UVM enlists ex-interim president to implement changes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

UVM enlists ex-interim president to implement changes

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UVM President Tom Sullivan UVM President Tom Sullivan
Former interim President John Bramley Former interim President John Bramley

Former University of Vermont interim President John Bramley is back on campus.

"That's his simple charge; no dust, no report sitting on a shelf, we want results," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Wednesday, the longtime supporter of the green and gold took on a new post overseeing the implementation of a series of recommendations from Governor Shumlin's higher education advisory group for the school and hospital.

"This is the only research university in the state of Vermont now and quite frankly it is going to be the only research university in the state of Vermont for the foreseeable future. We have to make sure that it works as effectively as it can," Bramley said.

Highlights of the plan include expanding the engineering school and support for the medical school.

"He is going to be able to help us at the university on a day-to-day basis really move forward with the recommendations that have been given to the governor," UVM President Tom Sullivan said.

Increasing financial aid and helping students avoid massive debt are also on the list.

"Our top priority is and must be financial access and affordability for our students," Sullivan said.

For Bramley, it's about finding new ways to make sure more Vermonters have access to what the school has to offer.

"It's estimated that 60 percent of the job openings in this decade will require some form of post-secondary education and Vermont is frankly ill-prepared to meet that challenge," Bramley said.

Sullivan says Bramley will also help improve ties across Vermont, including those with state colleges.

"It is about how do we strengthen the relationship and the partnership of the University of Vermont with the great state of Vermont," Sullivan said.

Big challenges in a difficult economy. Adding to the difficulty for Bramley: the governor admits there are no plans for new money to reach the new goals.

"How do we take the limited resources that we have and get a better bang for our buck so that we are ensuring that we have a bright jobs future in this state," Shumlin said.

Right now the state sends about $40 million a year to UVM, making up roughly 7 percent of its overall annual budget.

"It is time, as the governor said, to make sure that we step forward now and make this a reality," Sullivan said.

Sullivan is continuing to look for private dollars and is confident Bramley can be a big help in the push toward progress.

Bramley did not give a firm timeline for implementing the outlined goals, but did say folks should see some progress in the next 12 to 18 months.

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