Amid slowing college enrollment, fears of missing goals

Representative Dan Branch, Republican of Dallas, does not want to hear about the state’s education goals not being met, the Texas Tribune reports.

“It makes me very sad and frustrated,” Mr. Branch said at a recent hearing of the House Higher Education Committee, which he heads. “I get heartburn, and I tend to get cranky.”

At that hearing, Raymund A. Paredes, the state’s higher education commissioner, outlined Texas’ latest enrollment numbers. According to preliminary data gathered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the total number of students attending college this fall increased by just 12,000, to about 1.563 million, over the previous year, a significant slowing in the state’s progress toward its objectives. The state set its growth record in 2009, when fall enrollment climbed by 122,000 in a year. Mr. Paredes told the committee he was “stunned” that three years later the growth rate was so much lower. He said he had expected a decline, but he would have been more comfortable with an increase of 30,000 to 40,000 students……Read More

Does Texas higher education have a morale problem?

When Chancellor Bruce Leslie implemented a new progressive discipline procedure for tenured faculty at San Antonio’s Alamo Colleges in August, it was not well received, reports the Texas Tribune. Among the unacceptable behavior listed: “loitering and loafing during work hours” and “disrespectful attitude towards a supervisor such as back-talk or ‘grumbling.’”

“I hate to say this,” said Dawn Elmore-McCrary, an English professor at San Antonio College and chair of the faculty senate, “but there was some grumbling about the language.”

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Higher ed “Coalition for Excellence” formed in Texas

A powerful group of individuals–including former regents, former university system chancellors and former university presidents–from around Texas have joined together to address the state’s ongoing higher education controversy, reports the Texas Tribune. The new group, the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, was unveiled today, as was a new website,

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Colleges rewarded for outcomes, but which ones?

During the regular session, Gov. Rick Perry’s top legislative priority for higher education was the implementation of a financing system that rewards universities for graduating more students, not just for getting students into classes, reports the Texas Tribune. To reach its 2015 goals, Texas needs to increase the number of degrees awarded by 46,000 each year. A financing system that includes more “outcomes-based funding” has strong support, including that of Raymund Paredes, the Texas higher-education commissioner, and business leaders like Woody Hunt. But policy makers cannot agree on what outcomes to measure and how to encourage them…

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