More than 100 of the people who lead Missouri’s 23 public colleges and universities are holding an unprecedented meeting today in Columbia.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education has never before assembled boards of curators, governors, and regents of Missouri’s four-year universities, community,  and technical colleges to discuss the issues facing higher education.

The conference is addressing finance, improved degree attainment rates, partnerships with business and industry, and other issues.  Higher Education Commissioner Dave Russell is looking for problem- solving ideas that can be taken to the legislature, not more discussion of problems everybody already knows about. 

Coordinating board president Kathy Swan says the focus will be on the things the schools have in common—increased enrollment and funding decreases at a time when institutions are being pressured to graduate more students, and ways to build new relationships with industry and business.

 AUDIO: Russell interview 3:54