The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education was established in 1997 as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. Our mission is identification and advocacy of a "public interest" perspective on state and national higher education policy issues. We have focused our work primarily on public purposes, expectations and performance of American higher education with particular emphasis on the convergence of the competitive knowledge-based global economy with major demographic shifts, and the implications for education and training beyond high school.
The National Center's major themes address the educational attainment of Americans, the educational pipeline, college preparation, affordability, completion and student learning outcomes. Our audiences have explicitly encompassed the public and the media, as well as government and education policymakers. The signature projects of the National Center have included the Measuring Up national and state report cards, National CrossTalk and the National Center Associates program.
The National Center's Board of Directors and staff have determined that this tenth year is an appropriate time to step back and engage in an intensive organizational self-examination. There have been, of course, many evaluations of every aspect of our work, some sponsored by funders and others internally initiated. The pending assessment, however, will look primarily to the future, asking, for example: What is the agenda for higher education policy research over the next five to ten years? What are the most appropriate organizational settings for addressing these issues? How do the approaches to public policy developed by the National Center fit the prospective policy issues? Whatever the substantive issues and organizational setting, is financial support available to pursue the public policy agenda?
Over the next four months, the National Center will examine these and related issues. The examination will be intensive, and several activities are being curtailed to allow significant time, energy and resources for it - for example, National CrossTalk and Policy Alerts no longer will be published during this period. We will, however, continue most ongoing projects and commitments, including work that supports the Lumina Foundation's college costs initiative, the Associates program, and responses to questions and issues concerning Measuring Up 2006.
We plan to complete our process by April and to make our conclusions public at that time. In the meantime, we welcome suggestions and advice on these matters from our readers.
—Patrick M. Callan