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.
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Coalition Responds to Cigarroa ResignationOn the heels of the resignation of the Chancellor of the University of Texas System, Francisco Cigarroa, the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education issued the following statement:
“Chancellor Cigarroa’s resignation is a serious loss to the University of Texas System and higher education across Texas. Under Chancellor Cigarroa’s visionary leadership, the UT System has realized many important achievements in its academic and health institutions, and he is to be applauded and thanked for his service, particularly under increasingly challenging and divisive circumstances.“We call on the UT System Board of Regents to conduct a thorough, diligent national search for the next Chancellor, and seek to identify an individual qualified for and experienced in managing the complexities of a statewide system inclusive of academic, research and medical institutions. The next chancellor of the UT System must have an appreciation for thorough input from all stakeholders in decision-making and a vision for the future of higher education in the evolving academic environment with the primary goal of enhanced excellence.“We applaud Chancellor Cigarroa’s willingness to ensure continuity of leadership by staying on throughout the search for his successor. We encourage Chairman Paul Foster to continue making strides to improve the working environment at the UT System and between the campuses, and look forward to a search process devoid of political interference and focused on academic excellence.”Continue reading
Chancellor announces he is stepping down to return to medicine full timeUniversity of Texas System (news release)Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., a nationally renowned leader in higher education and pediatric transplant surgery, announced Monday morning that he will step down as head of The University of Texas System after a five-year tenure marked by groundbreaking accomplishments. Cigarroa will serve as chancellor until his successor is named, and afterward will become the head of pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Cigarroa will also serve as a special liaison to the Board of Regents to advise on the development of the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and medical school, Chairman Paul Foster said.Before being named the first Hispanic chancellor of the UT System in late 2008, Cigarroa served as president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio from 2000 to 2008. Cigarroa said at a news conference Monday that it always had been his plan to return to medicine full time, but he did not know the perfect opportunity at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio would unexpectedly present itself in late 2013.