Tribpedia: Higher Education

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 6/13/11

Aaronson and Murphy visualize what happened to the nearly 5,800 bills introduced in the 82nd Lege Session, Aaronson, Hasson and Swicegood interactively recap the budget battle, Aguliar on the surge in illegal re-entry cases prosecuted by the Obama administration, Galbraith on a coal plant that wants a water deal from the LCRA, Grissom interviews a man wrongly imprisoned and nearly executed — twice, Hamilton on a controversial UT regent who wants a do-over in the debate over higher ed reform, Ramshaw on the continuing fight over pre-abortion sonograms, Root on Rick Perry's newsmaking trip to NYC and M. Smith on whether cash-strapped school districts will raise taxes: The best of our best content from June 13 to 17, 2011.

On the Records: Higher Ed Quiz Results

Earlier this week, we published a quiz to see if readers could distinguish between comments made about higher education by Gov. Rick Perry, University of Texas President Bill Powers, and others. It turns out: They (sometimes) can’t!

Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, at a TribLive event on April 28, 2011.
Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, at a TribLive event on April 28, 2011.

UT President Bill Powers Discusses Budget Cuts

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One certain result of the 82nd Legislative Session is that the University of Texas at Austin will lose a signfiicant amount of funding in the 2012-2013 budget. Nathan Bernier of KUT News interviewed UT-Austin President Bill Powers on the effects of that cut and other session-related matters.

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

Higher Ed "Coalition for Excellence" Formed in Texas

A powerful group of individuals — including former gubernatorially-appointed regents, former university system chancellors, and former university presidents — from around Texas have joined together to address the state's ongoing higher education controversy.

Quiz: Who Said What About Higher Ed?

The current controversy dominating the higher education headlines in Texas is nothing if not nuanced. It's hard for anyone to disagree with the broad buzzwords used by both sides: accountability, productivity, excellence, accessibility, transparency, etc. But, the devil's in the details. See if you can read between the lines and figure out who said what about higher ed in our latest quiz.

Regent Alex M. Cranberg at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on May 12, 2011.
Regent Alex M. Cranberg at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on May 12, 2011.

Controversial UT Regent Hopes to "Push a Reset Button"

Of the new University of Texas System regents, none has received more scrutiny than Alex Cranberg. The 56-year-old chairman of Aspect Holdings, a lucrative energy company based in Denver, said the time has come to “push a reset button” on the relationship between the regents and the leadership at UT. “If I read some of the stuff about me that I read in the paper, I’d be against me,” said Cranberg, who called the media portrayal of him a “caricature.”

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 6/6/11

Aguilar on a newly exposed rift in the GOP, Dehn on what summer overtime for lawmakers costs taxpayers, Galbraith on one bright spot for environmentalists this session, Grissom on reports of abuse shrouding a death row case, Hamilton on the long slog toward higher education reform, Ramsey on where the Big Three stand, Ramshaw on the filibuster-induced rise of a state senator, Root on Perry's jump into the culture wars, M. Smith on a new wrinkle in the school finance battle and Tan on the "pansexual" debate that nearly killed the crucial fiscal matters bill: The best of our best content from June 6 to June 10, 2011.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Nacodoches, debates an amendment to HB1 on April 1, 2011.
State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Nacodoches, debates an amendment to HB1 on April 1, 2011.

Video: "Pansexual" Amendment Debate

While you were sleeping last night, lawmakers in the Texas House were engaged in a passionate debate over "pansexual" politics that nearly killed the entire fiscal matters bill, which is pretty much the main reason they're having a special session. Trust us, this is must-see video.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, resurrected an amendment tp  SB 1 that would ban colleges from using any state funding for gender and sexuality centers. The provision passed back when the House voted on HB 1, but it was stripped when the bill reached the Senate. After nearly 45 minutes of fierce debate, Democrats raised a point of order. In response, Christian reluctantly agreed to withdraw his amendment.

Guest Column: Another Look at UT Productivity Report

The report on UT teachers' productivity by Richard Vedder and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity is technically accurate — but substantively misleading. A deeper analysis raises troubling questions about how Vedder would change UT.

