Tribpedia: Higher Education

Kenneth Ashworth: The TT Interview

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In his new book, Horns of a Dilemma: Coping with Politics at the University of Texas, Kenneth Ashworth chronicles the era of controversial UT System Board of Regents Chairman Frank Erwin, of which he says there are echoes today.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Apr. 18, 2011

Hamilton on Victoria's efforts to divorce the University of Houston, Ramshaw on a disagreement between right-to-life groups over laws governing when life ends, E. Smith's TribLive interview with Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. Burt Solomons on redistricting, Aguilar's interview with the mayor of Juárez, Tan on the continuing hunt for money to buy down budget cuts, Grissom on a psychologist who found more than a dozen inmates mentally competent to face the death penalty, Stiles and yours truly on the House redistricting maps and Galbraith on cutting or killing a tax break for high-cost natural gas producers: The best of our best content from April 11 to 15, 2011.

State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, explains HB 1000.
State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, explains HB 1000.

Tier-One Prize Money Tentatively Passes House

For those betting on the horserace to be the next state's next public national research — or  tier one — university, the winners are about to be crowned. Today, the House tentatively passed House Bill 1000 by House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, which creates a mechanism for them to claim their prize money.

Video: Rick Perry on Higher Education

On Thursday morning, Gov. Rick Perry held a press conference to announce the release of the inaugural Texas Public Higher Education Almanac, which provides easy-to-read data on all public institutions of higher learning. With him were Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman Fred Heldenfels, and House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas. The governor spoke to his priorities on higher education, including a four-year tuition freeze, $10,000 degrees, and outcomes-based funding.

The University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Texas at Austin.

Student Leader Warns Against Turning UT Into ASU

Members of a University of Texas System task force made a trip this month to Arizona State University, whose president has made bold changes to the traditional university model. One student leader was not encouraged by the excursion — and let the regents know in a new letter.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes speaks at the podium during the Generation Adelante college fair.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes speaks at the podium during the Generation Adelante college fair.

Texas Higher Ed Coordinating Board Releases Almanac

Which public university in Texas has the lowest average student SAT scores? Which is the whitest? Which has the highest graduation rate? Yesterday, questions such as these required a bit — maybe even a lot — of digging. Starting today, the answers (in order: Texas Southern University, Texas A&M University at Galveston and University of Texas at Austin) can be found easily in a new almanac.

Rick O'Donnell: The Emails

With the exception of the chancellor and a few high-profile professors, most hiring decisions at the University of Texas System go largely unnoticed or, at the very least, provoke little discussion outside the innermost circles of higher education observers. That has not been the case with higher education reformer Rick O'Donnell. Find key details of his hiring in our annotated collection of internal system documents.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, prepares to leave the Senate chamber after he tried to generate support for his guns-on-campus bill SB354 on April 11, 2011
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, prepares to leave the Senate chamber after he tried to generate support for his guns-on-campus bill SB354 on April 11, 2011

Wentworth Searching for Votes for Campus Carry Bill

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, hoped to bring up his campus carry bill today after a false start on Thursday. But the search for votes is proving more difficult than he anticipated.

Victoria mayor Will Armstrong discusses the University of Houston-Victoria in front of an aerial photo of Victoria.
Victoria mayor Will Armstrong discusses the University of Houston-Victoria in front of an aerial photo of Victoria.

Univ. of Houston-Victoria Looks to Texas A&M System

In January, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching elevated the University of Houston to its top tier of research universities. But, in the ensuing celebration for this hard-to-achieve accolade, some are feeling left out. An influential band of the 62,500 or so residents of Victoria, home of the University of Houston-Victoria — a smaller, more rural member of the University of Houston System, about 130 miles from the main campus — is leading a movement to part ways with the parent system.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/4/11

Thanh on the budget standoff between the House and Senate, Ramsey on budget cuts that cost us money, Philpott on Hispanics and redistricting,  Stiles visualizes speed limits by state, Grissom on a liberal social justice organizer who became a conservative hero, M. Smith on even more student social security numbers at risk, Ramshaw on whether family planning equals abortion, Aguilar on what circumcision has to do with citizenship, Murphy on how much Texas university adminstrators are paid, Hamilton on the latest in the higher ed reform saga and Galbraith on Texas energy lessons from the 1970s: The best of our best content from April 4 to 8, 2011.

