Back in Session
This week the Texas Legislature gaveled in the 83rd Legislative Session and higher education will be one of the top agenda items discussed, debated and legislated during this Session. Cost, accessibility and quality are all topics of discussion, as well as the potential appointment of 16 regents to Texas university systems. Texas, of course, isn’t the only state where higher education is a hot topic. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities this week issued a report on the “Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2013.” The full report can be viewed here, but the issues range from state support to college readiness and online education. Many of these same issues continue to dominate discussions in Texas. The Coalition will continue to be a thoughtful voice in any debate on higher education as we have since our inception in June of 2011. We believe in the critical importance of both teaching and research, we promote quality in higher education, and we support university leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to a culture of excellence and continual innovation. We also support the efforts of those universities that are working to achieve Tier One status, which would bring additional research and development capabilities, and create jobs and economic opportunity throughout Texas. This legislative session we will champion those efforts to improve quality education for Texas students and criticize any so-called “reforms” that will undermine the quality and integrity of our universities, especially our Tier One institutions.
Premont, a 480-student school district in south Texas, went from threat of closure to meeting state standards within five short years and the school’s unique partnership with Texas A&M Kingsville is credited with helping the turnaround. Eric Ramos, the interim superintendent said the “support that the university has offered has allowed us to focus on improving the self-efficacy and the capacity of the teachers,” he said, describing the partnership as "amazing.” A&M provided “support, training, mentorship and opportunities to the students, teachers and administrators.” State education officials are studying the partnership for clues about how to replicate the model for other districts around the state.Continue reading
Red Raiders in Costa Rica
Texas Tech this week announced two expansions, one into Costa Rica and another into the Permian Basin, where the school will construct a new academic facility to build on its existing Health Sciences Center. In San Jose, Costa Rica, the institution will build a new branch campus to, according to President Lawrence Schovanec, “advance our reputation and competitive position by preparing our graduates to live and work in different cultures.”Continue reading