Redistricting: Is There a Better Way?

Tuesday's contentious debate on the state Senate floor over a proposed congressional redistricting map, which passed unsurprisingly on a party line vote, was just a hint of why graduate students at Texas A&M University — and even some lawmakers — are studying alternative ways to handle the process.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Raymund Paredes sits in the Senate gallery awaiting the end of the session on May 30, 2011.
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Raymund Paredes sits in the Senate gallery awaiting the end of the session on May 30, 2011.

Switch to Outcomes-Based Higher Ed Funding Taking Time

During the regular session, Gov. Rick Perry’s top legislative priority for higher education was the implementation of a new financing system that rewards universities for graduating more students, not just for getting students into classes. But policy makers have struggled to agree on which outcomes to measure, how to encourage them and if they should alter the funding formulas while budgets are being slashed.

Students on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Students on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

A Second Chance for Campus Construction Projects?

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In the early days of the 82nd regular legislative session, there was a great deal of talk about how, with the economy causing a dip in interest rates and construction costs, the time was right to invest in new campus facilities. But a bill to issue tuition revenue bonds to get projects off the ground never managed to do so itself. Could universities awaiting bonds for new facilities get another chance in the special session?

The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.
The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.

20 Weeks in Texas in Which the Budget Held Sway

The 82nd Texas Legislature’s regular session ends as it started, with lawmakers arguing about a shrunken state budget and redistricting. With Republicans operating with a supermajority in the House and a commanding majority in the Senate, there was little doubt that the GOP would be able to impose its will. What was new was the power exerted by the Tea Party movement.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 23, 2011

Root profiles conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan, Aaronson on the Senate's flare-up over an airport groping ban, Grissom on some twisted logic in the state's same-sex marriage laws, Murphy and Macrander expand and refresh our public employee salary database, yours truly with the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll results on politicsissuesthe state's finances, and race, Ramshaw's report on how some of the governor's former aides now represent clients who want more money in the state budget, M. Smith on last-minute efforts to save education legislation that didn't make it through the process, Tan reports on efforts to finish the state budget before the session ends on Monday, and Dehn with the video week in review: The best of our best from May 9 to 13, 2011.

Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer, a college counselor assisting Max Garcia and Znobea Williams on financial aids acceptance.
Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer, a college counselor assisting Max Garcia and Znobea Williams on financial aids acceptance.

In Deal, Lawmakers Reduce Cuts to TEXAS Grants

A proposal adopted by the legislature's budget conference committee Thursday would provide funding for TEXAS Grants for about 33,100 incoming freshmen — far less than the number of eligible students but better than what the House originally proposed.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, debates a bill on the Senate floor on May 25, 2011.
Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, debates a bill on the Senate floor on May 25, 2011.

Budget Notes: School Finance Remains the Key

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and state Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, are still working to find some agreement on how to finance public schools over the next two years. Eissler and the House favor cutting funding to every school district by 6 percent. The Senate wants higher-wealth districts to take bigger cuts.

Immigration, Economy Top Concerns in UT/TT Poll

The most important problems facing the country are economic, while immigration and border security are the most important problems facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. And while they remain decidedly conservative, 61 percent of Texans say gay and lesbian relationships deserve some form of official recognition.

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University

Chairman of A&M Regents Responds to Faculty Concerns

Last week, Texas A&M University System Board of Regents chairman Richard Box received a letter from five Texas A&M University professors (along with more than 530 other faculty members who had electronically co-signed) concerned about his intended direction for the system. Today, he responded, saying, "We are all in this together."

Bill Powers speaks about budget cuts at The University of Texas on Tuesday, February 2nd.
Bill Powers speaks about budget cuts at The University of Texas on Tuesday, February 2nd.

Leaders of UT-Austin Attack Productivity Analysis

UT President Bill Powers and Regents Chairman Gene Powell slammed a controversial study that found that if some UT-Austin professors were more productive tuition could be cut by as much as half.