An act of kindness ...

Last week was Primary week in Texas, and while many races were decided on March 6, more than 30 races will go to a May 22 runoff. The Texas Tribune has the rundown of what happened in the primaries here. One race many higher education watchers had their eye on was that of Kel Seliger, the Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, who avoided a runoff by less than 350 votes. Since House Speaker Joe Straus announced his retirement, not only is his seat in the Legislature up for grabs (contenders Matt Beebe and Steve Allison will face each other in the May runoff), Straus’ position as Speaker, which is decided by the Members in January, is also open. Thus far, three candidates have emerged – Tan Parker, Phil King and John Zerwas.

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We Have Your Back

A New York Times piece featured UT Austin’s progress in increasing graduation rates through a series of innovative programs and the use of predictive analytics that build a “we have your back” community of support for students who may otherwise struggle to succeed. The University is forecasting it will hit its goal of graduating 70 percent of students within four years “helping to make room for more than 1,000 additional freshmen. Even more impressive, the gap between the campus-wide four-year graduation rate and the rate for low-income, black, Latino and first-generation students has been cut in half.”

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Compromise

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“I am very happy here.”

A bipartisan group of senators, including Texas’ John Cornyn introduced legislation to “hold campus leaders accountable for sexual abuse that happens on their watch.” The bill comes on the heels of the sentencing of Larry Nassar, convicted of abusing hundreds of female gymnasts, and accusations that Michigan State University mishandled allegations against him. “University officials must be responsible stewards of students’ trust, especially when they come forward with unthinkable allegations of abuse,” Senator Cornyn said. “This legislation would ensure reports of sexual misconduct against campus employees have been thoroughly reviewed by university leadership.”

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Latest Updates

  • Man Eaters

    Last week The University of Texas System Board of Regents named James Milliken as the sole finalist for the role of UT System chancellor. Milliken is the former chancellor of the City University of New York. In a statement Milliken said he would “welcome the opportunity to play a lead role in advancing this system of outstanding universities in the 21st Century.” According to the Texas Tribune, “Larry Faulkner, who has led the system on an interim basis since the former chancellor, Admiral Bill McRaven, stepped down in May, is expected to keep his position until Milliken's appointment is finalized and he can begin the job.” Additional coverage of the announcement can be found in the Austin Business JournalHouston ChronicleInside Higher EdThe Eagle and the Daily Texan, among other publications.

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  • Texas Universities in Service to Our Country

    The University of Texas System is the proud new home base for U.S. Army Futures Command. The Command is a new entity and is part of a reorganization of the Army. It will be responsible for “coordinating modernization efforts and integrating innovation across the Army.” In making the announcement, the Pentagon indicated Austin was selected “because of its already-vibrant ecosystem of innovation, civic engagement and higher education, which includes UT Austin, one of the top-ranked research institutions in the nation,” according to the UT System.

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