Tribpedia: Higher Education

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/7/11

Conversations about the coming Hispanic majority and the 82nd session from our New Day Rising symposium, M. Smith on the latest tort reform battle, Galbraith on greater scrutiny of the gas industry, Ramsey on whether lawmakers will cut their own pay and benefits, Ramshaw and Aguilar on what's holding up abortion sonogram legislation, Aguilar on the ag commissioner's controversial new website, Philpott on what $9.8 billion in public education cuts looks like, Hamilton on a snippy exchange of higher ed letters and Grissom on the latest court decision in the Hank Skinner case: The best of our best content from March 7 to 11, 2011.

Ranger College's Closure Threatens Town's Livelihood

News that the state could shutter four community colleges has rattled the rural town of Ranger, whose community college faces closure. Nathan Bernier and Paulo Martins of KUT News look at what the closure could mean for the college — and the town for which it has become something of a lifeline.

House members discuss changing politics at TribLive event on February 28, 2011
House members discuss changing politics at TribLive event on February 28, 2011

Texas Hispanic Lawmakers Spar Over Race, Education

Protecting education and recognizing that the rapidly growing Hispanic population will gain a major political voice in Texas were themes that emerged Monday afternoon at The Texas Tribune’s day-long “New Day Rising” forum at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Battle Brewing Over Mandatory Meningitis Vaccine

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this week that vaccine manufacturers are protected from lawsuits by parents who believe that vaccines harmed their children is sure to energize anti-immunization advocates working to thwart attempts to expand meningococcal vaccine requirements for college students. Those who want more college students vaccinated say the state should do what it can to combat the disease, which is fast acting, unpredictable and deadly.

State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas
State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas

House Higher Ed Chairman Looks to Boost "Productivity"

For higher education issues, it appears that “productivity” is to this session what “tier one” was to 2009. House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who two years ago passed landmark legislation establishing a seven-school competition to catapult the state’s next national research university, recently filed a trio of bills aimed at getting more bang for each buck invested in higher ed.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/14/11

Ramsey, Stiles, Aguilar and Murphy makes sense of the Census data (and Stiles and Murphy interactively map the population change by county), Grissom on possible job cuts for prison chaplains, Ramshaw on whether cash-strapped Texas should be in the cancer business, Philpott on if we should dip into the Rainy Day Fund, Hamilton on the digital age dawning at Abilene Christian University, C. Smith on the concealed carry debate at community colleges, Galbraith on the fallout from the rolling blackouts, Ramsey on Texas vs. Amazon.com and M. Smith on Perry vs. Doggett: The best of our best content from Feb. 14 to 18, 2011.

At Texas' Abilene Christian, Digital Age Under Way

“The entering freshman class in 2011 will have several interesting traits," Abilene Christian University officials noted in a 2006 report, "not the least of which is that they were born the same year the Internet became mainstream." In the five years since, the small, private West Texas university has transformed itself into perhaps the most technologically innovative campus in the state. 

Texas Community Colleges Leery of Guns on Campus

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State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, has filed legislation to allow licensed handgun owners to carry concealed weapons on community college campuses. Taylor says his measure is meant to allow students to protect themselves. But some campus police — who are trained in school shootings to take down any person with a weapon — fear it could actually put students and faculty in more danger.

Brandon Demings sits in the Senate gallery on Community College Day at the Texas Capitol. He says students at Kilgore College are already feeling the pinch of state budget cuts.
Brandon Demings sits in the Senate gallery on Community College Day at the Texas Capitol. He says students at Kilgore College are already feeling the pinch of state budget cuts.

Community Colleges Uneasy as Ax Hangs Over Benefits

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The Legislature’s initial state budget proposals calling for the closing of four community colleges caught many lawmakers off guard. But what largely escaped their attention — the slashing of health benefits across all such institutions — is what concerns community college officials the most.

Texas Has a $10,000 Degree — But for How Long?

