Volume LXIV Number 2

Oct/Nov/Dec 2010

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Oct/Nov/Dec 2010 - Volume LXIV Number 2

In this quarter’s TACT newsletter...
Page 3 Letter from the President
by Gary Coulton
TACT Board of Directors 2010-2011 President Gary Coulton University of Texas San Antonio President-Elect Peter Hugill Texas A&M VP of Financial Affairs Frank Fair Sam Houston State University VP of Membership Mark Gaus Sam Houston State University VP of Legislative Affairs Cindy Simpson Sam Houston State University Directors At Large Elizabeth Lewandowski Midwestern State University Allen Martin University of Texas - Tyler Debra Price Sam Houston State University Executive Director Chuck Hempstead (512) 873-7404

Page 5 Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead

Page 7 Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills Page 9 An Open Letter to George M. Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Page 10 Legislative Update
by Cindy Simpson

Page 11 Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference, and Upcoming Conference Dates Page 12 GRF Contributions Page 13 Membership Renewal and EPLI

TACT
Texas Association of College Teachers 5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, Texas 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423
Copyright © 2010 by the Texas Association of College Teachers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without permission; Chuck Hempstead, Editor.

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Letter from the President
by Gary Coulton TACT President

It’s hard to predict the future. I wouldn’t be so pretentious as to claim that I possess the ability to see what the Texas Legislature will do in the upcoming session, but I’m sure that there will be many issues that affect college teachers. With the exception of individuals who’ve been in a coma for the last several years, everyone should be aware that the state is facing a huge (likely record-breaking) budget shortfall. Speaking of predicting the future, even experts (who should be fairly good at accurate prediction) don’t agree how large the shortfall will be. Their estimates range from $15 to $25 billion for the 20112013 period. Major problems like this one require serious responses. Such economic crises basically present two choices. One is to increase income; however, in the present political climate simply mentioning the word “tax” creates a great deal of push back. The other choice is budget cutting. A majority of insiders (approximately 160 former office holders, lobbyists, etc.) informally polled believe that spending cuts will be the legislature’s first response (Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune, November 22, 2010). And now for the really bad news, 95% of the same insiders agree that higher education presents a very attractive target for the budget cutters. With the current push to lure businesses from other states (e.g., California) it seems counterintuitive that higher education would be a prime target for budget cuts. Somehow making severe cuts to our state universities seems counterintuitive when the state government is talking up how many companies are moving to Texas from other states. If nothing else, I guess this reflects that state officials prefer to take a short-term view here. Two other relevant issues bound to come up in the upcoming legislative session are, elimination of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and amending the concealed handgun law to extend to college and university campuses.

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Letter from the President (cont’d.)
Representative Fred Brown (R-Bryan) has submitted a bill that would merge the THECB with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), effectively doing away with the former agency. The gist of Rep. Brown’s rationale is that the proposed change would support Texas’ K-20 (kindergarten through college) model of education (provision of a seamless transition through the education process). He also cited savings to the state that could be realized by combining the agencies. However, TACT supports keeping THECB separate from TEA, because Texas needs a strong Higher Education system, and folding THECB duties into TEA would only increase the bureaucracy and politicization of education. Regarding the concealed handgun issue, bills to allow individuals with concealed weapons permits to carry a handgun on campus were introduced during the 2009 session by both Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) and Rep. Joe Driver (R-Garland). Both bills failed, but similar ones have been introduced for the 2011 session. TACT is opposed to permitting anyone but police officers or other security personnel to carry firearms on college or university campuses. We don’t wish to minimize the seriousness of actual “active shooter” events on campuses. But TACT believes that the risk of the shooting of students with “carry permits” far outweighs the possible benefits of such a law. What can you do if you would like to be heard regarding the issues discussed here? First, if you aren’t already a TACT member – please join. Second, contact your State Senator and Representative (as a private citizen, not using university stationary or e-mail) and express your views. I hope you all have a great holiday season. Take care.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director

