Leaders from The University of Toledo, Owens Community College and Toledo Public Schools agreed to a first step in their effort to translate a spirit of collaboration into concrete action at a joint meeting of the three institutions’ boards June 19.
Representatives from each school will begin working on an application for funds to University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises to identify those areas of study that most challenge college students, and work to establish a foundation in middle and high school to begin a coordinated learning process for traditionally difficult subjects. UT Innovation Enterprises is a separate, 501(c)(3) organization created to help spur economic development efforts.
Toledo School Board President Steve Steel provided an example of the most recent evaluation of chemistry textbooks by a TPS committee as evidence of the need for reform. Steel said TPS textbook selection processes needed to consider not just what students need to learn in high school, but what types of foundational knowledge will be needed to ensure students’ success in college chemistry courses.
UT Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stansley said it was important to note that extensive collaboration already exists between UT, Owens and TPS faculty and staff. The goal of increased collaboration at the board level, he said, was to make sure institutional and bureaucratic barriers don’t get in the way of partnerships between institutions.
“We all have obligations and loyalties to our individual institutions,” Stansley said. “However, because of the importance of education in our society, we also have a larger responsibility to our community and our region to make sure we are using our collective resources to the maximum advantage for the community.”
UT President Lloyd Jacobs encouraged board members to begin identifying achievable goals within the larger framework of increased collaboration and set timelines for those efforts.
“I believe identifying and working to create more seamless transitions for students in traditionally difficult subjects is an important first step toward the larger goal of convincing more students to pursue and complete a college degree,” Jacobs said.
Board members agreed to a six-week timeframe for developing the application to UT Innovation Enterprises and plan to hold the next joint meeting in September.