Students will achieve improved learning outcomes because of the longitudinal data system established through the state compact mandated by this section.
(6) State use and management of education data shall be in accordance with all legal requirements protecting student privacy and shall protect personal information from intentional or accidental release to unauthorized persons and from intentional or accidental use for unauthorized purposes.
(1) "Longitudinal data system" means a student unit record data system that links student records beginning with early learning programs and continuing through post-secondary education, entry into the workforce and beyond. The system may consist of separate student unit record systems integrated through agreement and data transfer mechanisms.
(2) "Privacy protection laws" means the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and any other state or federal laws relating to the confidentiality and protection of personally identifiable information.
(3) "Research organization" means a governmental entity, institution of higher education, public policy organization or other person or entity conducting educational research that meets the following conditions:
(i) Qualified to perform educational research and protect the privacy of student data;
(ii) Seeks to perform research for a noncommercial purpose authorized by privacy protection laws; and
(iii) Agrees to perform the research pursuant to a written agreement meeting the requirements of privacy protection laws and best research practices.
(d) The state data-sharing compact entered into by the commission, council and State Board of Education shall contain the following:
(1) A plan to establish and maintain a longitudinal data system that links early learning, elementary, middle and secondary school student unit records with higher education institution student unit records;
(2) A plan to establish a data warehouse that integrates data from multiple student unit record systems and supports all of the uses and functions of the longitudinal data system;
(3) A list of areas for collaborative research and a preliminary plan for conducting that research;
(4) A system for entering into data sharing arrangements with each other and with research organizations consistent with subsection (f) of this section; and
(5) A provision that allows another party to the compact to review any draft report or study generated using that party's data at least ten days before the report or study is released publicly. During that ten day period, each party shall be given the opportunity to submit comments regarding the accuracy, conclusions and recommendations of the report or study.
(e) To facilitate implementation of the requirements of this section:
(1) The commission, council and State Board of Education are authorized to disclose data to the longitudinal data system and to each other consistent with the purposes of this section;
(2) With the assistance of the state Board of Education, the commission, council and state institutions of higher education shall collect the state Board of Education's unique identifier for all students who have attended public schools in West Virginia to facilitate better matching of student unit record data.
(3) The commission, council and State Board of Education shall collect, use, maintain, disclose and share data in accordance with personal privacy laws and shall develop security measures and procedures that protect personal information from intentional or accidental release to unauthorized persons and from intentional or accidental use for unauthorized purposes.
(f) A data sharing arrangement entered into with a research organization pursuant to this section shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Permitted by and undertaken in accordance with privacy protection laws;
(2) Receives prior approval from the state Superintendent of Schools or designee, the Chancellor for Higher Education or designee, and the Chancellor for Community and Technical College Education or designee, as appropriate, if data from that entity are being utilized in the research;
(3) Prohibits the personal identification of any person by individuals other than authorized representatives of the research organization who have legitimate interests in the information;
(4) Ensures the destruction or return of the data when no longer needed for the authorized purposes under the data sharing arrangement;
(5) Performed pursuant to a written agreement with the research organization that does the following:
(A) Specifies the purpose, scope and duration of the data sharing arrangement;
(B) Requires the recipient of the data to use personally identifiable information from education records only to meet the purpose or purposes of the data sharing arrangement stated in the written agreement;
(C) Describes specific data access, use and security restrictions that the recipient will undertake; and
(D) Contains such other terms and provisions as the commission, council and State Board of Education, as appropriate, consider necessary or appropriate.
(g) As a condition of participating in state-level financial aid programs provided for in chapter eighteen-c of this code, the commission may require nonpublic institutions of higher education to provide data for the longitudinal data system and data warehouse.