The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has announced the creation of a new agency office focused on promoting the value of higher education and strengthening partnerships with key partners.
The External Affairs and Economic Partnerships unit will aim to lead Kentucky higher ed promo efforts and support CPE’s partnerships with economic development leaders, state agencies, and nonprofits.
It will be led by Dr. Rick W. Smith Sr., previously associate vice president of workforce and economic development and vice president for external affairs and economic partnerships at CPE. Smith also served in leadership and development positions at the Kentucky College of Art + Design, Kentucky State University, and Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and as president and CEO of the United Way of Ross County, Ohio.
“One of the agency’s priorities is forging connections between higher education and the communities we serve, and this new unit demonstrates our commitment to that,” said CPE President Dr. Aaron Thompson. “This team will reinforce CPE’s leadership role within the state and nation on issues such as student access and success, equity, creating a more robust educational pipeline, and strengthening the alignment between higher education and the workforce.”