The Commission follows six major goals in carrying out its compact mission. They are: to enhance productivity through reductions in administrative costs; to encourage student access, completion and affordability; to facilitate public policy analysis and information exchange; to facilitate regional academic cooperation and services; to promote quality educational programs; and, to encourage innovation in the delivery of educational services.
The Commission relies upon the grassroots involvement of higher education to develop and implement its programs. All initiatives supported by the Commission are overseen by appointed volunteer committees of practicing professionals from colleges, universities and state agencies located in member states. The committee members are identified through peer nominations and selected for their expertise in specific program areas.
The Commission is grateful to the more than 300 representatives of Midwestern colleges, universities and leadership organizations who serve on its program committees and oversee each of the MHEC initiatives. Their efforts have produced significant benefits for Midwestern higher education and the students it serves. To date, over 400 institutions and agencies have participated in MHEC programs.
The Keys to MHEC's Success
In each of its program initiatives, MHEC has fostered regional cooperation to create new opportunities and benefits for Midwestern higher education. To attribute the success of these programs solely to regional cooperation, however, would ignore several other important parts of the picture. What are MHEC's other keys to making these programs work?
First and foremost, the Commission relies upon voluntary leadership from all sectors of Midwestern higher education to develop and oversee its programs. Each committee appointed by the Commission assumes intellectual ownership of the program initiative for which it was established. The Commission serves as a neutral convenor/facilitator, and also provides the resources necessary to support the committees and their work. Representatives of public and private Midwestern colleges, universities, community colleges, technical colleges and educational leadership organizations serve on MHEC committees and guide the design, implementation and oversight of the programs sponsored by the Commission.
Secondly, MHEC has been extremely fortunate in enlisting the help of institutional and state representatives to assist in guiding its Request For Proposal (RFP) processes. Whenever MHEC invites proposals from national vendors, the high quality of the RFP criteria and capabilities conceptualized the program committees have been strong negotiating points accomplishing program agreements.
Thirdly, one of MHEC's primary policies is to make all of its programs available to all sectors of higher education, from community and technical colleges to large research universities. This serves the dual purpose of creating a massive pool of potential purchasers whenever MHEC issues an RFP, as well as leveraging the best opportunities for institutions, systems and consortia.
MHEC is committed to supporting alliances among institutions, systems and consortia throughout the Midwest region to achieve practical and mutually beneficial outcomes for higher education. The Commission respects the integrity of inter-institutional cooperatives and purchasing consortia, and does not wish to compete with these interests. The Commission's goal is to encourage the development of strategies that will enable these groups to form "alliances of alliances" to accomplish advantageous outcomes that cannot be fully realized through independent efforts.
The advancement of education through interstate cooperation is a priority of the Midwestern Higher Education Commission. The programs initiated through the Midwestern Compact have served higher education, and the Commission believes that they will continue to do so, especially given the substantial challenges of change that face our colleges and universities. Through the leadership and dedicated efforts of its program committees, the Compact will continue to be a positive force in creating new opportunities for higher education.