In his State of the State address, Gov. Rick Perry challenged Texas universities: develop a bachelor’s degree costing no more than $10,000, books included. But there already is a $10,000 bachelor’s degree — and the Legislature may be on the verge of eliminating it.

Senators Juan Hinojosa _(D-Mission), Chairman Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) and John Whitmire (D-Houston) listen to testimony in the Senate Finance Committee hearing on January 31, 2011.
Senators Juan Hinojosa _(D-Mission), Chairman Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) and John Whitmire (D-Houston) listen to testimony in the Senate Finance Committee hearing on January 31, 2011.

Students Rally for UT Funding

Cries of "Texas fight" and "It's 8:45, and we're still underfunded" rang across a crowd of nearly 100 students, who marched to the Capitol this morning to rally for adequate funding for the University of Texas at Austin.

Texas Legislators Seek End to Tuition Set-Aside

State Sen. Dan Patrick calls it "a 20 percent backdoor secret tax" on those paying for college. State Sen. Wendy Davis argues that eliminating it would help create a Texas with a "have-and-have-not culture." And some students say the the tuition set-aside program mandated by the state in 2003 is just plain theft. Hours after Gov. Rick Perry laid out his plans Tuesday to aid families who “continue to struggle with the cost of higher education,” Patrick argued in a Senate Finance Committee hearing that the set-aside needs to end.

Word cloud aggregate of Rick Perry's State of the State speeches from 2001 to 2009.
Word cloud aggregate of Rick Perry's State of the State speeches from 2001 to 2009.

Perry to Push Texas Colleges to Offer $10,000 Degree

Gov. Rick Perry will deliver his sixth State of the State speech later this morning, challenging the state's colleges and universities to offer a $10,000 bachelor's degree, including books. The higher education proposal is part of a call for a streamlined and more efficient state budget; Perry will try to sell the state's fiscal troubles as an opportunity to reshape the government.

Texas A&M University, the University of Texas and Rice University
Texas A&M University, the University of Texas and Rice University

Texplainer: What's a Tier-One University?

There’s no universal definition but essentially, the term refers to the country’s top research-focused universities. While there are specific benchmarks to be considered part of that group, some aren't clear or rely purely on perception.


Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega, associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington, discusses his research with university president Jim Spaniolo.
Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega, associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington, discusses his research with university president Jim Spaniolo.

Tier-One Contender Wary of Cuts

Jim Spaniolo, the president of UT-Arlington, said the university is committed to increasing its engagement with research that “could change the quality of life of many, many people” — but funding cuts resulting from the state’s budget shortfall would slow that momentum.

Business Leaders Sound Alarm About Education Cuts

Lawmakers will soon take an ax to the state budget, but business leaders are hoping one big-ticket item will be spared. At its annual conference in Austin this week, the Texas Association of Business sounded warnings about potential cuts to public education. Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/17/11

The Trib staff on the sweeping cuts in the proposed House budget, Grissom on what's lost and not found at the Department of Public Safety, Galbraith on the wind power conundrum, Hamilton on higher ed's pessimistic budget outlook, Stiles and Swicegood debut an incredibly useful bill tracker app, Ramsey interviews Rick Perry on the cusp of his second decade as governor, Aguilar on a Mexican journalist's quest for asylum in the U.S., Ramshaw on life expectancy along the border, M. Smith on the obstacles school districts face in laying off teachers and yours truly talks gambling and the Rainy Day Fund with state Rep. Jim Pitts: The best of our best from January 17 to 21, 2011.

Texas University Chancellors Brace for Budget Cuts

Every chancellor of a university system in Texas knows — down to the exact, excruciatingly precise percentage point — how much worse higher education fared than other agencies when their current budgets were cut. With the state facing a massive budget shortfall in the next biennium, the chancellors know they're in for another round. But this time they're adamant that they not bear a disproportionate share of the pain.