Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

HJR 611: Joint Subcommittee to Study Science and Technology Education in Graduate Programs

December 5, 2007

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Science and Technology Education in business, law, and policy graduate programs at the Commonwealth's institutions of higher education met on December 5 in Richmond. Because it was the final meeting of the one-year joint subcommittee, the agenda focused on the development of final recommendations.

Throughout the course of the study, conversations of the joint subcommittee frequently turned away from discussions of business, law, and policy programs, and towards the need to encourage more students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, math, and engineering. These students are needed to fill current job needs in the Commonwealth and to provide a steady stream of qualified persons to attract technology-based companies to locate in the Commonwealth.

The joint subcommittee indicated that it was also important to study and pinpoint ways to improve science and math education in elementary and secondary school and to encourage young students to take the classes necessary to pursue higher education in these areas. However, it was noted that this was the focus of the joint subcommittee formed pursuant to HJ 25, which was completing two years of study and would be submitting its recommendations to the 2008 Session of the General Assembly.

Delegate Purkey, chairman of the joint subcommittee, presented a resolution that would continue the work of the joint subcommittee for an additional year. However, because the members of the committee felt that the charge for the existing subcommittee did not directly address the most pressing needs of the Commonwealth, it was decided that Delegate Purkey would introduce a resolution to seek the creation of a new study that would look at ways to immediately increase the pool of science and engineering students in the Commonwealth. The members felt that such a study would complement the efforts of HJ 25.

Potential topics of study for a new study would include looking at ways that tax credits and other incentives could be used to encourage private companies to invest in the educational efforts of interested students. For example, it was suggested that a company might receive a tax credit for a portion of tuition that it pays for a student in an engineering degree program, and would receive an additional credit if the student subsequently was employed by the company and remained in Virginia. In addition, it was suggested that a study might look at examples such as the partnership between Central Virginia Community College and the University of Virginia in offering 4-year engineering degrees on the community college campus.

Because there was not a quorum at the meeting, no formal vote was taken on the new proposed study resolution.

The Hon. Harry R. Purkey

For information, contact:
Lisa Wallmeyer, Jessica Eades, DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

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