Maintaining Excellence and Efficiency
Public higher education in Texas will face radical change if a series of proposals now being discussed are adopted.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) think tank and some state leaders are advocating a business-style, market-driven approach under which colleges and universities would treat students as customers, de-emphasize research that isn’t immediately lucrative, and evaluate individual faculty by the tuition revenue they generate. Advocates of these proposals see them as a necessary response to the rising cost of higher education, a cure for a system they suggest is inefficient and inaccessible.
We disagree. We do not believe this is the right response to the problems now facing higher education or one that recognizes The University of Texas at Austin’s proven levels of efficiency and excellence in educating Texas students.
The challenges for Texas’ colleges and universities are very real: statewide, 17 percent of students graduate in four years and about half finish in six. Just 62 percent of Texas high school seniors took the SAT or ACT in 2009. Of those, only 27 percent scored at least 1100 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT, the gold standard of performance that top colleges expect.
Although the state has made some progress in closing achievement gaps in higher education, it continues to miss several important targets on goals established in 2000. These include increasing Hispanic enrollment, awarding more degrees to African American students, and awarding more degrees in fields related to technology.
Maintaining Excellence and Efficiency at The University of Texas at Austin
A response to the seven “breakthrough solutions” and other proposals
Dean Randy L. Diehl and the Executive Leadership Team, College of Liberal Arts