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Statement on the first anniversary of the University of Texas System’s “Framework for Advancing Excellence”

Statement by Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D., Director of TPPF’s Center for Higher Education
Press
Highlights: 

“The Texas Public Policy Foundation stands by our praise of the goals articulated by the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence. However, since the Framework was written, the current has shifted beneath the System’s Austin flagship university.”

“The Texas Public Policy Foundation stands by our praise of the goals articulated by the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence. However, since the Framework was written, the current has shifted beneath the System’s Austin flagship university.

“The University of Texas is to be commended for its implementation of the Collegiate Learning Assessment to assess how much its students gain in ‘general collegiate skills’ between their freshman and senior years. Unfortunately, as the Washington Post reported in March, students at UT-Austin ranked in the 23rd percentile among peer institutions.

“We cannot speak credibly of ‘advancing excellence’ in public higher education without taking first into account whether and how much students increase their knowledge as a result of investing four years in college. While increased graduation rates, online learning advances, sponsored research, increased advising, and the like are important goals, to focus on these rather than the central goal of student learning serves little purpose.

“A truly effective effort to advance excellence must result in time, effort, and resources being redirected to teaching undergraduates, whose education seems to have taken a back seat to other priorities. At UT and universities across the country, the growth of administrative costs has outstripped that of instructional costs for many years. For this, students pay a high price – both financially and educationally.

“Cutting administration and increasing the teaching of non-publishing faculty constitute a genuine effort to advance excellence in educating students – the criteria that should define the existence of UT and every other university. This would better position UT to satisfy many of the lesser but laudable goals established by the Framework in its current form.

“Texas has a proud history of paving the way for reform in many policy areas. With the leadership of Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and the UT System Board of Regents, UT is well positioned to become a leader for colleges and universities across the state as well as the nation. Through reducing administrative overstaffing and increasing the teaching of its faculty, UT can show how to increase education quality while reducing the financial burden on students and their families.”

Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.

Primary website: www.TexasPolicy.com

Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/TexasPublicPolicyFoundation

Twitter feed: www.Twitter.com/TPPF

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