Ochoa to Lead ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education
Eduardo Ochoa was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on June 22, 2010. He was sworn in on July 1, 2010. The Department’ s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) formulates federal postsecondary education policy and administers programs that address crucial national needs in support of ED’s mission to increase access to quality postsecondary education.
Prior to coming to the Department, Ochoa served as provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of economics at Sonoma State University since 2003. He was responsible for all of the university’s academic programs and its strategic planning, overall diversity initiative, and role in the California State University Graduation Initiative, which aims to raise system-wide graduation rates. Ochoa holds a B.A. in physics and philosophy from Reed College, M.S. in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University, and Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research.
Unruh Named South Dakota’s State Director of Adult Education
Barbara Unruh was appointed South Dakota’s state director of adult education on June 1, 2010, after 22 years of teaching high school English. The native South Dakotan will work to continue to deliver current services and hopes to expand the program to reach more adults who need adult education services, particularly in rural areas of the state.
Great Cities Summit Aims to Improve Adult Education
Five major American cities—Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Miami—participated in the National Institute for Literacy and OVAE’s first joint Adult Education Great Cities Summit convened by Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier in Chicago on June 28‒29, 2010. The summit, supported with national activities funds under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), served as a catalyst for these large urban areas to improve adult education, particularly reading instruction. Because each city has large concentrations of adults with low literacy skills, plans made by city teams at the summit ultimately could improve instruction for significant numbers of low-skilled adults and adult literacy outcomes nationwide. Teams shared perspectives on urban adult education, offered ideas about common areas of work and developed city-wide plans. Participating cities will reconvene to share progress on their plans at a virtual summit this fall. They will receive technical assistance in implementing their plans.
Grants Awarded for Health Information Technology Education
As the result of a national competition, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded 70 competitive grants to five regional community college consortia to establish health information technology (HIT) education programs. OVAE collaborated with HHS to establish and/or expand the education programs designed to train more than 10,500 new HIT professionals annually by 2012 in order to transition to electronic health records by 2014, one of President Obama’s goals as part of the overhaul of the health care system. In addition, the program will fund the development of model curriculum materials and technical skill assessments based on validated industry standards. These new HIT careers will provide opportunities for students participating in programs of study in both health science and information technology career clusters.
The grants were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).