House Speaker Joe Straus
House Speaker Joe Straus

Interview: Speaker Joe Straus on the Budget and Session

House Speaker Joe Straus was interviewed eariler this week by Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, government prof and half of the Tribune's polling team, about the session so far, the budget, gambling, rewriting state taxes, federal stimulus money and what he thinks about the tempest over research and teaching at the state's top universities.

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, speaks with Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, on the House floor during the budget debate.
Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, speaks with Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, on the House floor during the budget debate.

House Budget Shrinks Spending, Slashes Services

The Texas House started with a $164.5 billion budget and ended with the same total. But lawmakers spent the better part of a weekend making changes inside the budget for 2012-13 before giving it their approval, 98 to 49, late Sunday night. Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, called it a draft that will be changed over the next two months. House Speaker Joe Straus told members, "We need to move this bill."

UT Student Leaders Turn Attention Toward Regents

In the fall, with the University of Texas at Austin facing budget cuts, Chelsea Adler, the president of the university's Senate of College Councils, led an effort to establish student run committees to advise the college deans on how best to manage the reductions. She has also been a leader in this spring's "Invest in Texas" campaign to promote UT's value as an investment to state lawmakers. In an interview with the Tribune, she said she will now turn her attention toward the University of Texas System Board of Regents in support of academic research.

Director of  Intellectual Entrepreneurship, Richard Cherwitz, in his home Mar. 23, 2011.
Director of Intellectual Entrepreneurship, Richard Cherwitz, in his home Mar. 23, 2011.

Calls for University "Entrepreneurship" at UT

“The American university is not broken, but it is certainly not reaching its potential in the 21st century,” says Ohio State University President Gordon Gee, who is pushing for universities to take an entrepreneurial approach to education. One of the leaders of that push is Richard Cherwitz, a communications professor at the University of Texas, who claims universities can modernize without sacrificing academic research.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/21/11

M. Smith on the continuing controversy over Beaumont's school administrators, Tan on the deepening divide over the consequences of the House budget, Hamilton on the latest in the fight over higher ed accountability, Grissom on young inmates in adult prisons, Aguilar on the voter ID end game, Tan and Hasson's Rainy Day Fund infographic, Ramsey on the coming conflict over school district reserves, M. Smith and Aguilar on Laredo ISD's missing Social Security numbers, Galbraith on environmental regulators bracing for budget cuts and Ramshaw on greater scrutiny of neonatal intensive care units: The best of our best content from March 21 to 25, 2011.

John Silber: The TT Interview

The outspoken former UT dean and Boston University president on higher education's past, present and future — including his opinion of U.S. News & World Report rankings, and Howard Zinn and online degree programs.

John Siber
John Siber

John Silber: The TT Interview

The outspoken former UT dean and Boston University president on higher education's past, present and future — including his opinion of U.S. News & World Report's rankings ("bogus"), Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States ("incompetent and inaccurate") and online degree programs ("fraudulence").

UT System Redefines Adviser's Position, Term Length

In response to widespread criticism of its hiring of Rick O'Donnell, a proponent of controversial higher education reforms, as a special adviser to the University of Texas System Board of Regents, the system's leadership has decided to move him into a new position that will exist for only a matter of months.

Budget Constraints Pit Teaching Against Research

College students will rally at the Capitol today for higher-education funding. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, some students think major changes are also needed on campus, where, they say, professors spend too much time researching and not enough time with undergraduates in the classroom.

Gene Powell and Francisco Cigarroa
Gene Powell and Francisco Cigarroa

UT System Reassigns O'Donnell: "We're Listening"

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell told the Tribune today that they are moving quickly to allay the concerns of lawmakers, alumni and others regarding the direction of UT, starting with the reassignment of Rick O'Donnell, a new adviser to the Board of Regents.

Who's Behind Proposed Reforms to Texas Higher Ed?

The recent hiring of Rick O’Donnell, a higher education reform advocate with a healthy doubt of the value of academic research, as a special adviser to the board of regents at the University of Texas System has some observers — worried about the implications for the University of Texas at Austin — playing connect the dots.

Special Adviser at UT System Sparks Concern

A new $200,000 hire at the University of Texas System has set off alarms among some lawmakers grappling with the state’s huge budget shortfall — and among higher education observers who fear that the choice represents a precarious new direction for the system that could threaten its flagship university’s elite status.