Higher Education

Latest Columns

Protect college admission laws that reward merit, hard work

It is troubling to know that there are some who propose repealing the top 10 percent plan this legislative session. Repealing the program would limit academic and life opportunities for some of the most deserving Texas students. A repeal is simply inconsistent with our values as Texans and how we reward the people who demonstrate those values.

The defining challenge of Texas

If we want Texas to grow in a way that enhances our prosperity, advances our quality of life and preserves the things that make our state special, we will need take full advantage of the talented people residing within our borders. Higher education must play a leading role.

Big questions about dual credit in Texas

As dual credit expands, we simply must find a way for analysis to keep pace with this movement. My greatest concern is for students who take dual credit courses in high school with the best of intentions — only to find out that they are not adequately prepared, academically or developmentally, for the rigor and social challenges that await them after high school.

Dual credit programs are good for Texas, but need improvement

While the benefits of well-designed and well-implemented dual credit programs were well recognized, little was known about how the programs were changing during this rapid expansion and what differences those changes were making for student learning. Overall, our study suggests that dual credit education has been a benefit to the state of Texas.

Students aren't the only beneficiaries of dual credit education

Studies confirm the positive gains made by students who have access to college credit in high school. Data reveal that students’ exposure to even one dual credit course improves student outcomes in college. These gains aren’t difficult to find, especially if you look closely at the outcomes data or hear the stories from students who have personally experienced dual credit.

UT lawyers say professors don’t have academic freedom

For educators like me, academic freedom means the right to speak freely in a classroom, to say things that elsewhere are not open for discussion. Our constitutional freedom of speech is often legally limited in private workplaces. But not in public universities, until now: Lawyers representing UT-Austin claim that professors don’t have any constitutional right to academic freedom.

A leadership master class

In 2015, after one of the most storied and accomplished military careers in memory, McRaven took on one of the most challenging and important jobs in Texas, chancellor of the University of Texas System. For the last 3 1/2 years, he has performed in a consistently outstanding manner.

Free speech under assault at Texas Southern University

It's a sad day for universities across Texas whenever bullies prevent speech and a variety of views from being presented. It’s even sadder when administrators of these universities silence free speech in order to appease disruptive extremists. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened on the campus of Texas Southern University earlier this week.

The Texas-sized hole in our workforce

Just over 70,000 of the Texans in eighth grade in 2006 have earned degrees from Texas colleges. But nearly 100,000 people move or immigrate to Texas each year with college credentials. We are importing talent when we should be doing a better job cultivating it here at home.

College readiness drops back ten years in Texas

Once students pass exams that place the college-ready flag next to their names in state computer systems, they are allowed to walk into any two-year Texas community college after graduation, or four-year college program into which they are accepted and start taking credit-bearing coursework towards degree or certificates. What happens if they don’t have that flag?

Muny’s fate must be considered with UT’s interests in mind

It is natural for many to advocate leaving Muny and the tract alone. We would agree completely if the challenges of fulfilling UT’s mission were different. Unfortunately, things have changed a great deal even in the last 10 years: UT now finds itself in a city suffering an affordability crisis even as the Legislature continues to cut financial support to the university.

Why strip UT students of opportunities?

As the Legislature considers taking the Lions Municipal Golf Course away from the University of Texas, we have heard many voices in the debate: neighbors, golfers, historians, university administrators, and, of course, politicians. But so far, neither the lawmakers who are facing a vote nor the journalists who are facing a deadline have sought the opinion of the one group that would be most directly affected by a change at the West Austin property: UT students.

Good policy is more than civic virtue

Contrary to the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and the presidential cabinet nominations that followed, qualifications matter. Public service may be a calling, but good policy is made from more than civic virtue. Leaders need training.

Dear Baylor: Your Students Deserve Better

By now, most Texans are familiar with the reports of Baylor University’s mishandling of sexual assaults in the past few years — the secrets, the lack of reports, the intimidation, the retaliation, the lawsuits — all at the expense of survivors. As a representative of a state coalition compromised of over 80 programs across Texas seeking to combat sexual violence, I find what Baylor did unacceptable and downright wrong.

The real story behind UT's tuition increase

If you were to believe the sound bites about tuition at public institutions in Texas, it would be easy to assume higher education is an unchecked behemoth that wastes money and wreaks havoc on students. While it is certainly true that there is room for improved efficiency, it is time to take a clear-eyed look at the facts.

It’s time to help Texas become a national research leader

Historically, accolades and attention for major scientific research have gone to the two coasts in the United States, with big-name universities on the East Coast and federal research labs on the West attracting the majority of research funding and resources. But Texas is now emerging as the Third Coast of scientific research and innovation

In wake of Oregon tragedy, gun control activists miss the point

The renewed campus carry debate at the University of Texas at Austin is just the latest example of the cognitive disconnect demonstrated by gun-control activists in Texas who have no problem seeing a movie at a theater, shopping at a mall or worshipping at a church that allows concealed carry — but are absolutely terrified of stepping into a classroom that does the same.

Let Powers stay

I implore anyone else with an ounce of burnt-orange pride to join me in resisting calls for University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers' ouster. Support the man who has supported UT so well over the past eight years.

Powers must go

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers has been actively insubordinate on the job amid years of strife with the UT System. It's time for him to step aside.

Kill the grading curve

My work at the University of Texas at Austin has helped draw attention to why poor students struggle to graduate from college. But there's another reason why many students don't graduate: the grading curve. Let's get rid of it.

Wallace Hall should step aside

Wallace Hall's continued presence on the UT board of regents will further complicate the university system's efforts to move beyond this toxic environment, particularly as it seeks to fill the role of chancellor.