Volume LXV Number 4

April/May/June 2012

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
April/May/June 2012 - Volume LXV Number 4

In this quarter’s TACT newsletter...
Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 7 Page 8 Page 10 Letter from the President
by Peter Hugill

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead

Southwest Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

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 © 2012 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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

President’s Letter
by Peter Hugill TACT President

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Possibly the most worrisome recent development on the management, if that’s the right word, of Higher Education, is what seems like an accelerating trend to outsourcing (aka privatization). This has recently appeared in my university, Texas A&M, and is being imposed on us in the name of saving money by the Texas A&M System, which we, as faculty, have no input through the normal mechanisms of faculty governance, such as senates and the like. We have already had the privatization of the system by which we have to request, book, and be reimbursed for travel on state business. Although there were plenty of problems with the old system, and it often took an inordinate amount of time to get reimbursed, the new system seems both convoluted and expensive. Each request for travel generates $7.78 for the company that is providing this service and the faculty member has to pay, even if they are traveling on their own dime. Previously one filled out a simple form and one’s department head signed it, saying you had official reason to travel. And then, if you have to change anything, they charge you again for every change! Several colleagues say the company steers them to higher priced flights and hotels than they are able to find on their own, and since it’s a travel company doing it, one presumes they are using a captive audience to garner extra profits. From everything I and others have seen thus far, it looks like a convoluted mess. Our Chancellor now wants to privatize landscaping, cleaning, maintenance, food services and the like. While it is not impossible to see that privatization may well improve some areas, and some areas are of relatively

little concern to faculty (such as landscaping and food services), the issue of maintenance and cleaning are problems. Colleagues on campuses where this has gone further indicate that privatizing cleaning seems to have resulted in higher levels of pilfering and lower levels of cleanliness. On a major research campus such as ours, one needs access to maintenance 24/7. A power outage or air conditioning failure in a scientific lab can mean more than discomfort; it can spell disaster for a major research program. One has a clear sense that it is not so much about saving money but rather that our administrators do not want to have to do the hard work of managing some of the people they are supposed to manage, such as the people who run landscaping, cleaning, maintenance, and food services. Although privatization has long been touted by the right as the answer to many problems, it has also produced its share of problems. To take but one example, Prime Minister Thatcher made a fetish of privatizing as much of the British economy as she could get away with. In the sphere of rail transport, Britain saw a sharp rise in accidents as maintenance was deferred. Now the United Kingdom has the ludicrous situation of a regulatory system to prevent such accidents that is nearly as large as the bureaucracy that was swept away by privatization. Overall costs have risen, not fallen, and none of its users seems to want to defend a rail transport system that is increasingly perverse in terms of inscrutable pricing, service levels, and service quality compared to the old nationalized system.

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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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director

Several weeks ago, I communicated the following to the TACT Board of Directors to encourage thought in preparation for our June 2 board meeting. If you have thoughts about our upcoming legislative agenda, I’d like to hear them. Chuck April 18, 2012 Years ago at a TACT meeting, we had a guest speaker who, if not endorsed, at least outlined an “elitist” concept of higher education in which limited resources are targeted where they realize the most return on investment. Since then, we’ve seen TEXAS Grants come and go (O.K., half of them), tuition explode (including using some of it for tuition set-asides which are under great scrutiny in other states), Closing the Gaps – which has put many more fannies in seats as graduation rates only inch higher – limiting individual access to rounded educations by restricting hours required or available in order to get people out so others have space to get in, proposals to pay for hitting target numbers such as graduates (which would eliminate the threat of failure as an option to encourage learning), a proliferation of programs – particularly professional ones such as law and medicine – using the geographic diversity argument (but really because an influential legislator can get it done to bring home the bacon), and other developments which dilute quality. The private sector in a time of flat revenues would consolidate people, programs and real estate – but they don’t have the geographical concerns of policy-makers elected from districts.

Education debt has surpassed credit card debt. Former students with degrees but not jobs spend their spare time (which is all of their time) with other unfortunates at Occupy Wall Street gatherings. Employers say they have jobs for entry-level people if they could work well with others and juggle multiple projects, but that isn’t taught. Party’s over. For years we have argued for more. We want higher salaries, more tenured professors, better benefits, opportunities to teach our specialized preferences. TACT has been darn successful in realizing much of its agenda because we have thoughtful leaders who communicate well and spend their time writing articles on these subjects and pounding the pavement at the Capitol. We will again be competing with social services and public education for funding in January, and we may be arguing for our piece of a comparatively smaller pie. We need to think and communicate harder – more targeted. In the past we have agreed that higher salaries must be our plank to recruit members. Let’s think outside the box. Our agenda should be two issues this time, and I’m looking for recommendations about what those two issues should be. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you at our board meeting in Austin on June 2.

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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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

Southwest Teaching and Learning Conference
Texas A&M University-San Antonio hosted the 4th Annual Southwest Teaching and Learning Conference on their new campus March 30-31. TACT co-sponsored the conference, which was attended by approximately 200 faculty from a variety of colleges and universities. Attendees and participants came from as far away as Boston and California. The focus of the conference was the use of new technologies in the instruction of college students, especially students from traditionally underserved populations. Texas A&M System Regent Elaine Mendoza was the keynote speaker at the plenary session luncheon. TACT was represented at the conference by staffer Zack Phillips and Immediate Past President Gary Coulton.

Texas A&M University - San Antonio.

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

Dr. Coulton manning the TACT booth.

