(2) The following persons shall serve as ex-officio nonvoting members on the commission: (A) The president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development and the Labor Commissioner, or their designees; (B) the chairpersons of the boards of trustees and the chief executive officers of each constituent unit of the state system of higher education, or their designees; (C) the chairperson of the board and president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, or their designees; (D) the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement; and (E) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee.
(3) The commission shall elect a chairperson at its first meeting. Any vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority. The term of each appointed member of the commission shall be three years from the date of appointment. The commission members shall serve without compensation except for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The commission may seek the advice and participation of any person, organization or state or federal agency it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. The commission may, within available appropriations, retain consultants to assist in carrying out its duties. The commission may receive funds from any public or private sources to carry out its activities.
(b) In accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 10a-6, as amended by this act, the commission shall develop and ensure the implementation of a strategic master plan that:
(1) Examines the impact of demographic, workforce and education trends on higher education in the state;
(2) (A) Establishes numerical goals for 2015 and 2020 to increase the number of people earning a bachelor's degree, associate degree or certificate, increases the number of people successfully completing coursework at the community college level and the number of people entering the state's workforce and eliminates the postsecondary achievement gap between minority students and the general student population, and (B) includes specific strategies for meeting such goals, as well as strategies for meeting the goals pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 10a-6, as amended by this act;
(3) Examines and recommends changes to funding policies, practices and accountability in order to (A) align policies and practices with the goals set forth in subsection (b) of section 10a-6, as amended by this act, including an evaluation of the use of strategic and performance-based incentive funding; (B) determine how the constituent units shall annually report to the General Assembly and the public in a transparent and thorough manner regarding each constituent unit's expenditures, staffing and state support, including the state appropriation, personnel expenses, personnel fringe benefits, capital improvement bonds and financial aid to students; and (C) improve coordination of appropriation, tuition and financial aid and seek ways to maximize funding through federal and private grants; and
(4) Recommends ways in which each constituent unit of the state system of higher education and independent institution of higher education in the state can, in a manner consistent with such institution's mission, expand such institution's role in advancing the state's economic growth.
(c) In developing the strategic master plan, the commission shall review the plans pursuant to sections 10a-6, as amended by this act, and 10a-11. In addition, the commission may consider the following: (1) Establishing incentives for institutional performance and productivity; (2) increasing financial aid incentive programs, especially in workforce shortage areas and for minority students; (3) implementing mandatory college preparatory curricula in high schools and aligning such curricula with curricula in institutions of higher education; (4) seeking partnerships with the business community and public institutions of higher education to serve the needs of workforce retraining that may include bridge programs in which businesses work directly with higher education institutions to move students into identified workforce shortage areas; (5) establishing collaborative partnerships between public high schools and institutions of higher education; (6) implementing programs in high school to assist high school students seeking a college track or alternative pathways for post-secondary education, such as vocational and technical opportunities; (7) developing policies to promote and measure retention and graduation rates of students, including graduation rates for students who have transferred among two or more constituent units or public institutions of higher education; (8) addressing the educational needs of minority students and nontraditional students, including, but not limited to, part-time students, incumbent workers, adult learners, former inmates and immigrants, in order to increase enrollment and retention in institutions of higher education; and (9) addressing the affordability of tuition at institutions of higher education and the issue of increased student indebtedness.
(d) Not later than June 1, 2014, the commission shall submit a preliminary report on the development of the strategic master plan and, not later than September 1, 2014, the commission shall submit the strategic master plan, including specific goals and benchmarks for the years ending 2020 and 2025, together with any recommendations for appropriate legislation and funding to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement, education, commerce, labor and appropriations, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a.
(e) Not later than January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, the commission shall submit a report to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement, education, commerce, labor and appropriations, in accordance with section 11-4a, on the implementation of the plan and progress made toward achieving the goals specified in the plan. The commission may periodically suggest changes to the goals as necessary.
(f) Not later than January 1, 2016, for purposes of implementing the strategic master plan pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the commission, in collaboration with the Office of Policy and Management, shall establish working groups and consult with any existing working groups, commissions or task forces that may investigate and offer guidance on specific objectives identified by the commission or the office, including, but not limited to, outcomes-based financing and workforce development, the examination of which by the commission are essential to achieving the goals specified in the plan.
Approved June 24, 2015