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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cincinnati Bell Chair Phil Cox: Leads Ohio CEO Group's Education Reform Push

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Cincinnati Bell Chairman Phillip R. Cox has been serving as co-chair of the Ohio Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy. The corporate organization pushes school reform, including more stringent standards in science and math, and wants to see more college graduates in the state. Cox is a prominent corporate leader who says he has a bachelor of science degree from a prestigious, private university -- but the school says it has no record of awarding him a diploma. Cox's CEO group has been advocating increased baccalaureate degree production in the state.

Xavier University in Cincinnati said its records show Cox attended classes in the 1960s. But Cox, who also serves on the University of Cincinnati board of trustees, says he has a BS in political science from Xavier. If Xavier is correct, Cox would appear to be a fabricator.

Cox has been active in the education improvement campaign, including the push to emphasize science, technology, English and math in Ohio's high schools -- which is commonly known by the acronym STEM. Cox shows up as a preeminent figure in Ohio STEM as co-chair of the Oho Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy.

The group is described as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization "designed to be a catalyst, mediator and advocate for an enhanced and more strategic role for higher education as a significant contributor to the state's economic growth. The Board of Directors consists of 12 CEOs from throughout Ohio who share a passion for higher education and its linkage to long-term economic growth."

Cox's panel lists three goals:

"1. Establishing new STEM secondary schools to build the 'supply chain' of STEM-literate graduates who go on to college, obtain their degrees and remain in Ohio, contributing to our economic growth as the next generation of innovators and productive citizens.

2. Using quality data to help state policymakers understand the right kinds of higher education investments that will increase the yield of BA and BS degrees in the STEM disciplines.

3. Examining the feasibility of a serious, sustained, professionally-run education marketing campaign to increase college enrollment and degree attainment in Ohio."

Inquiring minds may wonder: Would there be any irony if someone who claimed a college degree -- but did not have one -- headed the corporate community's efforts to increase college enrollment and degree attainment in Ohio? Would it seem to send a message that fabricating a degree might pay off better than academic achievement and hitting the books.

There is more about Cox's education reform efforts here and here, where a news reports says he testified before a legislative panel in favor of making Ohio's higher education chancellor an appointee of the governor.

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