Volume LXIV Number 3

Jan/Feb/March 2011

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Jan/Feb/March 2011 - Volume LXIV Number 3

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 8 Pressure Building on Faculty to Increase Graduation Rates
by Frank Fair

Page 12 Some Fear Budget Cuts Could Erode Education Gains in Texas
by Lori Stahl

Page 14 New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Page 15 Is There Hope for Higher Education?
by Cindy Simpson

Page 18 TACT: Around Town Page 19 GRF Contributions Page 20 Membership

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 © 2011 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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

President’s Letter: A $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree?
by Gary Coulton TACT President

In his recent State of the State Address, Governor Perry posed a very unusual challenge to Texas’ University Systems. He challenged them to develop Bachelor’s degree programs that cost students dramatically less than the current state average tuition and fees, which is approximately $26,500 for those who complete their degree in four years (this figure extrapolated from Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board data by Matthew McGowan; Lubbock Avalanche-Journal). The figure does not include textbooks, which according to a College Textbook Cost Study (James Koch, 2006) add $1,000 or more to fulltime students’ annual educational expenses. More specifically, Perry’s challenge was for public institutions of higher education to offer bachelor’s degree programs for $10,000 (textbooks included). The Governor’s stated target is for institutions to offer at least 10% of undergraduate degrees in this price range (Melissa Ludwig, San Antonio Express-News). As to Governor Perry’s motivation, Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune draws a connection between Perry’s challenge proposed and an address made in 2010 by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Gates predicted that advances in technology could reduce the cost of a college education to $2,000. According to Ralph Haurwitz (Austin American-Statesmen), Gates believes that the $2,000 Bachelor’s degree could be achieved largely through web-based instruction. It may surprise you (as it did me) that Texas already has several Bachelor’s degree programs that come in around the Governor’s $10,000 target. According to the Texas Tribune, three community colleges in Texas offer Bachelor’s of Applied Technology. Those programs offer students who hold Associate of Science degrees the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree (a rare opportunity since most colleges and universities don’t give academic credit for many courses in Associate of Science programs). Melissa Ludwig of the San Antonio Express-News reported that, ironically, in the House’s base budget, all funding would be cut to one of these institutions and all of the Applied Technology Bachelor’s programs are slated to be de-funded, but that’s another story. Of course, it’s rather rare for community colleges to offer degrees beyond the Associate’s. I think it’s safe to assume that most academics would agree that

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

3

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Executive Director’s Report (cont’d.)
offering Bachelor’s degrees is not part of the traditional mission of community colleges. However, according to the San Antonio Express-News, Bachelor’s degrees are offered by at least some community colleges in 16 states besides Texas. But that’s a topic for another column. So what is my point here? I guess I have several: 1. Certainly non-traditional students don’t require dorms and perhaps most don’t care about recreational facilities (which should mean savings for universities). But traditional students (and undoubtedly some non-traditional students) value such resources. Also, most Academics would likely agree that “Student Life” (which requires recreational facilities and the like) is an important facet of a quality undergraduate education. The bottom line here is that one size doesn’t fit all. 2. Academic institutions have learned is that sophisticated educational technology can be valuable. However, a hard lesson that was also learned is that when it comes to technology, expectations often exceed outcomes. In particular, on-line courses do not produce major savings. Why not? One reason is that no matter how advanced the technology is, (at least with current available technologies) a human being is still required to conduct/teach the course. 3. Lastly, the only way I can imagine for us to offer legitimate Bachelor’s degrees for the amount Governor Perry desires would be to greatly reduce tuition and/or student fees (which certainly isn’t what Governor Perry has in mind, and which is pure fantasy considering current economic conditions).

