- Associated Press - Monday, July 12, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A new higher-education reform commission appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell is focusing on improving education in Virginia.

The Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment held its first meeting Monday at the Chesterfield County campus of John Tyler Community College. The 45-member panel is seeking ways to improve higher education, including increasing the number of degree recipients and ensuring college access and affordability.

“It is abundantly clear that higher education is a powerful engine of economic growth and produces one of the highest returns on investment of any public or private program,” Mr. McDonnell said at the meeting. “And the states and countries with the best trained work forces are the magnets for business investment, job creation and economic growth.”

The panel’s work also includes developing partnerships for research and economic development.

Mr. McDonnell established the commission by executive order in March.

He named presidents of eight Virginia colleges and universities as well as Republican lawmakers and corporate officials to the commission. Thomas Farrell, CEO of Dominion Resources Inc., is chairing the commission. Del. Kirk Cox, a Colonial Heights Republican, is the vice chairman.


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