She served in the post when the committee was first created, but Dewhurst replaced her with state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, at the start of the 2013 session. In late 2012, Dewhurst had also swapped Seliger for Zaffirini as chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee.
The committee was created by Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, in 2011 amid controversy over the governor's vision for the state's higher education policy.
State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who will not be returning to the Legislature following an unsuccessful bid for attorney general, was originally named co-chair along with Zaffirini. Under that leadership, the committee held five hearings.
Last session, the committee was reconstituted with Branch and Seliger as co-chairs, but it met only once.
In a statement, Zaffirini thanked Dewhurst, who is also leaving the Legislature after a failed re-election effort, for restoring her to one of the committee's top slots, and added, "It is critical that we continue to prioritize not only accountability, excellence and transparency, but also best practices for the governing boards of Texas colleges and universities."
In the remaining months of the interim session, Seliger will take the position of vice co-chair, which Zaffirini has held since losing the co-chair position.