Section 1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the commonwealth to provide, foster and support institutions of public higher education that are of the highest quality, responsive to the academic, technical and economic needs of the commonwealth and its citizens, and accountable to its citizens through lay boards, in the form of the board of higher education and the boards of trustees of each of the system’s institutions.
It is hereby further declared that in pursuit of its stated goals, the system of public higher education will strive for excellence in its programming and strengthen the access of every individual in the commonwealth to educational opportunities.
It is hereby further declared that by maintaining a high quality system of public colleges and universities, the commonwealth moves toward achieving the following goals:—
(a) to provide its citizens with the opportunity to participate in academic and educational programs for their personal betterment and growth, as well as that of the entire citizenry;
(b) to contribute to the existing base of research and knowledge in areas of general and special interest, for the benefit of our communities, our commonwealth and beyond; and
(c) to understand the importance of higher education to the future of the economic growth and development of the commonwealth, and, by so doing, prepare its citizens to constitute a capable and innovative workforce to meet the economic needs of the commonwealth at all levels.
The board of higher education, in this chapter called the board or the council, shall be responsible for defining the mission of and coordinating the state’s system of higher education in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The council shall work with boards of trustees to identify and define institutional missions, taking into account regional needs, as well as to define each institution’s role within the greater system. Said institutional missions shall also relate to the mission the council shall identify for each category of institution within the system, including the University of Massachusetts, the state university, and community college segments. All mission statements shall be subject to review and approval by the secretary of education, in this chapter called the secretary. The council shall be responsible for publishing such mission statements, which shall be used for purposes of accountability, efficiency, and focus.
The board shall work in conjunction with boards of trustees to hold the system accountable for achieving its goals and establishing a comprehensive system to measure quality by defining educational achievement and success with the use of standards and measurements. The council shall encourage an economical and effective use of the resources of the commonwealth with particular emphasis upon the development of regional and local consortia and related co-operative arrangements by and between public and independent institutions of higher education.
The board shall,, work to coordinate its activities within a framework of an integrated public education system extending from early childhood programs through the university level, to promote coordination and greater benefits to students. The council shall also encourage collaboration between educational institutions and business and industry in order to promote employment opportunities and educational improvements.
In achieving these ends the council shall foster decision-making close to the actual learning environment. The council shall encourage participation in that process by students, faculty, and the general public in an effort to create and maintain a system of higher education which provides the cultural, economic and personal growth opportunities to enrich and empower the lives of the people of this commonwealth.