Gov. Gavin Newsom creates council to coordinate CA higher education system

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As an effort to address critical issues in higher education, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday the reestablishment of the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, or CPEC, a committee composed of leaders from across the education system and state government. 

Newsom created the council after identifying a need to create connectivity across the various institutions that comprise California’s higher education systems, according to the governor in a press release. The council will include partners from across the California education system, including UC President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities President Kristen Soares, according to the press release. 

“The University of California looks forward to strong, continued collaboration with Gov. Newsom and the state … as we strive to make higher education more affordable and accessible,” Napolitano said in a statement Friday.

The council will advise Newsom on issues related to enrollment, growth of colleges’ student bodies, coordination on the regional and statewide levels and the community college transfer process. 

In addition to this council, Newsom has recruited various advocates and stakeholders to advise him on student access and affordability issues.

“To develop best practices and help our students reach their full potential, we need to work together across institutions,” Newsom said in the press release. “I look forward to working with our state’s higher education leaders to set bold statewide goals and partnering together to achieve them.” 

The creation of this new council comes after the dissolution of the first CPEC by former governor Jerry Brown in 2011. The establishment of a coordinating body was ordered in the 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education, but the council itself was criticized as ineffective after implementation. 

As a result of difficulty in coordination across the education segments, former governor Gray Davis made a proposal to cut most of the council’s funding in 2002. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger later proposed eliminating the council altogether in 2005. 

With the re-creation of this coordinating body, Napolitano said, Newsom demonstrates “a clear passion for higher education and consistent advocacy for California students.” 

“Today (Newsom) took this strong commitment yet a step further with the formation of the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, which will not only yield dedicated analysis and expertise on the most pressing issues surrounding higher education, but also serve as a catalyst for targeted action and solutions to benefit all Californians,” Napolitano said in the press release. 

Contact Sasha Langholz at [email protected].