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

4

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director

As I write, it is too early to add any legislative developments beyond what we and other media have already shared about the dismal state of the draft Texas budget for the upcoming biennium. But be assured I will be making our opinions heard at this week’s Senate Finance Committee hearings on Article III (education). Particularly “interesting” will be Wednesday’s edition during which many of us will suggest that reducing contributions to TRS and ORP to the constitutional minimum of 6 percent is another step toward an uncompetitive position. Two charts are available on the website of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board which contain data formerly compiled by TACT. One chart is good news. (See Figure 1.) Many readers will remember that for four legislative sessions, TACT found legislative sponsors to file bills suggesting that Texas faculty salaries should be brought up to the average of the other ten most populous states, which are the ones with which Texas universities most directly compete for talent. The bills didn’t pass, but created many opportunities for TACT to discuss the importance of competitive salaries. The primary obstacle to passage was that creating parity immediately was too expensive to accomplish immediately and legislators responded to TACT’s suggestion that it be an eight year process by citing the prohibition of legislators committing future Legislatures to any specific appropriations. What you will see in the salaries chart is that we have been making progress! The reason may be that other states are more broke than we are, but the results are a 5 percent disparity compared with double digits in some previous years. Go Texas! The other chart is not so pretty. (See Figure 2.) Since TACT was instrumental in creating Optional Retirement System in Texas to offer a transportable retirement program for faculty, the state contributions have been on a two-decade slide. TACT and the Texas Community College Teachers Association, formerly assisted by lobbyists for mutual fund and insurance companies, are practically the only advocates for ORP.

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

5

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Executive Director’s Report (cont’d.)
Figure 1.
Average Faculty Salary Comparison - Texas Public Universities and Ten Most Populous States Fiscal Year 2010
Professor Associate Professor Assistant Professor Instructor Lecturer Total Includes All Ranks Total Excludes NoRank

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Texas California Florida Georgia Illinois Michigan New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Pennsylvania 10 States Average National Average

111,944 117,380 106,432 108,585 108,158 114,630 130,408 112,303 110,977 108,100 115,397 113,763 107,831
Professor

77,044 81,280 74,240 76,361 75,439 80,149 92,878 83,552 79,272 76,126 82,296 79,931 76,921
Associate Professor

67,057 71,636 64,169 64,911 66,329 67,346 74,626 68,456 66,985 65,113 65,666 67,607 64,952

45,251 53,476 47,345 43,680 41,063 45,568 50,793 54,571 58,952 43,144 47,325 46,400 45,057
Instructor

50,860 63,227 54,228 49,736 45,451 49,835 60,092 59,026 47,082 45,960 47,105 54,855 51,537
All Ranks Weighted Average

78,505 93,286 76,148 78,604 77,517 83,872 98,940 85,499 79,533 80,051 81,072 84,126 79,425

78,884 93,299 76,730 78,604 78,202 84,668 99,269 85,499 81,737 80,431 81,646 84,706 79,769

History
Assistant Professor Texas All Ranks Weighted Average Compared to Ten States

FY 2010 FY 2009 FY 2008 FY 2007 FY 2006 FY 2005 FY 2004 FY 2003 FY 2002 FY 2000

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

FY 1998 FY 1996 FY 1994

Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States Texas Ten States

111,944 113,763 109,235 111,625 104,518 107,935 99,683 102,752 95,970 98,610 91,529 95,517 86,130 93,668 85,405 91,244 84,449 87,164 76,192 80,563 70,350 73,830 63,660 69,101 60,695 64,220

77,044 79,931 75,467 78,713 72,612 75,943 69,646 72,593 67,173 69,918 64,400 67,974 60,914 66,703 60,450 65,689 58,942 63,076 54,026 58,990 50,310 54,660 39,988 51,608 43,887 37,561

67,057 67,607 66,140 66,359 63,795 64,057 61,159 60,982 59,187 58,704 56,026 56,921 53,190 55,508 52,051 54,395 50,468 51,895 45,742 48,008 42,520 44,720 39,085 42,697 37,561 39,988

45,251 46,400 44,338 45,383 43,484 43,918 41,943 42,488 40,118 40,674 39,512 39,427 37,869 38,300 36,948 37,860 34,783 37,262 34,195 34,361 32,470 32,490 29,176 30,789 28,035 29,033

78,505 84,126 76,981 82,250 74,076 79,596 71,608 76,197 69,118 73,622 66,582 71,896 63,449 70,824 62,671 69,565 61,965 66,623 57,352 62,782 53,360 58,620 48,490 55,499 46,228 51,730

