Lexington, Ky. – Perry A. Papka has joined the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence as a senior policy director for the education advocacy organization, as the group renews its focus on the area that provided the foundation of its work: postsecondary education.
The citizens’ group began in 1980 as the Committee on Higher Education in Kentucky’s Future, a panel appointed by what was then the state Council on Higher Education to recommend ways to strengthen the postsecondary system. Its report, “In Pursuit of Excellence,” emphasized the negative impact of declining financial support and a lack of planning on Kentucky’s higher education system.
Among the report’s recommendations: adequate funding, programs to improve faculty, admission standards and the creation of a nationally competitive research university.
The subsequent lack of governmental attention to the recommendations led frustrated committee members to create the independent Prichard Committee in 1983. The group turned its attention to advocating for improved education at all levels with a particular emphasis on the elementary and secondary levels as the basis of postsecondary success.
“For more than 30 years the Prichard Committee has been focusing on increasing the quality of P-12 education. Now, with more students than ever becoming ready for college and career, it’s time to renew our founding focus on access to and quality of postsecondary education to ensure Kentucky’s students are fully equipped to compete in a global economy,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director of the Prichard Committee.
The committee’s postsecondary work will focus on adequate and equitable funding to support the quality of postsecondary education and affordability for students. The committee will track data about the cost, quality and, most important, the outcomes of students in both degree and certificate programs.
Papka will be leading the way on this effort. Papka is a former senior analyst and staff administrator for the legislature’s Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. In that role, Papka provided analysis, research and oversight for the appropriation of more than $1 billion in public funds to Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions and financial aid programs.
Prior to joining the Legislative Research Commission in 2006, Papka was a research assistant at the Council on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kentucky, a research intern for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., and director of research and development for Alaska Seafood International in Anchorage, AK.
He is a graduate of Centre College and holds a Masters of Public Administration from UK’s Martin School of Public Policy & Administration.