2005-2008 goals and priorities

Mission Statement

The mission of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education is to provide an excellent, efficient, accessible and affordable system of higher education designed to improve the overall educational attainment of Rhode Islanders and thereby enrich the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the state, its residents, and its communities.

Higher Education and the Future of Rhode Island

The mission statement for Rhode Island's system of higher education demonstrates the linkage between a quality system of higher education and the quality of life and economic vitality of the state and the nation. In fact, that linkage has never been clearer. A recent report entitled “Cracks in the Educational Pipeline: A Business Leader’s Guide to Higher Education Reform” provides the national context:

The United States has long been a leader in the global economy. But without improvements to our educational system, we are in danger of losing our preeminent position to nations with better academically prepared youth, whose rapidly increasing rates of college participation and graduation already outpace our own.

At the state level, the relationship between a highly educated work force and the strength of the state's economy are also clearer now than at anytime in the nation's history. Today, states with the highest percentage of college graduates have the highest median family incomes and the most robust tax bases. And for Rhode Island, the global economy has driven our economy to move from an emphasis on manufacturing, to service, and finally to today’s knowledge-based economy. A recent report by the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council (EPC) entitled "Meeting the Challenge of the New Economy" states: "In the new economy, knowledgeable workers are the single most important factor to production. Rhode Island needs to be more innovative, not only in the development of new products, processes and services, but also in the adoption of existing technology and diffusion of knowledge. In these areas higher education institutions are the linchpins and the conclusion is obvious: the ability of Rhode Island to flourish in the new economy is inextricably linked to higher education.”

The clear link between a highly educated population and the quality of life and economic development prospects of our nation and our state set the context that is intended to drive RIBGHE's priorities from 2005-2008 and beyond. According to the 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 35.3% of the Rhode Island labor force possesses a bachelor’s degree or higher, up slightly from 34.7% in 2000. In contrast, the leading state ( Massachusetts ) has a labor force baccalaureate attainment rate of 44.2%. Rhode Island ranks 13th nationally, and 5th in New England on this measure.

Statement of the Major Goal

Improve Rhode Island's educational attainment to that of leading states by 2015 to ensure that Rhode Island's residents possess the skills and knowledge required to thrive in an information-age, knowledge-based economy.


To support and make progress toward achieving this goal, the Board of Governors for Higher Education reaffirms the following priorities for 2005-2008:

Preparation -- Improve the preparation of Rhode Island 's residents to succeed in higher education through PreK-16/20 collaboration.

The following proposed strategies and actions are designed to continue to advance the priority on preparation over the next three years.

Strategies and Actions

Key Questions

Addressing key questions will help assess whether we are making progress in advancing each priority.

Key Indicators

These indicators are designed to address the question: “How will we know if we are making progress?”

Participation -- Improve participation and graduation rates in higher education.

The following proposed strategies and actions are designed to advance the priority on participation.

Strategies and Actions

Key questions

Key Indicators

Competitive Workforce - Produce a more competitive workforce through emphasis on quality education.

The following proposed strategies and actions are designed to advance the priority on competitive workforce.

Strategies and Actions

Key Questions

Key Indicators


Economic Development and Social Well-Being - Promote economic development and social well-being through undergraduate and graduate education, research, public service and use of technology.

The following proposed strategies and actions are designed to advance the priority on Economic Development and Social Well-Being.

Strategies and Actions

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Key Questions

Key Indicators



Achieving progress in advancing each priority and improving overall educational attainment will be supported by the use of three major tools.

                   Provide evidence to address key questions

                   Assure the quality of programs and services

                   Assess whether progress is being made toward achieving the major goal and each priority.








Last updated November 1, 2005