New College: Senate bill starts process

February 2, 2006

Bulletin Staff Writer

A bill aimed at creating the New College Institute will be presented this morning to members of the Health and Education Committee, according to State Sen. Roscoe Reynolds, D-Ridgeway.

Reynolds said the presentation of Senate Bill 40 to the 14 committee members is slated to begin at 8 a.m. in Senate Room B.

SB 40 proposes establishing a new college in "the areas of Martinsville and Henry County" that is charged with expanding educational opportunities in the region by providing access to degree-granting programs, according to the bill.

Proposed programs include undergraduate, graduate and professional programs through partnerships with private and public institutions of higher education, public schools and the public and private sectors.

The new college also would seek "to diversify the region's economy by engaging the resources of other institutions of higher education, public and private bodies and organizations of the state and region and providing a site for the development of technology and trained workforce necessary for new economic enterprises to flourish," according to the bill.

The institute will be governed by a 12- to 15-member board of directors appointed by the governor and consisting of the chief executives or their designees of at least three public institutions of higher education, the chief executive officer or designees of at least one private institution of higher education and at least three residents of the region, according to the bill.

"The board shall have all powers given to corporations under Virginia law and the power to execute (and) administer any trust in which it may have an interest under the terms of the trust agreement," the bill stated.

The board also would be charged with overseeing the educational programs of the new college "and shall have the authority to enter into and administer agreements with institutions of higher education to provide continuing education, instruction programs and degree programs at (the) New College," according to the bill.

In addition to working to secure the $4.5 million earmarked by Gov. Mark Warner in his proposed budget for the institute, legislators must also convince their counterparts in other areas that the new college will benefit the state.

Last month, a four-member Senate Higher Education Subcommittee unanimously voted to favorably report the college's enabling bill.


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