At the risk of anything I write about the upcoming Legislative Session being outdated by the time the ink dries (O.K., the electrons settle), here’s what I’m seeing. And don’t kill the messenger. A Senator earlier in the week told me that the theme under the dome might as well be “Nothing Good is Going to Happen.” While this may sound cynical, let’s look at the context: • Serious, serious budget shortfall to cover current services. Some are now whispering $28 Billion in the red. While sales tax revenues seem to have turned the corner and are inching up, they’ve got a long way to go to get back to where we were. Same with the business franchise tax (remember we can’t have a business income tax, and doesn’t that school property tax reduction tradeoff feel so good?). And nobody’s expecting to hear an updated revenue estimate from the Comptroller, possibly until January. • The Rainy Day Fund. Eight Billion Dollars waiting to be tapped in years when revenues fall below expectations, right? Doesn’t that sound like TODAY? One would think, except that it is liable to be the biggest political football in the State except the Dallas Cowboys (oops, bad example). Not only does it not nearly fill the hole when placed next to the “no new taxes” promises, shrewd legislators are holding back their support for future leveraging. Some are (rightly) claiming it’s finger-in-the-dyke at best since the budgeting process and revenue sources are so structurally deficient. • Redistricting. Always a show stopper. Remember, the top priority of a politician is to get re-elected, and holding out support for a districts map nearly always slows or halts progress on everything else. Anybody want to invest in a hotel in New Mexico or Oklahoma??? • Voter I.D. slash immigration reform. Did you hear about the legislator who camped out for TWO NIGHTS so that she could be the first to pre-file her bills on Arizona-like documentation of legal status. Now that’s dedication, and it’s part of her four-bill package.

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Executive Director’s Report (cont’d.)
• Casino gaming. O.K., you’ve heard about this one before (for 30 years?), but we’ve got to find some money somewhere. The recent electoral success of the moral majority looks like gambling may be a non-starter, and even if adopted wouldn’t generate revenue for years. Enough. I could go on, but the point is that the budget, national political mood and largest-ever Republican dominance sets a new landscape. The emotion of these issues is well beyond the legislation filed naming the hamburger the State Sandwich of Texas. Elsewhere in this issue you will find more specifics about what TACT will be doing for Texas faculty, and we will be updating you as fast as we can. Remember last summer when the TACT Board met with the Commissioner of Higher Education regarding the controversial proposal to fund part of higher education based on outputs, such as course completion? The proposal now enjoys a business coalition including the Texas Association of Business and the Governor’s Business Council. How can you help? Make it a point to meet your Representative and Senator in your district, before they come to Austin in January. Tell them that you understand the situation in which they find themselves, but bankrupting future intellectual talent in our state is not an option. To paraphrase a rather familiar call to action, “Remember the TEXAS Grant!!!”

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

HOUSE
HB 86 - Concealed Carry on College Campuses - By David Simpson Allows for anyone with a Texas concealed handgun license to carry on a college campus, or inside of any building in which an activity sponsored by the institution is being conducted HB104 - Abolishing the Higher Education Coordinating Board - By Fred Brown Would abolish the Higher Education Coordinating board and fold their duties under TEA HB 136 - Course Dropping Limits - By Mark Shelton Would set a limit on the number of course an undergraduate student can drop in his academic career. Exceptions include: sickness, caring for a sick loved one, a death in the family, or military service which would keep them from completing the course. HB 50 – Establishing a University of Texas School of Law in the Rio Grande Valley - By Eddie Lucio III This bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to do a feasibility study of having a Law School in Cameron or Hidalgo Counties.

SENATE
SB 28 – Eligibility of the Texas Grants Program - By Judith Zaffirini This updates the criteria for Texas Grants. While need is still the priority, grants will initially be awarded based on merit as well, with an emphasis on higher level math and science courses taken. SB 29 - Eligibility of Post Doctorate Fellows and Graduate students to participate in Health Benefit Programs - By Judith Zaffirini Allows for Post Doctorate Fellows and Graduate students to participate in the same Group Benefits plans that other faculty can participate in.

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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

SB 36 - Effectiveness of University Advising Programs - By Judith Zaffirini Would use student surveys and “objective, quantifiable measures” to judge the effectiveness of academic advising departments

