Former state Rep. John Carey will be the new leader of Ohio’s public university system.
Gov. John Kasich appointed Carey chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents today, effective Monday. His appointment is subject to state Senate approval.
Carey says his biggest goal will be to better align higher education to the jobs that are available in the state, an effort long advocated by Kasich.
“Right now, we have thousands of jobs that are going unfilled because we don’t have people with the skills or the education to fill them,” he says. “So one of my goals is to try to help to fill that gap.”
Carey joins the Board of Regents as universities prepare to shift to a new higher education funding system that ties schools’ funding more closely to their performance.
In the coming year, public universities also must make key decisions about how to deal with high school graduates who aren’t prepared for college-level work.
Carey replaces former Chancellor Jim Petro, who retired earlier this year.
Kasich’s written statement on Carey’s appointment:
“John Carey is a thoughtful, devoted public servant who focused on job creation throughout his legislative career, and I am excited to see him inject this job creation mentality into the Ohio Board of Regents.”
Carey, a Republican from southeastern Ohio, was mayor of his hometown of Wellston before serving 9 years in the Ohio House, where he was Chairman of the Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee. He retired in 2011 to work as a lobbyist for Shawnee State University.
He also served 8 years in the Ohio Senate, where he was Chairman of the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee. During his time in the Senate, he once scolded members of the Board of Regents for lavish spending on dining out.
“That was actually addressed by Governor Strickland, which is ironic because I never thought I’d be at the Board of Regents,” Carey says of the scolding.
When Carey announced his departure from the statehouse, Columbus Dispatch columnist Joe Hallett described it as “the adult in the room…departing:”
The only Ohio lawmaker ever to serve as chairman of both the House and Senate finance committees, “Rep. Carey’s expertise on the budget, education, and a host of other issues will be sorely missed,” House Speaker William G. Batchelder lamented, calling Carey “an incredibly valuable member.”
Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee said in a statement that he looks forward to working with Carey, whom he said was a wise choice for chancellor.
A native son of southern Ohio, he understands well that all Ohioans deserve the opportunity for a high-quality education. Having left the legislature to work closely with Shawnee State, our new chancellor understands our universities as well as our Statehouse.
Note: This post has been updated to include additional information.