PDT Staff Writer
Make no mistake about it, John Carey is one man who knows exactly what his priorities are when his feet hit the ground running Monday as the new Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. Ohio Governor John Kasich made the appointment Tuesday afternoon, as first reported by the Daily Times.
“Part of my task, given to me by the governor, is to work very closely with the state School Superintendent, and one of the first issues I know we will be working on is dual enrollment,” Carey said. “It hasn’t worked very well in Ohio. It has worked well in some spots, but generally it has not worked well, and we have to find a way to give our students in high school the opportunity to take college courses, so they can have an entrance into college, or if they want to go to a vocational school, or whatever they want to pursue, we need to give them the opportunity. Some kids aren’t ready for it yet. They’re not ready until they get here (speaking from his office at Shawnee State University). But we need to do a better job of letting them know that it is available.”
Will the future be dominated by Post Secondary education by nearly every high school student?
“I don’t think dominated is the right word,” Carey said. “What I would like to see is that the opportunity is there and the students and the parents know about it. And if they are in the position to take advantage of it, that they are able to do so.”
Carey said the Board of Regents is going to have to work with their primary and secondary education partners to assure that Post Secondary activity does not interfere with a student’s high school life.
“So they will still be able to be in the band or on the football team, that they are still part of the school community, and this is just another resource that they will have,” Carey said.
Carey said coming to Shawnee State University as Assistant to the President for Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives has been key to leading him to the challenge ahead.
“I wouldn’t have been in the position to take this job without working for President (Rita Rice) Morris, and working with the faculty and staff and the students at Shawnee State and working in the community,” Carey said. “It has been a great experience, and I have learned a lot about higher education. I still have a lot to learn.”
Morris had high praise for Carey.
“This is great news for higher education throughout Ohio,” Morris said. “John has made great strides at Shawnee State in the areas of enhancing our role in economic development and supporting our mission of open access for all students. He has a clear understanding of the issues faced by our parents, students, institutions, government leaders and businesses. We all benefit from having someone like him leading our efforts throughout the state. We appreciate all that he has done for us and we look forward to continuing to work with him as Chancellor.”
Carey said the Board of Regents will have a meeting on Monday, so he will have to jump right in and be involved on Day 1 of his new job.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team at the Board of Regents, and trying to move forward what we have started here at Shawnee State,” Carey said. “We started an internship and co-op advisory committee here and they are really working with regional employers to meet their needs, and to have faculty go out and talk to manufacturing plants and to other types of businesses. (Former Scioto County Commissioner) Tom Reiser is doing a lot of that for us, so we can fill the job needs right here.”
Carey said it is the same across the state.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for jobs. We still have a high unemployment rate, so I think that’s the biggest challenge that we’re going to tackle, trying to make sure that people are aware of the opportunities,” Carey said. “And that we provide the education for them if they choose to pursue them.”
How much will influences such as those from the vocational (career technical) education field that offers specific training for specific corporation needs play in Ohio’s education future?
“Vocational education is very important,” Carey said. “A lot of the jobs that are available are for people that are going through vocational education, and they want to take the next step. I think associate degrees and certificates will be more important, and vocational schools are going to play a huge roll in that.”
Carey said he would not be looking for things to impose, but instead, to look for ways education officials can do their jobs better at every level.
“We have to eliminate the barriers that we have working with all levels of education, whether it be primary through secondary, to higher education,” Carey said.
News of Carey’s appointment was warmly received this week.
“Gov. Kasich has chosen wisely in selecting experienced state policymaker John Carey to be Ohio’s next Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents,” Ohio State University President E. Gordan Gee said. “As the rare lawmaker to serve as both House and Senate Finance Committee chair, John Carey was instrumental in guiding Ohio through tough but fair state budgets for nearly two decades. A native son of southern Ohio, he understands well that all Ohioans deserve the opportunity for a high-quality education. Having left the legislature to work closely with Shawnee State, our new chancellor understands our universities as well as our Statehouse. I look forward to partnering with him as we work toward our shared goal of making Ohio’s system of higher education the finest in the country.”
As chancellor, Carey will be charged with leading the University System of Ohio - the largest comprehensive system of public education in the United States.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.