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills (cont’d.)
SB 52 - Tax Free Textbooks - By Judith Zaffirini Would make textbooks bought by students exempt from sales tax beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the third Friday in August and ending at 12 midnight on the second following Sunday, and beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the second Friday in January and ending at 12 midnight on the second following Sunday. SB 164 - Fixed Cost Tuition Option for Undergraduates - By Florence Shapiro Would effectively “lock in” tuition rates based on the rate charged for any course when that student was a freshman. For courses that weren’t offered that academic year the tuition would be calculated to be the same as an equivalent course. This would not affect optional fees required SB 200 - Reports from the Higher Education Coordinating Board - By Judith Zaffirini Would require the Board to look at all of the reporting metrics they use and determine, along with the help of the legislature, Comptroller, and other “interested state agencies and stakeholders” how the reporting process could be improved, including the cancellation of some reports.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
An Open Letter to George M. Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany
Editor’s Note: Below is an open letter written by Dr. Gregory Petsko of Brandeis University to the President of the State University of New York at Albany about the trade-off of trying to balance budgets by the elimination of courses and degree programs in areas that were considered “losers” by the bean counters. The job of the President is “to find ways of solving problems that do not require the amputation of healthy limbs” which is exactly what SUNY did. With budgets being slashed across the state, it is important to remember that colleges and universities should provide a balanced education for their students, and that ultimately, it is impossible to determine what courses and topics will be most necessary for the country to succeed in a decade’s time. The letter can be read in its entirety by going to this link: http://www.genomebiology.com/2010/11/10/138

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Legislative Update
by Cindy Simpson Vice President of Legislative Affairs

Now that the election is over, it is time to look at our favorite 140 days of the biennium: The Texas Legislative Session. In preparation, your board members visited with legislators and staff members during our recent conference. After hearing their thoughts, we spent time debating and agreeing to a list of legislative goals, which are as follows: • • • • Maintain current funding levels of TEXAS Grants. Oppose legislation allowing individuals to carry concealed handguns on college campuses. Oppose the Coordinating Board appropriation formula recommendation of eliminating the tenure track faculty in undergraduate courses supplement. Increase Texas faculty salaries to achieve parity with the other 10 most populous states.

I hope that at this point you are thinking to yourself “How can I help?” In a meeting with a member of the Senate Higher Education committee’s staff about what we can do, he told us very simply: “Testify in person. I can give the members hundreds of pages of research, but it won’t have nearly the same impact as one person giving oral testimony to the committee.” When we know of a time that we need oral testimony we will put out an alert so that any member of TACT can come down to Austin and make your voice heard in person.

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

As always, I encourage you to contribute to our government relations fund. This will be an expensive legislative session. Join me in helping to defray a small portion of the expenses incurred by your dedicated officers spending their time on your behalf. Donate to the GRF by clicking here.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference

Dr. Gary Coulton, TACT President.

Dr. Peter Hugill, TACT President-Elect.

Keynote Speaker Robert Nelson, former TACT Board Member and President of UT Pan American, speaks about his faculty perspective as a university president.

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

TACT Upcoming Conferences:
Spring February 25-26, 2011 Fall October 28-29, 2011 Spring February 17-18, 2012 Fall October 26-27, 2012

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

The James M. Puckett, Ph. D. Government Relations Fund
The TACT Dr. James M. Puckett, Ph.D. Government Relations Fund is a result of optional contributions made by those committed to TACT’s heightened public affairs program. It is not used for candidate contributions, but for activities that will increase awareness of TACT among opinion leaders of public policy. Your contribution will assist in TACT’s legislative efforts to improve Texas higher education. All expenditures are approved in advance by TACT’s President, President-elect and Legislative Committee Chair.

Click Here to Contribute

Thank you to the following contributors
Gary Coulton Jonathan Coopersmith Mary Lynn DeShazo Frank Fair Clarke Garnsey Chuck Hempstead Harvey Johnson Elizabeth Lewandowski Andrea Williams George Parangimalil Robert Strader Debra Price

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Membership Renewal and EPLI
If you or any of your colleagues has not renewed your TACT membership, then your Educators Professional Liability Insurance has expired! If you could listen to the stories we hear about faculty mistreatment by students and administrators, legal coverage would be a no-brainer. Losing one’s job or a million dollar settlement is a huge price compared to what TACT-provided EPLI will cost you. From the informational First Alerts and eBulletins to year-round advocacy in Austin, TACT is here to serve you. In fact, we are currently going through all of the pre-filed bills for the 82nd Legislative Session and will continue to update you. In order to renew your TACT membership online at www.tact.org under “Join TACT” or over the phone by calling (512) 873-7404.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pre-Filed Higher Education Bills An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York At Albany Legislative Update Pictures from the Fall 2010 Conference GRF Contributions Membership

Visit www.tact.org, and join TACT Today!

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

Thank You for Your Support. Have a Happy and Restful Holiday Season!

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