Higher education officials in West Virginia are well aware public colleges and universities need to change dramatically to serve both students and the state's economy better. It was no surprise, then, that the state received low grades in yet another evaluation of higher education.
This one, by an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave the state reasonably good grades for holding down the cost of college. But in an evaluation category called "meeting labor market demand," four-year institutions received an "F" while two-year colleges got a "D."
Those grades need to be viewed carefully, of course. In our area, both West Liberty University and West Virginia Northern Community College offer programs that seem responsive to labor market needs.
What was most upsetting about the new report was its conclusion West Virginia does not encourage higher education innovation well - and sometimes holds it back.
WLU's new master's degree physician assistant program clearly is an excellent idea - but bureaucratic red tape delayed its implementation. If our colleges and universities are to improve, the state needs to give them the flexibility to do so.