February 28, 2013

President McKinney appointed to State and National Boards

VALDOSTA –Since his arrival eight months ago, Valdosta State University President William J. McKinney has been appointed to several national and state boards including the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Presidents’ Trust for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), Georgia Chamber of Commerce's Education and Workforce Development Committee, and the Georgia Council on Economic Education.

As a member of the AAC&U President’s Trust for LEAP, McKinney joins educational leaders from across the nation to build on the signature strengths of a liberal education. These strengths include broad knowledge, strong intellectual skills, and an examination of personal and social responsibilities. McKinney is the first and currently the only University System of Georgia president represented on the board.

“There is a link between educating a workforce and educating for citizenship,” McKinney said. “At Valdosta State our graduates are prepared professionally and as responsible citizens.”

A firm believer of the value of a liberal education, McKinney has been actively involved with the AAC&U since 1994. In 2011, he represented the State of Indiana in the AAC&U’s Quality Collaboratives Project. This collaborative, funded by the Lumina Foundation, seeks to refocus the national higher education dialogue on matters of quality and student learning outcomes by reemphasizing the centrality of faculty and liberal learning.

In November, McKinney was selected to serve on the CAEL board of trustees to address the educational needs of adults. As a member of the CAEL board, McKinney serves on its Policy and Innovation Committee and works with educational leaders to find creative solutions to contemporary educational challenges.

Part of the educational challenge is producing more college graduates to meet the current and future workforce demands of the state. In 2012, Valdosta State University identified several initiatives to increase the number of Georgia citizens with a college degree. As part of the statewide Complete College Georgia plan, VSU is working with institutions in both the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia to add more than 250,000 post-secondary graduates to the Georgia workforce by 2020.

“There are not enough people with baccalaureate degrees to fill existing and future jobs within Georgia,” said McKinney. “The goal of 250,000 more graduates will be accomplished at schools like Valdosta State, those that are committed to developing innovative programs that better serve the needs of all college students.”

As a member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Education and Workforce Development Committee McKinney will collaborate with business leaders, chamber representatives, and state officials to help enhance educational efforts with the needs of Georgia’s workforce.

“It is very important that educators and employers work together,” said McKinney, a member of the Georgia Council on Economic Education board of trustees. “Workforce is important to our mission, and we must never lose sight of the fact that we also play a vital role in educating responsible citizens.

As a major economic contributor throughout the region and across the state, Valdosta State University is preparing students for their economic roles as workers, consumers, and productive citizens.

McKinney is working to bring a high level of engagement between the university and the local community. One area of demonstrated community engagement is McKinney’s goal for VSU to receive the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement distinction. The classification demonstrates an institution’s collaboration and engagement within its larger communities at the local, regional, state, national and international levels.

This year Valdosta State also became a charter member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce Chairman Circle. As longtime members of the chamber, the opportunity to join other top corporate citizens and institutions within the region was one of McKinney’s top priorities.

“There is a certain responsibility that Valdosta State has as a public university,” McKinney said. “As a major employer we automaticaly have a large economic impact and a responsibility to help promote further economic development and growth."