"You can’t legislate morality or civility"
“No one should be shouted down … We need to put an end to that. But you can’t legislate morality or civility — I get that,” said Sen. Joan Huffman during a State Affairs Committee hearing on campus free speech issues last week. In the wake of a series of incidents on college campuses nationally, and here in Texas, where conservative speakers had been dis-invited or shouted down because of their political views, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tasked the panel with coming up with solutions to “protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.” The panel was co-hosted by Texas State University and held in San Marcos. “Senators seemed to agree that no one has the right not to be offended,” according to the Austin American-Statesman account. Read more here on free speech conflicts on Texas campuses in 2017.Continue Reading
"Listening to Each Other"
The U.S. Senate will have a new bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act “by early spring” according to Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Alexander, along with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Patty Murray, are working together and “listening to each other” in order to find common ground to move the bill forward. At a hearing this week Lamar outlined the goals of the legislation: “Simpler, more effective regulations that make college more affordable and easier for students to apply for financial aid and pay back their loans; reducing red tape so administrators can spend more time and money on students; making sure a degree is worth the time and money students spend to earn it; and helping colleges keep students safe on campus.”Continue Reading
The Foundation of Our Communities
“Institutions of higher education, our universities and community colleges, are the foundation of our communities. These institutions not only provide education to those in our community, but they are also part of our culture and have a positive impact on our economy. Our universities and community colleges educate our teachers, our healthcare professionals, our skilled workforce, and future leaders. More than that, our colleges help promote a healthy democracy.” That is the opening paragraph in a Corpus Christi Caller-Times opinion editorial authored by State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa. The Senator’s commentary comes in an advance of the 2019 Legislative Session, where higher education is expected to be a hotly debated topic.Continue Reading
On this day in 1839, the Congress of the Republic of Texas set aside 221,420 acres to endow two universities, demonstrating the State’s early commitment to public higher education. Those two institutions would become Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin. The rest, as they say, is history.Continue Reading
On The Higher Ed Horizon
“University leaders began this year  expecting a bruising Texas legislative session, but they came out mostly unscathed. In many ways, the year will be remembered more for what happened on campus — not in the Capitol,” according to a roundup of higher ed news by the Texas Tribune. Funding, culture wars, tuition, #MeToo and Hurricane Harvey were just a few of the top stories that dominated headlines in 2017. With one week of 2018 under our belt, we’re already seeing a little more of the same – campus issues dominating higher ed headlines.Continue Reading
“Curiosity is an indicator of the quality of a civilization”
The Academy of Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) recently released a video that highlights the state’s role as a research and innovation powerhouse and explains more about the organization, which was founded in 2004. “TAMEST is the single most important organization to drive research in the state of Texas,” Chancellor McRaven says in the video. “It’s an intellectual engine for the state of Texas,” says Dr. Peter J. Hotez from the Baylor College of Medicine. “Curiosity is an indicator of the quality of a civilization,” said Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, former astronaut and professor at Texas A&M University. “Discovery is about answering specific questions, but also improving our quality of life.”Continue reading
"A trend or an anomaly"
Rice, Texas A&M and UT Austin all made the top 50 when it comes to Forbes’annual “America’s Best Value Colleges” list. The schools were ranked 25, 29 and 44, respectively. With the rankings, Forbes hopes to “help students and their families evaluate the likely return on their investment.”Continue reading