Creating Leaders, Encouraging Innovation, Promoting Excellence
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education is a group of concerned citizens who believe strongly in the power of higher education to transform lives, build our economy and shape Texas’ future. We believe a great university is an incubator of knowledge and creativity. It fuels discovery, and marries research with enhanced classroom teaching, learning, and hands-on experience. It also serves as an economic engine bringing in millions in research and development dollars, new businesses and industries, creating jobs and economic opportunity throughout Texas.
We believe we need to create high quality pathways to higher learning with partnerships linking the flagship universities with high schools, community colleges, technical schools and Tier One institutions, to ensure our educational system meets the diverse and growing needs of our population. In an increasingly global economy, future leaders must be challenged to think differently and consider the implications of diverse cultures, histories and traditions. Well-rounded and informed students are critical to keeping Texas and America competitive and attracting jobs and employers to our state.
Advocates for Texas' Future
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education is a group of volunteer advocates who believe the pursuit of knowledge must be a state and national priority. At a time when America’s ability to compete and lead the world is at risk, the research conducted, innovations developed, and resulting improved teaching at Texas’ higher education institutions are more important than ever before. We hope to advance a thoughtful, constructive and transparent dialogue around these important issues for all Texans.
Our Call to Action
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education was necessitated by the strong belief that there is a right way to improve higher education and that there is a wrong way that could have long-term damaging effects on our institutions of higher learning, our state's economy and on our future. Current recommendations being floated - from dramatically expanding enrollment while slashing tuition to separating research and teaching budgets, and seceding from a recognized and respected accreditation organization - are decidedly the wrong way. We believe our public university presidents and chancellors have earned our support with their ongoing commitment to a culture of excellence and continual innovation, while also working to cut operating costs and institute reforms. We also believe it is critical to regularly and openly evaluate the performance of our universities, and do so in a public and transparent way.
This website is intended to be a place for the latest news and information on the debate over high-quality higher education in Texas and for the exchange of open constructive dialogue about continued improvements.
Bills were killed or passed at a furious pace this week in the mad dash to finish out the Texas Legislative Session. A number of those bills impact higher education but none quite as drastically as the budget, which passed late into Sunday morning after concessions were made from both House and Senate negotiators. The final budget dips into the Rainy Day Fund for $1 billion, and employs an “accounting trick” to delay transportation funding approved in 2015, for the remaining shortfall of nearly $2 billion.Continue reading
Waging War on Mediocrity
The University of Texas community awoke today to the sad news of the passing of Peter T. Flawn, who had twice served as the university’s president. "Peter was a visionary leader at UT, a beloved friend and a wise counselor to me and many university presidents," said UT Austin President Greg Fenves. Flawn was president from 1979 to 1985 where he “declared a ‘war on mediocrity,’ pushing the university to pursue greater academic rigor and excellence.” He served a second term as interim president during the presidential search that brought Larry Faulkner into office. In 1979, Flawn wrote the Widget Theory of Education, a satirical look at attempts to treat students like widgets and universities like businesses. Flawn’s warnings have seemed particularly prescient in recent years.Continue reading