-5% -6% -7% -6% -6% -7% -10% -10% -7% -9% -9% -13% -11%

Source: AAUP Survey, Includes all public I, IIA, and IIB institutions reporting to AAUP (24 of 34 in Texas). Salaries adjusted to standard nine month salary. Report excludes data where institutions reported one individual for a given institution. THECB May 2010

6

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education?
1

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

certain conditions. The TRS retirement annuity amount has no direct relationship to the actual amount of contributions made on behalf of a member because retirement annuities are determined by a statutory formula using number of years of service credit, average of five highest annual salaries2, and a “multiplier” set by state law (currently 2.3 percent). However, an ORP participant’s benefit amount is directly dependent on the actual amounts contributed, so it is more sensitive to a fluctuating contribution rate.

Contributions and interest earnings under Defending Academic Freedom both plans are not subject to federal income tax until the funds

are withdrawn or paid as a retirement annuity. TRS members who do not desire a retirement benefit may withdraw their employee contributions plus five percent interest upon termination of employment, but state contributions remain with TRS. ORP participants who terminate prior to meeting the vesting requirement forfeit state contributions made during that period of employment. Federal limits on Executive Director’s Report contributions or creditable compensation apply to both TRS and ORP, but usually only affect highly (cont’d.) compensated employees (generally, those with salaries over $245,000). These individuals should contact TRS and the Benefits Office at their institution for information about possible eligibility for grandfathering provisions and excess contribution plans.

Figure 2.

Texas Public Higher Education Retirement Contributions
(as a percentage of salary) TRS Employee 6% (of first $8,400) 6% (of first $25,000)
6.65% (of first $25,000)

Fiscal Year FY69 FY70-FY77 FY78-FY79 FY80-FY83 FY84-FY85 FY86-FY87 FY88-FY89 FY90-FY91 FY92-FY95 FY96-FY07 FY08-FY09 FY10-FY11

ORP State 6% (of first $8,400) 6% (of first $25,000) 7.5% (of first $25,000) 8.5% 7.1% 8.0% 7.2% 7.65% 7.31% 6.0% 6.58% 6.4%
1

Employee 6% (of first $8,400) 6% (of first $25,000)
6.65% (of first $25,000)

State 6% (of first $8,400) 6% (of first $25,000) 7.5% (of first $25,000) 8.5% 8.5% 8.5% 8.5% 8.5% 7.31% 6.0% 6.58% 6.4%
3 3 3 3

6.65% 6.0% 6.4% 6.4% 6.4% 6.4% 6.4% 6.4% 6.4%

6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65% 6.65%

TRS state rate may be increased to 6.644% pending Attorney General’s Opinion regarding a one-time retiree supplement. Average of three highest annual salaries for members meeting 2005 grandfathering criteria—see page 6. Institutions may supplement the state rate under certain conditions up to a maximum contribution of 8.5%.

TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

2 3

An Overview of TRS and ORP

I may confidently state that our efforts have delayed the contribution reductions, but 2 of 16 FY10-FY11 (rev. 08/2009) our job may be effectively finished if the current proposal reduces the state share to the constitutional base. Similarly, dropping the Teacher Retirement System inputs to 6 percent slows the retirement fund’s return to health. The good news is that a much larger coalition talks about this issue, but they are balancing that plank with health and other total compensation issues. Don’t expect a retiree benefit increase any time soon. Gloomy enough, yet? It only gets worse if widespread financial exigency is declared, as the public schools are predicting, to remove faculty salaries from the bottom line of the profit and loss statement. If you have stomached reading this far, maybe it’s time to share this with your colleague in the next office and suggest they see what we are doing at www.tact.org, join the cause and participate in our legislative visits planned for the morning of February 25.

