Council on Postsecondary Education
Postsecondary Education Chief Tom Layzell to retire in 2007
Dr. Thomas Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education since April 15, 2003, announced his plans to retire at the expiration of his contract, April 15, 2007.
The 68-year-old Layzell decided not to seek renewal of his contract because he is looking forward to retirement, spending time with his family in Illinois, and traveling. The early notice provides Council with ample time to hire his replacement. He will stay on past April if needed to assist with the transition.
Layzell has served over 40 years in a variety of positions in public higher education, and has been a system head since 1984, serving as Executive Director and Chancellor of the Illinois Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities from 1984 to 1995 and the Commissioner of Higher Education in Mississippi from 1995 to 2003, before coming to Kentucky as President of the Council.
Layzell said that what attracted him to Kentucky will also attract others: Kentucky’s postsecondary education reform legislation is viewed as a national model for its comprehensiveness, its long-term outlook, and its focus on using the resources of its educational system to meet the needs of the state.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time at the Council and feel privileged to have served as President. Kentucky is blessed with exceptional leaders at all levels of education and that augurs well for achievement of the ambitious goals set for us by the reform legislation,” said Layzell.
“I wish to thank Governor Fletcher, members of the General Assembly, Secretary of Education Ginni Fox, and members of Council for the high priority they place on education at all levels as a catalyst for transforming the state’s economy,” he added.
Gov. Ernie Fletcher noted, “Dr. Layzell is a true gentleman who is clearly respected among his peers across the country, and we appreciate the work he has done and his willingness to help with the transition of his successor. Dr. Layzell has done an outstanding job leading the Council on Postsecondary Education, and he will truly be missed.”
Ron Greenberg, chairman of the Council on Postsecondary Education, echoed those comments and stated that Council was pleased with Layzell’s leadership and had hoped that he would stay through another contract.
“Tom Layzell is a man of integrity who has taken Kentucky’s postsecondary and adult education reform initiatives to the next level. These reform initiatives are highly regarded across the country because they are working,” stated Greenberg.
“Tom has served Kentucky exceedingly well and has brought a sharp vision and clear focus while being a steady, consistent and tireless advocate for Kentucky’s people and system of postsecondary and adult education. He will be greatly missed,” added Greenberg.
Under Layzell’s leadership, more people than ever before are enrolling in postsecondary and adult education and earning degrees, certificates and diplomas. Just this past spring, the Council announced a preliminary 19 percent increase in the number of degrees conferred by the public colleges and universities.
In other accomplishments during Layzell’s tenure, the Council:
- adopted and began implementing a statewide strategic plan based on Kentucky’s needs to improve educational attainment and economic development;
- conducted an affordability study that led to the adoption of a new tuition policy that sets limits on universities’ ability to increase tuition;
- initiated a statewide facilities condition assessment study;
- initiated a statewide diversity study;
- developed the first joint budget request with the Kentucky Department of Education;
- initiated the first statewide regional stewardship program in the nation;
- and developed 2020 educational attainment projections that show Kentucky must double the number of residents with bachelor’s degrees by the year 2020 just to get to the national average.
Layzell has provided leadership at a national level as past president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, a member of the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education, president of the National Association of System Heads, and a member of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Governing Boards.
Earlier in his career, Layzell worked at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois, from 1969 to 1976, advancing to the position of vice president for administration. He also served as a staff member at the Illinois Board of Higher Education from 1966-1969.
Layzell earned a bachelor of arts degree at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and both a juris doctorate in law and a master’s of arts in public administration from the University of Illinois in Urbana.