Intent—2009 c 407: "The legislature recognizes that the state must educate more people to higher levels to adapt to the economic and social needs of the future. While our public colleges and universities have realized great success in helping students achieve their dreams, the legislature also recognizes that much more must be done to prepare current and future students for a twenty-first century economy. To raise the levels of skills and knowledge needed to sustain the state's economic prosperity and competitive position in a global environment, the public higher education system must reach out to every prospective student and citizen in unprecedented ways, with unprecedented focus.
To reach out to these citizens, the state must dismantle the barriers of geographic isolation, cost, and competing demands of work and family life. The state must create a more nimble system of learning that is student-centric, more welcoming of nontraditional and underserved students, easier to access and use, and more tailored to today's student needs and expectations.
Technology can play a key role in helping achieve this systemic goal. While only a decade ago access to personal computers was widely viewed a luxury, today computers, digital media, electronic information, and content have changed the nature of how students learn and instructors teach. This presents a vast, borderless opportunity to extend the reach and impact of the state's public educational institutions and educate more people to higher levels.
Each higher education institution and workforce program serves a unique group of students and as such, has customized its own technology solutions to meet its emerging needs. While local solutions may have served institutions of higher education in the past, paying for and operating multiple technology solutions, platforms, systems, models, agreements, and operational functionality for common applications and support services no longer serves students or the state.
Today's students access education differently. Rather than enrolling in one institution of higher education, staying two to four years and graduating, today's learners prefer a cafeteria approach; they often enroll in and move among multiple institutions - sometimes simultaneously. Rather than sitting in lecture halls taking notes, they may listen to podcasts of a lecture while grocery shopping or hold a virtual study group with classmates on a video chat room. They may prefer hybrid courses where part of their time is spent in the classroom and part is spent online. They prefer online access for commodity administrative services such as financial aid, admissions, transcript services, and more.
Institutions of higher education not only must rethink teaching and learning in a digital-networked world, but also must tailor their administrative and student services technologies to serve the mobile student who requires dynamic, customized information online and in real time. Because these relationships are changing so fast and so fundamentally, it is incumbent on the higher education system to transform its practices just as profoundly.
Therefore, the legislature intends to both study and implement its findings regarding how the state's public institutions of higher education can share core resources in instructional, including library, resources, student services, and administrative information technology resources, user help desk services, faculty professional development, and more. The study will examine how public institutions of higher education can pursue a strategy of implementing single, shared, statewide commonly needed standards-based software, web hosting and support service solutions that are cost-effective, easily integrated, user-friendly, flexible, and constantly improving. The full range of applications that serve students, faculty, and administration shall be included. Expensive, proprietary, nonstandards-based customized applications, databases and services, and other resources that do not allow for the transparent sharing of information across institutions, agencies, and educational levels, including K-12, are inconsistent with the state's objective of educating more people to higher levels." [2009 c 407 § 1.]