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

7

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Pressure Building on Faculty to Increase Graduation Rates
by Frank Fair TACT VP of Financial Affairs Sam Houston State University “Pressure Building on Faculty to Increase Graduation Rates.” That was the headline from the Austin American-Statesman on January 9, 2011. My first reaction was one of bewilderment. I’ve been teaching in a state university in Texas since 1971, and in all that time what I have seen from my fellow faculty members is--often strenuous-efforts to enable students to succeed. The idea that faculty members are some sort of barrier that needs to be blasted out of the way by increased pressure was bizarrely out-of-kilter with my experience. But then I read farther and discovered that we were being scolded for not understanding “that all of us work for the state, that the state is in a financial crisis, and that we have to get better results for the same amount of money or even less money.” OK, I get it now. It’s a message we’ve been hearing for some time: “Do more with less.” At my university and in my particular program, we’ve been hearing the message for a number of years, and we’ve responded. We’ve increasingly gone to the very large lecture sections for courses, a move which mandated machine-graded testing for what the students are supposed to be learning, and we’ve hired a number of adjunct faculty that we don’t pay very well to do the teaching. We cross our fingers and hope that the students are learning just as much in this situation (though it is hard to see how they have a chance to become better writers in a class of 150 or more) as they would in a “traditional” classroom. Ah, but then I come to understand that the real concern is the six-year completion rate. So the “better results” is not about students learning more, but about more of them exiting from the university faster with a credential in hand. However, now I am really perplexed. No one I know on faculty wants to keep students here a single minute beyond what it takes them to achieve the appropriate level of learning. We actually are very happy to see students graduate. After all, their success is our success. Maybe it’s time to consult an expert about what factors have an impact on increasing the chances that a student will succeed in graduating in six years or less after starting college. And that expert would be Dr. Clifford Adelman. Dr. Adelman conducted a massive study which he reported on as Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor’s Degree Attainment (available from the Department of Education). What’s more, Dr. Adelman did a second massive study with a later cohort of students The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from

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

8

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pressure Building on Faculty (cont’d.)
High School Through College (also available from the Department of Education). Toolbox Revisited has a lengthy executive summary for those of us who don’t want to slog through page after page of statistical tables. Here is an important finding: “The academic intensity of the student’s high school curriculum still counts more than anything else in precollegiate history in providing momentum toward completing a bachelor’s degree.” (Toolbox Revisited, p. xviii) Not exactly a surprising finding, but one that is carefully documented with a nicelyspelled-out explanation of what academic intensity involves in terms of units of English, mathematics, history, foreign languages, science, etc. accumulated. My colleagues in mathematics would, I suspect, strongly agree that a student that had earned 3.75 Carnegie units of mathematics is much more likely to get through college more quickly than someone who has to take one or both of the two different remedial math courses we require of students who do not do test out. Indeed, of the 126 undergraduate mathematics courses offered at my university in Spring 2011, 41 were either Developmental Math I or Developmental Math II. That means that fully one third of the mathematics instruction in undergraduate classes offered at my institution is remedial--and we’re not alone. But that’s all before a student darkens the door of our classrooms. What about factors that affect their likelihood of completing a Bachelor’s degree after they are here? It will not be a big surprise to learn that a higher GPA is related to a greater chance of degree completion (Toolbox Revisited, p. xxii). But then there is this strongly-asserted conclusion: “...One of the most degree crippling features of undergraduate histories is an excessive volume of courses from which the student withdrew without penalty and those the student repeated.” (Toolbox Revisited, p. xxii)

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

Adelman follows up with this explanation: “Think of it this way: Every non-penalty withdrawal and no-credit repeat means that a set in a course is not available to someone else. Add those seats up, and admission may not be available to someone else.” (Toolbox Revisited, p. xxiii) Now, I have to wonder about the applicability of this lesson to Texas public universities for several reasons. (1) While UT-Austin and TAMU have been under enrollment caps for some time, the rest of us will take any and every student whose check does

