Cowgill speaks on ‘Double the Numbers’ initiative to group of CU and community leaders

By Linda Waggener, assistant director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Brad Cowgill, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), visited the campus of Campbellsville University on Wednesday, Dec. 19, as part of CPE’s “double the numbers” initiative.

Cowgill spoke to a gathering of CU senior administrative and academic leaders along with a group of community leaders on the mission of the Council on Postsecondary Education and its core mission of working to advance educational attainment in Kentucky.

One of the core goals of HB 1, enacted by the General Assembly in 1997 and generally recognized as a piece of landmark education leading to the formation of CPE, is to double the number of college graduates in Kentucky by the year 2020. The “double the numbers” initiative of CPE is geared toward making that goal a reality by 2020.

CU President Michael Carter welcomed the group and summarized the highlights of the fall 2007 semester at CU. He talked of CU’s commitment to, and experience in, regional stewardship and how private independent universities are able to move quickly to respond to needs of the community and region.

Carter said, “Although Campbellsville University is a private independent university, its mission is to serve the public agenda of providing quality higher education and regional stewardship. Campbellsville University enjoys a very close working relationship with our community including the political, civic, and business leadership of the community and region.”

He further summarized how CU works closely with area school systems, discussed the 40 academic offerings provided by CU at the baccalaureate level and ten master’s degree programs.

Carter noted the presence of community leaders such as Taylor County Judge- Executive Eddie Rogers; Team Taylor County Executive Director Ron McMahan; and Team Taylor County Chair and local bank president Mark Johnson. He noted that Mayor Brenda Allen sent her regrets at having to attend another meeting.

Cowgill commended Carter and Campbellsville University for her exemplary role in regional stewardship and economic development. He noted that one of Kentucky’s challenges is creating sufficient job opportunities for college graduates to be able to stay in Kentucky and said that, “Campbellsville University’s role in the ‘Campbellsville Comeback’ is a model for all of Kentucky. CU is a leader in the more comprehensive sense of regional stewardship, with engagement in a number of initiatives in the community and region.”

Cowgill said that private colleges and universities are centers of “innovation, high touch, high service to each individual student.” Affordability remains a challenge of higher education in Kentucky, and schools like CU are pouring “millions of dollars of its resources in providing scholarships and financial aid to students coming from first generation college students and those in financial need.”

He further stated that CPE recognizes the vital role of Kentucky’s independent college sector, and that CU’s leadership in partnership with public sector educational institutions is another example of innovation and positive return on investment from the state’s perspective.

While he was at CU, Cowgill was a guest on Dialogue on Public Issues hosted by John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.

The interview will be aired on TV-4/Cable 10 in January.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.