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Chancellor's Column - October 2003  

Higher Education and Our Competitive Edge
All of us have heard the old expression about the weather – “everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.” In some ways, improving the state’s economy has been the same way. In Oklahoma, we love to talk about and study the economy, but there are times when it may not seem like anyone is doing anything about it.

Actually, a great deal of effort has been made through the years to make things better. But, we haven’t been as successful or innovative in creating jobs or attracting new business and industry as we could have been.

Governor Brad Henry is determined to find a way to do things differently. He has teamed the Department of Commerce with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to accomplish an ambitious goal: develop an action plan that will bring economic prosperity to our state.

We are now embarked on a project called Oklahoma’s EDGE (Economic Development Generating Excellence). It has brought together state government, higher education and the private sector to recommend a few, very powerful steps Oklahoma should take to strengthen its economy. This is an opportunity to do something we've never done before: to bring these three key parties together and then take the steps that will lead to a stronger economy and higher incomes for Oklahomans.

More than 250 Oklahomans are involved in the steering committee and expert teams, and an action plan has been developed. On November 4, public forums will be held at higher education facilities in 27 different locations around the state. Your ideas will be welcomed as we put the final touches on the plan that the Governor will announce on December 3. To find out more about Oklahoma’s EDGE, please visit www.okedge.org.

We may not be able to do anything about Oklahoma’s weather, but I believe that, by working together, we can do something about improving our economy.

I would be pleased to hear from you with your questions or comments. Write to Chancellor Paul G. Risser at OSRHE, PO Box 108850, Oklahoma City, OK. 73101-8850 or e-mail chancellorrisser@osrhe.edu. You can find out more about our higher education system at www.okhighered.org.