Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gov. and Local Officials Honor Dayton as Innovation Hub

Yesterday state and local officials gathered at the University of Dayton to recognize the Dayton area as Ohio's first Hub of Innovation and Opportunity. Governor Ted Strickland headlined the event as UD President Dan Curran, Dept. of Development Interim Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition Jim Leftwich all gave their accolades to the region and the universities within.

The governor explained that for a region to be designated an Ohio Hub, they must "identify core strengths and develop a strategic plan for urban revitalization." A Hub designation is a "commitment from both the state and region to work collaboratively and target economic development efforts toward building upon those identified strengths. Dayton’s Ohio Aerospace Hub of Innovation builds upon the area’s strengths in aerospace, sensor technologies, and advanced materials to create new companies, sustain existing partners, and attract new investment based on Ohio’s world-class research, development, and industry assets, including The University of Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base."

The recognition ceremony was followed by a tour of the aerospace department and a photo opportunity for the governor and other elected officials.

This inaugural designation of an Ohio Hub coincided well with the Executive Order issued by Governor Strickland requiring the Dept. of Development to establish an advisory group of aerospace and aviation industry leaders to assist with efforts to maximize business opportunities in those fields in Ohio.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Transparency at 400 Maryland Ave.

Kudos to the Obama administration for a little more transparency in government. An administration is as much its people as its publicly stated policies. The people became far more identifiable because of a change made this year.

The public has long been able to access the identities of the senior department and agency appointees, but now can learn about a range of other less visible, but often no less influential, appointees. On the Department of Education's Web site, Secretary Arne Duncan has made available a list of all political appointees. The Senate-confirmed appointees are listed, much as in the past, but are joined by many who are certainly political neophytes.

Ohioans might recognize Will Jawando, who is now the secretary's special assistant for boards and commissions. Last year, Will was the education staff member for Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

More notable are some of the names that might have stayed below the radar but for the new Web page. Marshall (Mike) Smith is listed as Senior Counselor to the Secretary/Director of International Affairs. Longtime observers will know Mr. Smith by his former title of Under Secretary. In fact, he helped lead efforts in the Clinton Administration to create the Direct Student Loan program.

Other instances, combined with the power of search engines, create other links. The new Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Vocational and Adult Education is a former speaker of the Maine House, and was a former institutional advancement dean of a community college in that state. This buttresses the perception that the administration would like to very strongly align (or combine) the workforce programs in the Departments of Education and Labor.

The transparency also helps keep the public informed in real time. For example, the July 1, 2009, Department of Education staff directory, also now available on-line, did not list a chief of staff for the Under Secretary. (Chiefs of Staff of the three senior department offices play very important roles, at times more important than that of assistant secretaries and other appointees.) Since that time, the department appointed Alejandra Ceja to that position.

Every administration operates that way. When I served in the department there were, not surprisingly, large numbers of Texans. But there were also a significant number of Pennsylvanians who formerly worked with our outstanding first Under Secretary, who later became my boss as Deputy Secretary.

While in the administration, I worked with the highly competent daughter of a Republican U.S. Senator who served in a number of significant roles, and a few other far-less skilled people who shared familial relationships with current and former elected and appointed officials. The difference now is that the public can discern some of these relationships on-line and, more importantly, the mainstream and trade press will see these links more often than in the past. Indeed, had this kind of information been available, a few members of the press might have figured out that the Bush administration Department of Education was actually led a number of senior Democrats, contrary to popular perception.

For most people, this is just more inside baseball. But since one of the core values of American democracy is the ability of citizens to know what is happening in their government, the Obama administration has further embraced that value with a timely technological twist.

--C. Todd Jones

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley Named New President of "One Rio"

Former president of Antioch University McGregor, Coordinating Officer for The University of Rio Grande, and currently the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and System Integration for the Board of Regents, Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley, has been named as the new President of the collaborative University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College called "One Rio". The two institutions are now a merged entity as a result of HB 1, which provided legislation needed for one president to serve both institutions for one-year trial period. She assumes the presidency on October 1, when the current interim president, Don Wood, assumes his previous role as Chair of the University of Rio Grande Board of Trustees.

Dr. Gellman-Danley has been great addition to the Ohio higher education system since her arrival from the Oklahoma system as Vice Chancellor for Educational Outreach for their State Regents office. She also worked in the New York educational system as the VP for Educational Technology and VP of Institutional Advancement. This broad experience in all sectors of higher education will give her the necessary tools and know-how to compete as a successful college president in today's market. As president of Antioch University McGregor, she led an increase in enrollment as well as increased the stature of the university as a adult-education center, providing an opportunity for the non-traditional students who needed to obtain more education.

AICUO would like to congratulate Dr. Gellman-Danley, commend her for her hard work done thus far for the state of Ohio, and welcome her back to the private sector of higher education. We wish her the best and look forward to working with her in her new post.