Tribpedia: Higher Education

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.

TribBlog: The Paredes Plan

Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes wants to change the way public universities and colleges are funded in Texas. Today, at a meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, he will lay out his latest plan to do just that.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

M. Smith on the frailties of electronic voting machines, Hu on the big bump in early voter turnout, Chang talks to the national coordinator of Health Information Technology, Hamilton on why the nondiscrimination policies of state university systems don't include sexual orientation, Aguilar on the prospect of high school football referees on strike, Stiles updates our government employee salary app to include 20 more public agencies, Philpott on where the candidates in HD-52 stand on fast growth, Galbraith on damage to Texas roads caused by heavy truck traffic, Grissom interviews the first Hispanic sheriff of Harris County and my one-hour sit-downs with Rick Perry and Bill White: The best of our best from October 18 to 22, 2010.

College Orientation

More than a quarter-century has passed since a landmark suit against Texas A&M University established the right of gay student groups to form on college campuses. Yet all these years later, half of the university systems in the state — the Texas A&M University System, the Texas State University System and the Texas Tech University System — do not include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies.

Friday Night Lights Out?

The drama of the gridiron has found its way into a federal courtroom in a standoff between the Texas Association of Sports Officials and the University Interscholastic League. With the threat of a lockout of referees and their ilk, the result could be the hiring of scabs to replace them — or even the halting of games — just weeks before one of the year's most eagerly anticipated moments in Texas: the start of high school football playoffs.

Data App: Community College Pay

About 60 percent of Texas students who continue their education after high school start out at community colleges, whose payrolls have not been part of our database of public employee salaries — until today. We've added in the pay of nearly 20,000 administrators and faculty at seven Texas community colleges and college districts: Houston Community College, Dallas County Community College District, Alamo Colleges, Lone Star College, Austin Community College, Collin College and Tarrant County College. While the median salaries at community colleges are comparable to those of state universities, dramatic differences can be seen at the margins.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on the fastest-growing charter school chain in Texas, Hu on the continuing legal fights between tort reformers and trial lawyers over the state's windstorm insurance pool, Hamilton on the push for accountability in Texas colleges, Philpott on legislative skirmishing over federal education funds, Grissom on misdemeanor convicts choosing jail time instead of probation that's more expensive for them but cheaper for the state, M. Smith on Bill Flores' challenge in what's billed as the hottest congressional race in the country, Ramshaw looks at scandals that have put some otherwise safe statehouse incumbents in deep electoral trouble, yours truly on the closest and ugliest race on the statewide ballot and Galbraith and Titus on pollution from idling vehicles and why it's so hard to control: The best of our best from September 27 to October 1, 2010.

The A Word

The halls of public universities are buzzing about the push for accountability, especially as Texas works to catch up with states that have already taken up the mantle — and dealt with some of the inherent difficulties — of a data-driven examination of higher education.

Veronica Cervantes, an Austin Community College student, participates in a rally on the University of Texas at Austin campus to support the Dream Act.
Veronica Cervantes, an Austin Community College student, participates in a rally on the University of Texas at Austin campus to support the Dream Act.

DREAM Deferred

The defense bill blocked by Republicans in the U.S. Senate could impact Texas. One of the measures that failed to move forward was an amendment that would have given some undocumented immigrants a path to legal status through education. Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports.
Veronica Cervantes, an Austin Community College student, participates in a rally on the University of Texas at Austin campus to support the Dream Act.
Veronica Cervantes, an Austin Community College student, participates in a rally on the University of Texas at Austin campus to support the Dream Act.

TribBlog: Dream Rally

A group of people who typically prefer to stay out of the limelight gathered this morning to urge lawmakers to support the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Galbraith's three-parter on the battle over wind power transmission lines, Grissom on a convicted killer who got probation, Aguilar on how the U.S. census counts inmates in the Texas prison system, Stiles launches a new interactive tool tracking the candidates for governor, Hamilton on the Texas A&M University System's latest accountability measure for faculty, Hu's interview with Democratic megadonor Steve "Back to Basics" Mostyn, Philpott on how the Texas economy compares to that of other states and Ramsey on the start of the 2010 election sprint: The best of our best from Sept. 6 to 10, 2010.

Charles Miller, chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents, conducts a regular meeting on August 6, 2003 in San Antonio.
Charles Miller, chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents, conducts a regular meeting on August 6, 2003 in San Antonio.

Charles Miller: The TT Interview

The former chairman of the UT System Board of Regents on why demography is destiny, why higher education isn't necessarily the key determinant of the state’s economic future, why Texas doesn't need more tier-one schools and how colleges abuse the financial aid system.

Accountability U.

Like a conglomerate auditing balance sheets, the Texas A&M University System has for six months been dissecting the financial contribution of every faculty member on its 11 campuses around the state, subtracting the salary of each from the tuition and research money he or she brings in. The resulting metrics present in stark detail exactly where the system gets the most and least bang for its payroll buck — and have raised the hackles of professors at all levels, who liken the approach to grading assembly-line workers on widget production.

Should Everybody Go to College?

Ask anybody — from the president of the United States to your high school guidance counselor — and you'll probably hear the same, seemingly obvious thing: Higher education is the key to financial advancement. But is everybody going to college a realistic goal? And would the world really be better if we achieved it? Mose Buchele of KUT News reports.
A National Guard soldier receives a seasonal flu shot in Virginia in 2009.
A National Guard soldier receives a seasonal flu shot in Virginia in 2009.

Off-Base?

The Texas commission charged with aiding economies hit by military base closures will spend millions for a vaccine plant in Bryan-College Station — even though the region’s military base closed nearly five decades ago.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Galbraith on grass, federal money and efforts to prevent another dust bowl, Ergenbright on school suspensions and who gets punished; Aguilar's interview with Alan Bersin, whose job is to keep the U.S./Mexico border secure, M. Smith on why it would be harder than you think to ditch the 14th Amendment, Adler and me on whether controversy is politically contagious, Ramshaw on the flap over funding for the state's institutions for the disabled (it's not about the money), my meditation on the state's fiscal woes (including a $1.3 billion deficit in the current budget), Philpott on proposed cuts to the state's food stamp program, Grissom on the push by Hidalgo County officials for a special election that might not be legal; Hamilton on the seven Texas universities that are making a play for Tier One status and Stiles on the mid-year cash-on-hand numbers reported by campaigns and political action committees: The best of our best from August 16 to 23, 2010.

The Tracks of Our Tiers

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It could take years before the seven emerging research universities in Texas (Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas at El Paso) transform themselves into top-tier research campuses — if they do at all. But the state now pays them for demonstrated progress toward that goal, pitting them against one another in competition for limited funds. Officials from all seven will appear before a joint hearing of the House and Senate higher education committees today, seeking to show off progress to lawmakers and to size up where they stand against their peers.