9

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pressure Building on Faculty (cont’d.)
not bounce and who meets the minimum requirements, so no one loses a place. (2) Students in Texas are permitted a maximum of only 6 “Q-drops” or fewer if an institution so decides. In fact, our rule is no more than 5. That hardly seems excessive. (3) Also, it has been our experience that a student who drops a course before the end of the semester and thereby avoids getting an “F” on his or her transcript is more likely to return because their GPA did not “take the hit” from an “F.” What does make a difference in Texas as far as the six-year completion rate is concerned? It does not take a statistician’s tools to understand that the two public universities with the highest six-year completion rates, UT-Austin and TAMU, are also two with high average SAT scores, so academic preparation is, unsurprisingly, a factor. But then there is a story that, I’m glad to say, my university illustrates. In 2002 our six-year graduation rate, according the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, was an anemic 34.60%. In 2007 it was a much healthier 43.70%. Note an increase of nearly 1/3. Still not as good as one would like, but much improved. What happened to bring this about? Did we become more selective in whom we enroll? Not so, since the change in SAT was from 1,000 to 1,010. What then? The likeliest explanation is that we put in place in 2003 a systematic advising and mentoring program. The SAM Center, as it is called, houses a number of trained advisors who try to make sure that students get the guidance they need in selecting courses. This includes mandatory advisement for incoming freshmen and transfer students, for those with academic problems, and for those nearing graduation. The SAM Center also house academic support programs that work intensively with students in academic difficulty, helping them with training in study skills, references to tutorial support and career counseling, etc. And this was all paid for by a per capita fee collected every semester and dedicated strictly to the advisement and mentoring function, a fee approved by our student government. Finally, it is not a mystery that many of our students, in a state whose median family income was $56,607 in 2009 (according to the Census Bureau), must work to pay their bills. And when tuitions go up, as they have and they will, they need to work longer hours. The utterly predictable outcome of that process is lower GPAs and a more difficult road to completion in six years. An often-cited study of students’ work in relation to grades sums it up this way: “A statistically significant negative relationship was found between working more than 20 hours per week and grades, even after controlling for students’ characteristics and levels of engagement.” (Pike, G. et al., First-year students’ employment, engagement, and academic achievement: untangling the relationship between work and grades. NASPA Journal, 45, 4, 560-582, 2008)

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

10

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pressure Building on Faculty (cont’d.)
The moral of my story should be plain. Faculty members at public universities in Texas have no special power to control students’ prior academic preparation and have no role in lessening the students’ need to work more as tuition increases. With regard to student advising and mentoring, those of us who have seen successful programs, programs that measurably help students to succeed, are strongly supportive of such programs. Faculty members are only too happy to adopt best practices that will help more of our students to succeed and to succeed more quickly. But we need to be shown that whatever is recommended to us is something that is relevant to Texas and that will really help our students learn better and more quickly. Simply getting more people out the door with a credential in their hands can never be the goal.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

11

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Some Fear Budget Cuts Could Erode Education Gains in Texas
by Lori Stahl Reprinted with permission of the Dallas Morning News State officials have been pushing to get more Texans — especially minorities — through college for more than a decade. Although significant progress has been made, experts now say threatened budget cuts will likely hurt efforts to close the achievement gap. The issue has far-reaching implications since Texas, one of the most populous states in the country, consistently ranks among the least educated. About 27 percent of Dallas County residents have earned bachelor’s degrees, according to a new breakdown of U.S. census data by the Chronicle of Higher Education. But when viewed by race, only 18.26 percent of the state’s black adults and 8.19 percent of Hispanics have earned a college degree. That gap between the educational attainments of different races is particularly significant because much of the area’s explosive population growth is driven by those with the least education. That can ultimately be a drag on the local economy. “The single biggest predictor of income is education,” said Steve Murdock, demography expert and a sociology professor at Rice University. State officials recognized the need to improve college enrollment rates in 2000, when they adopted “Closing the Gaps by 2015.” It called for a multifaceted approach that included more college-prep support for public high school students and more aid to students from low-income families. “It was put into place particularly because of the education gap between Texas and other states and between ethnic groups within Texas,” said Susan Brown, assistant commissioner for planning and accountability at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. By 2005, a series of progress reports showed that the huge population growth would make it hard to achieve the state’s goals without an extra boost.