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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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

Texas A&M University System Regent Elaine Mendoza and TACT Immediate Past President Gary Coulton take a break at the Southwest Teaching and Learning Conference at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

Gary Coulton and Zack Phillips recruit new TACT members at the Southwestern Teaching & Learning Conference at Texas A&M UniversitySan Antonio. (Photo: Dennis L. Elam)

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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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

Congratulations to the New TACT Officers!
President-Elect: Cynthia Simpson (Sam Houston State University) Vice President of Legislative Affairs: Mary Jo Garcia Briggs (Texas State University) Vice President of Membership: Chad Rose (Sam Houston State University)

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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
2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

AUSTIN – The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) today formally released the 2nd edition of the Texas Public Higher Education Almanac. In 2004, under a directive of Governor Rick Perry, the THECB launched an online Accountability System for public institutions of higher education. Since then, the THECB has continuously improved the system to include more data and information — achieving national recognition as a “best practice” model for collecting and disseminating higher education data. At a press conference held at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Gov. Perry and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman Fred Heldenfels IV noted that the 2012 Almanac represents a sustained effort to promote transparency, accountability, and the value of higher education to Texas taxpayers, including students and their families. “Higher education plays a vital role in the development of Texas’ economy and our role as a national leader and global competitor,” Chairman Heldenfels said. “The 2012 Almanac is a snapshot that will not only allow us to better identify our successes, but also assess areas for improvement.” “Access to a college degree is more critical than ever, and we must maintain our dedication to transparency, which is essential to making higher education more affordable, accountable and accessible to Texas students,” Gov. Perry said. “This almanac is an important tool in those efforts, not only because it offers transparent data that is valuable to a student in the process of choosing a school, but also because it holds our colleges and universities accountable as they pursue efforts to improve their graduation rates, create more affordable degree options and achieve standards that will keep our state a leader in higher education.” Utilizing information submitted by two-year and four-year public institutions to the THECB, the 2012 Almanac spotlights state and national data relating to postsecondary costs, access and completion. Key data and highlights include: • Enrollment in all Texas higher education institutions (two-year and four-year public, independent, and career institutions) has increased 53 percent since 2000. • The annual number of degrees and certificates awarded at all Texas higher education institutions has increased by 61 percent since 2000, but accelerated progress is needed to meet student success goals. • Texas ranks 28th nationally in attainment of Bachelor’s degrees. • Texas ranks 44th nationally in attainment of Associate degrees. • Texas ranks 27th nationally in average tuition at public, four-year institutions ($6,350). • Texas ranks 3rd nationally in average tuition at public, two-year institutions ($1,512). • 22.6 percent of students enrolled at a public four-year university were enrolled part-time. • 70.8 percent of students enrolled at a public community college were enrolled part-time, • Of every 100 students enrolled (full- or part-time) at a public university, 57 students earned a postsecondary degree within six years; 30 students were no longer enrolled at any institution and earned no degree at the six year mark. • Of every 100 students enrolled (full- or part-time) at a public community college seeking a degree, 27 students earned postsecondary degree or certificate within six years; 59 students were no longer enrolled at any institution and earned no postsecondary award at the six year mark.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release (cont.)

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

The THECB launched the Closing the Gaps by 2015 initiative in 2000, which intends to bring Texas to parity in higher educational attainment with the ten largest states. In 2007, the Perryman Group, one of the most prominent consulting firms in Texas, studied the economic impact that achieving the goals of Closing the Gaps would have on the state and concluded that, by 2030, Texas would experience increases of $489 billion in total spending, $194 billion in gross state product and $122 billion in personal income. Furthermore, Texas would see an increase of one million new jobs and experience a return on its investment in higher education of 8:1. “The Texas Public Higher Education Almanac is an indispensable resource not only for policymakers, researchers and higher education leaders, but also for anyone interested in higher education in Texas,” said Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “By providing accurate, timely data regarding our public colleges and universities, it enhances transparency and highlights key institutional performance measures.” Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes noted that the 2012 Almanac is greatly enhanced over the inaugural edition as it includes various data related to part-time students and highlights key issues in higher education such as transfer, developmental education and finance. “We recognize that traditional accountability measures are not well-suited for Texas universities and community colleges that serve non-traditional students,” explained Commissioner Paredes. “For this reason, the 2012 Almanac includes graduation rates for part-time students, as well as a 10-year graduation rate to account for students who take longer to complete their degree programs. We believe this offers a far more comprehensive perspective on student success.” The 2012 Almanac also represents a working collaboration between the THECB and various private philanthropy groups working with the State to improve higher education in Texas. The THECB acknowledges the College for All Texans Foundation, Educate Texas, and Houston Endowment, Inc. and the Lumina Foundation for Education for providing financial support to produce the 2012 Almanac. The 2012 Almanac is available online at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s website at www.thecb.state.tx.us/almanac.

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Link to the Full Higher Education Almanac Site

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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 SW Teaching & Learning Conference New TACT Officers 2012 Higher Education Almanac Press Release GRF Contributions

The James M. Puckett, Ph. D. Government Relations Fund
GRF is the voluntary contribution section of TACT. All donations are used to further TACT’s legislative activity on behalf of our members. GRF is non-partisan, but is used to persue our legislative agenda.

Click Here to Contribute!

Thank you to the following contributors!
Jonathan Coopersmith Gary Coulton Mary DeShazo Frank Fair Chuck Hempstead Russ Higham Andrew James Harvey D. Johnson Joe Kemble Doreen Kinkel John Payton Debra Price John Rugh Cynthia Simpson Andrea Williams Texas A&M Chapter

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