Talk in the legislature about greater state management and coordination of colleges and universities brings some cautionary words from the heads of Missouri’s two biggest universities.

University of Missouri President Gary Forsee and Missouri State University President Michael Nietzel meet with state senators to tell them of greater collaborative efforts within Missouri’s higher education system.

Forsee says there’s a lot of cooperation going on already. "In this economic period, we have to take that to a different level," he says, "In the most difficult economic times the opportunity to find additional resources for all us to do what we may dream and want to do are going to be challenged by those economic realities."

Senate leader Charlie Shields has called Missouri’s higher education system "disorganized." Forsee tells Shields and other Senators the colleges and universities are doing more organizational work than many people think. He warns lawmakers to be careful how much power they give the state coordinating board for higher education. He says that board should have the power to set a statewide vision and mission and make sure they’re carried out. But Forsee says the governing boards of colleges and universities must remain the advocates for the mission of their schools and put things in place that fit with the statewide mission.

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