Higher Education

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News & Politics|
October 21, 2014

The Creation of Baylor

Never has the Waco university been so big, so rich, so athletically powerful, or so committed to becoming the country’s first elite Protestant university. What does its ambition mean for its identity?

Politics & Policy|
April 11, 2014

Assuming No One Else Volunteers

Recounting a controversial episode from his five years as head of the UT System, outgoing chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said, “I always give my honest recommendation, because at the end of the day, I have to sleep with myself.”

The Daily Post|
April 3, 2014

Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson Is Cool With Abandoning The Three-Year-Rule For College Football Players To Enter The NFL

Patterson's desire to take the UT brand to China and Dubai may have grabbed the headlines, but the bigger deal could be that he's comfortable dropping the three-year-rule that requires college football players to wait to enter the NFL Draft.

Politics & Policy|
January 30, 2014

Tuition Increases at Texas A&M

UPDATE: I spoke with a friend and high-ranking official at Texas A&M who reminded me that the Aggies have the lowest tuition of any school in the prestigious Association of American Universities.The news from Texas A&M that the board of regents is contemplating an increase in tuition and fees at

Politics & Policy|
May 21, 2013

Confirming the New UT Regents

UPDATE: The Nominations Committee has approved all three nominees the UT System Board of Regents. The full Senate will take up nominations next.I walked in the east door of the Capitol yesterday with Senator John Whitmire. He asked if I was going to nominations. I said I was.

Politics & Policy|
March 19, 2013

Sauce for the Gander

Today was the long-awaited meeting of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance. This was strictly an organizational meeting, and no members of the UT Board of Regents were present. But it was another front in the increasingly tense battle between the UT System Board of Regents and UT

Politics & Policy|
February 5, 2013

UT (nervously) awaits next batch of Perry regents

From a statement by the Texas Exes, the university’s alumni association:The terms of three distinguished members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents expired this past Friday. These appointments will be made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.* * * * If the new regents are anything like the

January 21, 2013

Rick Perry Is Still Newsworthy

From Satan to sleep apnea, five headlines about Rick Perry following his Friday night appearance at the Texas Tribune festival and the publication of Oops, a presidential campaign e-book by the Trib's Jay Root.

Texas History|
January 20, 2013

Ring of Fire

On November 18, 1999, at 2:42 a.m., the most passionately observed collegiate tradition in Texas—if not the world—came crashing down. Nearly sixty people were on top of the Texas A&M Bonfire when the million-pound structure collapsed, killing twelve, wounding dozens more, and eventually leading to the suspension of the ninety-year-old

Texas History|
January 20, 2013

The Aggie Bonfire Tragedy

What’s so important about a stack of wood? Every Aggie knows that the answer is tradition—which is why, after a catastrophe that took the lives of twelve young men and women, the decision of whether to continue, change, or call a halt to the bonfire looms so large at Texas

Politics & Policy|
October 16, 2012

Taxes for UT?

The university says that it cannot build and operate its proposed new medical school without a permanent source of funding. It is seeking an increase in local property taxes (amounting to $107.40 per homeowner for the average home), the revenue from which would help fund the medical school. Austin historically

News & Politics|
September 30, 2012

Storming the Ivory Tower

For the past four years, a group of passionate reformers has been steadily trying to remake how higher education works in Texas—over the screams and howls of many professors and school presidents. Last year the battle came to UT. And the bombs are still flying.

Politics & Policy|
September 20, 2012

The battle over UT

I wrote the cover storyin the current issue of TEXAS MONTHLY. The subject is the future of higher education generally and the threats to the academic reputation of UT-Austin in particular. In the story I deal with Governor Perry’s attempt, starting in 2008, to control higher ed by

Politics & Policy|
September 19, 2012

Is Fisher moot?

The case of Abigail Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action case involving undergraduate admissions to UT-Austin, is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court some time this fall. I wrote about the case in an April BTL, and last night, I

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