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Key committees consider importance of higher education to economic recovery

17 Feb 2011 2:46 PM | Deleted user

This week two key legislative committees heard testimony on the importance of higher education to Nevada's economic recovery.

In testimony yesterday (Wedesday February 16) to the Senate Select Committee on Employment and Economic Growth, UNLV Professor Robert Lang, director of the Brookings Mountain West Institute spoke about the role of higher education in fostering economic development. Among many important points, he said something in passing that is worth repeating. Although Nevada has a larger population than Utah, Utah has twice the number of faculty at public universities than Nevada. (In addition, of course, Utah has a large faculty at Brigham Young University).

This means that Nevada has many fewer experts contributing to the development of intellectual property than does Utah (and many other states). This also means we have many fewer upper division and graduate level classes in various areas to offer our students, and thus, our state produces fewer highly trained workers.

Our state’s failure to invest in higher education, even compared to other regional competitors such as Utah, has had negative implications for economic development in Nevada.

Also on Wednesday, a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly Education committees heard testimony on the Millenium Scholarship program from NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich, who also responded to questions about the prospect of a declaration of financial exigency at UNLV.

Moreover, the joint committees heard an excellent, detailed presentation from NSHE student leaders, led by Kyle George, President of UNLV Graduate & Professional Student Association. The presentation is available on the NFA website. Click here to read it.

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