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

12

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Budget Cuts Could Erode Education Gains (cont’d.)
In response, state officials redoubled their efforts to align the public school curriculum to better match what colleges demand. They also increased outreach to minority students and designed programs to promote a college-bound culture. College enrollment increased, particularly at community colleges, which are often the entry point for disadvantaged students. At the Dallas County Community College District, enrollment has steadily risen among Hispanics and blacks over the past decade. But officials say the situation could change dramatically if Texas legislators stick to the budget cuts they outlined last month. “While we can’t say in any specific terms, it’s very clear that all of higher education, community colleges included, will see a reduction in state funding of between 13 and 15 percent,” said DCCCD chancellor Wright Lassiter. “That’s a part of reality.” Aid to students will likely also be on the chopping block. Without continued funding for tuition assistance, outreach, mentorship programs and other tools to get underserved student populations in college — and keep them there — experts say it will be difficult to maintain progress toward a better-educated generation. “That’s going to make it tougher all the way around. We still need financial aid,” said Brown of the Higher Education board. “The people who had a lot of money were already going to college.”

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

13

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

New Member Benefit: TACT Legislative Tracker
TACT is here to serve you, and that means you don’t have to search through thousands of House and Senate bills in order to keep yourself upated about what legislation affects you: we’re doing all of that for you. Visit www.tact.org/legislative to see the new Legislative Tracker, a frequently updated list of higher-education-related bills and their current status. This information is right at your fingertips, and will keep you informed as the 82nd Legislative Session progresses.

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

Have a question or comment about the Legislative Tracker? Log in to the TACT website and comment on news items, or take the New Poll to let us know how we’re doing.

14

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Is There Hope for Higher Education?
by Cindy Simpson TACT VP of Legislative Affairs

As the VP of Legislative Affairs for TACT, I am continuously monitoring the actions of our senators and representatives. I follow bills that eventually become law, advocate for academic freedom, higher salaries for faculty members, and higher contributions for ORP/TRS. I also advocate for keeping course loads manageable, proper allocation of faculty resources, and that the TEXAS grant will continue to provide for our many students who struggle financially to complete their college degrees. I argue against handguns on campus, increased budget cuts, and a “report card” that rates faculty members based on their “worth.” However, not a day goes by that I am not pushed up against a brick wall that I am fearful I won’t be able to break through. However, I still rise up and face those challenges that lie ahead. I do this because, I do, without a doubt, believe that there is hope for higher education. I know as many of you read your daily newspapers or watch the local news and see the allegations of mismanaged funds, rising tuition costs, or shootings which escalated from a faculty member’s denial of tenure, you must question the future of higher education. You must wonder if there is really hope. I have been around long enough to understand the bureaucracies of administration and have seen the impact that political decisions have on the recruitment and retention of strong faculty members. I see how certain pieces of legislation have left faculty members feeling isolated in their attempts to teach our students to the best of their abilities while simultaneously maintaining their research and service to the universities where they teach and the communities in which they serve. I feel for junior faculty who seek tenure in a time when travel funds are cut short and grant money is more competitive. I hear the fears they have about the large class sizes and the push to provide the same quality of education to 100 students that they provide to a class of 45. Will it overwhelm them to the degree that they are driven out of higher education? It is certainly a possibility. But, despite this, I do believe that there is hope for higher education. We all see the published polls which suggest that the general public has a perception that tenured faculty are not accountable for their actions or whereabouts. My belief in society and my hope for future generations drives me to question this. I personally witness how hard faculty work, how much they travel, and how often they meet with students. It is evident to me that most faculty want what is best for their students; they want to see their students achieving academic success. My colleagues around

