Tribpedia: Higher Education

As UT Inquiries Mount, So Have Frustrations

Members listen to committee reports at the Board of Regents meeting for The University of Texas System on Feb. 14, 2013.
Members listen to committee reports at the Board of Regents meeting for The University of Texas System on Feb. 14, 2013.

More than 2,000 pages of heavily redacted email documents — many pages were blacked out entirely — clearly reveal growing tensions among regents and top administrators at the University of Texas System and its flagship university. The Tribune and others sought the documents after Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa resigned earlier this year.

Francisco Cigarroa answers questions after resigning his post as UT System Chancellor on Feb. 10, 2014.
Francisco Cigarroa answers questions after resigning his post as UT System Chancellor on Feb. 10, 2014.

Rift Between UT-Austin, UT System Appears to Deepen

Though 2013 ended with signals that the years-long rift between the UT-Austin administration and the UT System Board of Regents might be mended, a review of documents suggests that doesn't appear to be in the cards.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin.
University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin.

In Cigarroa's Wake, Major Gains and Significant Discord

Francisco Cigarroa's five years as chancellor of the University of Texas System were as notable for what was achieved as they were for the level of discord reached at the system and on its board of regents. In some ways, given Cigarroa's atypical background, his arrival was more surprising than his impending departure.

Neal Smatresk: The TT Interview

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The president of the University of North Texas on his institution's unique approach to fixed-rate tuition, how he hopes to get students to graduate on time and what the school is going to do about its revenue shortfalls.

Senator Wendy Davis addresses the Texas Democratic Women’s Convention in Austin, TX.
Senator Wendy Davis addresses the Texas Democratic Women’s Convention in Austin, TX.

Wendy Davis Weighs in on UT Chancellor Search

In a letter on Friday to Paul Foster, the chairman of the University of Texas System board of regents, gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, encouraged the system to conduct an "open, transparent and thorough national search" for a new chancellor.

A ninth-grade student returns a classroom calculator to its pouch after a pre-advanced placement algebra class at Bowie High School in Austin.
A ninth-grade student returns a classroom calculator to its pouch after a pre-advanced placement algebra class at Bowie High School in Austin.

Despite New Law, Algebra II Still a College Requirement

Though a new law removes algebra II as a core requirement for a high school diploma, many Texas universities say they have no plans to change their admissions standards to drop the advanced math course. Instead, higher education officials say many schools will continue raising the bar for new applicants.

The Main Building of The University of Texas at Austin.
The Main Building of The University of Texas at Austin.

Lawmakers' Role in UT Admissions Under the Microscope

The University of Texas System has been conducting an inquiry into whether lawmakers have undue influence in admissions decisions at the University of Texas at Austin. An email obtained by the Tribune could shed light on the deliberations. 

Students cross a bridge over a resaca on the University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Southmost College campuses on Monday.
Students cross a bridge over a resaca on the University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Southmost College campuses on Monday.

Faculty Association Sues Over Job Losses in Brownsville

The Texas Faculty Association filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College on Thursday on behalf of three former faculty members alleging wrongful termination and age discrimination.

 

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek at a Texas Tribune event.
Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek at a Texas Tribune event.

Sources: Perry Backing Janek for UT Chancellor

Gov. Rick Perry is quietly lobbying for current Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas System. UT's board of regents is looking for someone to replace Francisco Cigarroa, who said earlier this month that he will leave the post as soon as a replacement can be found.

News App: Higher Ed Outcomes Explorer

Each year, some 300,000 students begin eighth grade in a Texas public school — kids who will have far better prospects as adults if they finish high school and enroll in and complete a post-secondary certificate or degree. Use this app to track the educational milestones of every student who started eighth grade in a Texas public school between 1996 and 2001, broken down by region, county, ethnicity and gender. 

John L. Junkins, distinguished professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University and the founding director of its Institute for Advanced Study, talks at a meeting in the the Hagler Center on campus.
John L. Junkins, distinguished professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University and the founding director of its Institute for Advanced Study, talks at a meeting in the the Hagler Center on campus.

Texas A&M University Expands Emerging "Genius Corps"

Nine internationally renowned researchers from various fields will be welcomed on Friday as fellows of the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study, part of a group that administrators have nicknamed the Genius Corps. The idea has been backed by professor John Junkins since 1999 but only recently took off.

Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp, photographed at the System offices in Austin on March 14, 2013
Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp, photographed at the System offices in Austin on March 14, 2013

A&M Partners With IBM to Enhance Computing

In an effort to bring the Texas A&M University System's supercomputing capabilities — which A&M Chancellor John Sharp called "woefully inadequate" — up to speed, the system has announced a new partnership with IBM.

Low Completion Rates for Online Courses Spark Debate

The results of UT-Austin’s first full-semester foray into massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are in. But advocates for the classes, which are free or close to it, and open to anyone with an internet connection, recommend looking beyond the fall completion rates — ranging between 1 percent and 13 percent — to measure success. 

University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, Jr. laughs during The Role of Regents panel at TribFest on September 28, 2013.
University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, Jr. laughs during The Role of Regents panel at TribFest on September 28, 2013.

Online Public Records, With a Hint of More to Come

The University of Texas System is publishing a little bit of public information online in a way that makes it obvious what it ought to do next. Information about requests for public records is published, but not the public records produced to answer those requests.