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Higher Priorities: How Post-Secondary Education Lost Ground in 2019

12:00pm, 6-28-2019
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Oregon's Student Success Act promises a big increase in education funding over the next two years. However, higher education was not included in that bill and many college students will face another tuition hike this fall. At a time when a post-secondary education is required for a vast majority of jobs, why is Oregon investing so little in our future workforce?

Join us as we examine higher education policy in Oregon and consider the opportunities for a stronger higher education system in the future.


Ben Cannon is the executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. In this position, Cannon oversees state funding allocations, policy-setting, and coordination for Oregon’s higher education system, including community colleges and public universities. Cannon is a former teacher, state representative, and education policy advisor to the Governor. Elected three times to the Oregon House of Representatives (2006-2011), he chaired House committees with jurisdiction over environment, energy, and water policy, and served on committees related to health care and education. From 2003 to 2011, he taught humanities to middle school students at the Arbor School of Arts and Education. He earned his BA from Washington University, St. Louis, and attended Oxford University, England, on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning graduate degrees in comparative and international education and philosophy, politics, and economics.  

Mark Mitsui is the president of Portland Community College. Previously, President Mitsui served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education for the U.S. Department of Education. In Washington he worked to advance President Obama’s community college agenda through partnerships with numerous federal agencies and national stakeholders. In this capacity he co-led the My Brother’s Keeper Postsecondary Completion interagency team working to improve college access and completion for the nation’s young men of color.

Before serving in the Obama administration, he was president of North Seattle College in Washington state from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, he was honored with the Rhonda Quash Coates Award for contributions to the Multicultural Student Services Directors Council of Washington state.

President Mitsui holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Western Washington University, and completed a master’s degree and doctoral studies in Education at the University of Washington.

8:09am, 6-29-2019
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1:23pm, 7-5-2019
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4:25am, 8-1-2019
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