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

15

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Hope for Higher Education? (cont’d.)
the world are continuously striving for improvements in higher education. They leave their families behind to obtain professional development and to present cutting edge research. They have devoted their lives to our children and to the future of our society. I also applaud the efforts of the university faculty members who have supported the increase in the number of minorities and first generation college students completing degrees, efforts which often go unrecognized. Faculty members who serve those students with disabilities in their college classrooms and make accommodations to ensure their success are also often unrecognized. Additionally, the college professors who seek out innovative technological advances or prepare future educators are often left with little recognition. A frightening thought exists that universities frequently overlook the gems in their possessions and seek out external solutions when their own faculty members have so much to offer. But faculty members still come to work, share their knowledge and expertise, and continue to use research to improve the lives of individuals throughout the world. I applaud professional organizations that do recognize the many accomplishments of their membership as I know small acts of recognition are often a key to retention of personnel in any field. The actions of legislators and some administrators alone are enough to drive faculty away from teaching in higher education. Teacher preparation faculty often are questioned as to why unprepared teachers are placed in our school systems… is this the fault of faculty or is it the result of the same aforementioned political decisions that are creating this crisis? History always has a way of repeating itself and the need for “back to the basics” will hopefully resurface. What was the original intent of higher education? Are we moving so fast in technological advances and outcome driven planning that we have lost sight of the core foundation of higher education? But, again, despite this, I do believe there is hope for higher education. This legislative session has awakened the worst in many people. Possibly this is the result of fear of losing jobs or the increased workloads as faculty positions of those leaving higher education are not reallocated. Although I share similar concerns, I remain true to my beliefs. I have a challenge for each of you: Let the brick walls we face bring out the best in you. Let it invigorate your creativity as you seek solutions to overcome the challenges. Think about the one faculty member or the one administrator who made a bad decision that resulted in a negative perception of higher education. Can you say he or she is like the one student who rolled out of bed and came to class in his or her pajamas? It happens, but you teach them anyway in hopes that one day they will see

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

16

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Hope for Higher Education? (cont’d.)
the value of education and start wearing “real” clothes to class. I am not saying that legislators or administrators are like students in PJ’s, but rather more like the progression they follow after being educated. I don’t believe the public, our state legislatures, or the students we serve will give up on higher education. Faculty members don’t give up on pajama-clad students. We do what we do because we believe our students deserve the best and we believe that the system will not fail us or our students. Society likes to focus on negative aspects, what is wrong, what failed, but all too often people forget all the good that occurs. Higher education faculty work with students and create problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and future leaders. Despite limited resources, they strive to be the best and continue encouraging and inspiring students. Some say that higher education is on a downward spiral. I say it is holding fast and will rise again. So, regardless of the legislative outcomes, I do believe that there is hope for higher education . Pat yourself on the back because you, our membership, are the reason I will continue to believe this. Keep doing what you are doing and I will keep advocating for the rights you deserve as a faculty member. Take on the challenge of using this legislative session as a means to educate those around you. . Don’t stop believing that there is hope for higher education. Now, is there hope that the budget won’t be cut? I would say I have given up on that prospect, but higher education in general...there is hope for higher education.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town 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

17

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

TACT: Around Town
Executive Director Chuck Hempstead and TACT President-Elect Dr. Peter Hugill visited the capitol on February 15, 2011. They extended an invitation to Representative Dan Branch, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, and to Senator Kirk Watson, Senate Higher Education Committee member, to speak at the TACT/TCFS/ Texas-AAUP Joint Spring Conference on February 25th and 26th. Chuck and Peter also briefed the staff of Senator Steve Ogden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, regarding the wonderful job that universities are already doing to measure teaching through the tenure-track process.

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

TACT President-Elect Dr. Peter Hugill at the Capitol.

18

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
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.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Click Here to Contribute!

Thank you to the following contributors
Al Burrs Gary Coulton Jonathan Coopersmith Mary Lynn DeShazo Frank Fair Clarke Garnsey Bob Harmel Chuck Hempstead Harvey Johnson Elizabeth Lewandowski

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

George Parangimalil Debra Price Robert Strader Andrea Williams

19

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 Pressure Building to Increase Graduation Rates Budget Cuts May Erode Education Gains New Member Benefit: Legislative Tracker Hope for Higher Education? TACT: Around Town GRF Contributions Membership

Membership
Please note the recent changes in our membership rates through the end of this membership year. • $125 Regular Membership. Professional staff, full-time faculty, librarians, administrators and other professionals. Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting 11/1/2010 and ending 10/31/2011. • $95 Affiliate Membership. Administrative assistants, retired faculty, parttime faculty, graduate students, subscription members and libraries. Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting 11/1/2010 and ending 10/31/2011. • $250 Annual Business Membership.

Renew your TACT membership online by visiting “Join TACT” or renew over the phone by calling (512) 873-7404.

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

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

20