California's high tech economy depends on cooperation between academia, industry, and government, and these sectors need to work together on effective long-term science and technology strategies, according to CCST Board Member Warren Baker.
"There are significant steps that each sector can and should take to safeguard the future success of California's S&T sector," said Baker. "The key is to develop a sustainable and consistent long-term strategy in which higher education, business, and government work together."
Baker, who has been president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo since 1979, is a nationally recognized civil engineer. Over the years, he has served on various national policy bodies, including nine years as a member of the National Science Board. He also has worked vigorously to improve science and technology education in California through a variety of efforts, starting with his leadership of the Cal Poly campus. Currently, he is leading a concerted effort to expand enrollments in STEM disciplines at Cal Poly through implementation of a new campus master plan and a nearly one billion dollar capital improvement program, working closely with industry leaders. He has also worked extensively with the Business-Higher Education Forum, where Baker has co-chaired major science and mathematics education and STEM initiatives. The Forum is an independent, non-profit membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, leaders of colleges and universities, and foundation executives whose mission is to engage and inform its members, policymakers and the public on issues of strategic importance to business and higher education.
"The Forum's STEM initiative seeks to double the number of STEM college graduates by 2015, by identifying promising strategies to strengthen the education pipeline that leads to STEM careers," said Baker. "It's necessary to take a longer view and take a systems approach to the science and technology education pipeline if we expect to make any real progress."
CCST has played an important role in analyzing the science and technology education pipeline in California; most recently, the California response proposed by CCST to the National Academies Report Rising above the Gathering Storm calls for increased cooperation among California's educational system, the business community and state government.
"The collaboration of the business community, academia and government in CCST is a valuable resource for California," said Baker. "CCST has been instrumental in providing specific, state-level analyses that both reinforce the initiatives of the Forum and enable policymakers to act more effectively. The state, and the country, need venues such as this in which to bring together the collective expertise of the STEM community, so we can work effectively for a better future."