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Chancellor of Ohio Board of Regents Resigns

A year prior to the end of his five-year term, Eric D. Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, recently announced his resignation, effective March 13, 2011.

"He was appointed in March 2007 under former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat," writes The Columbus Dispatch's Encarcion Pyle. "Fingerhut said Republican Gov. John Kasich did not ask him to leave but that the two of them worked together to pick the right time for his departure. … Fingerhut said he is leaving now to ensure a smooth transition. He said it was important to give Kasich enough time to appoint a replacement before the governor unveiled his budget recommendations in March."

"Mr. Fingerhut's departure leaves in doubt to what extent the state will continue with the far-reaching, 10-year strategic plan the chancellor engineered and shepherded through the General Assembly in 2008 with overwhelming bipartisan support," writes The Chronicle of Higher Education's Eric Kelderman. "The plan was meant to enhance the economic-development power of the system by requiring each institution to focus on programs that create jobs and attract students, and by linking course offerings with labor demands. Colleges were categorized in the plan according to their missions, such as research-and-development or liberal-arts. Institutions had to identify 'centers of excellence' they would develop, while abandoning some programs that might be better delivered at other campuses."

"What happens now? Many public college officials in Ohio liked the governance structure and the Strickland/Fingerhut team because they put higher education at the forefront of the state's agenda (and, not insignificantly, favored it in budgetary allocations--in contrast, they said, to Strickland's predecessor, Robert Taft)," writes Inside Higher Ed's Doug Lederman. "Kasich is a budget hawk who has said nice things about colleges and universities, but also made clear that nothing will be protected."

"Fingerhut, a lawyer, represented eastern Cuyahoga County in the Ohio Senate and served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives," writes The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Edith Starzyk. "Before becoming chancellor, he was a faculty member and director of economic development education and entrepreneurship at Baldwin-Wallace College. A 1977 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, he and his wife, Amy, have two young sons and live in Columbus."