Thursday, March 23, 2000
10:00 a.m.
University of Houston - Hilton Hotel
Houston, Texas


Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rules, a public hearing of the Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities was held on Thursday, March 23, 2000.


Chairman Jim Adams
Senator Teel Bivins
Kirbyjon Caldwell
James Hooten
Dr. Betsy Jones
Margie Kintz
Nancy Marcus
Elaine Mendoza
Jeff Sandefer
Senator Carlos Truan
Pam Willeford (ex-officio)

Commissioner Tony Garza
Senator Bill Ratliff
Karen Shewbart
Danny Vickers
Senator Royce West


Senator Teel Bivins called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. There being a quorum present, the following business was transacted.

The following members arrived after the roll was called: Chairman Jim Adams

Senator Bivins advised that the first order of business was to approve the minutes of the February 15, 2000 meeting. Elaine Mendoza moved to approve the minutes.

Without objection, the minutes were approved.

Senator Bivins introduced the newly appointed member of the Commission, Mr. James Hooton of Houston, Texas. Senator Bivins also announced that the next Commission meeting will be held in Austin, Texas on April 11, 2000.

Senator Bivins presented the Senate Education Committee's Report on K-16 Partnerships.

John Opperman gave a brief explanation of the meeting format and introduced the first presenter, Dr. Charles A. Ratliff, Ph.D., consultant for the Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan and former Deputy Director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Dr. Ratliff gave a brief history of the California higher education system and explained the structure of their system. California has a centralized applications system such that students apply to the system and list their preferences and then are assigned to a school.

California's community colleges serve 85% of the population and focus on liberal arts and remediation. The state colleges serve about 365,000 students with emphasis on liberal arts and sciences. State colleges are limited to master's degree programs and are restricted to the top third of high school graduating classes.

The University of California system serves about 160,000 students. They have exclusive jurisdiction on Ph.D. and professional programs. Their freshman pool is limited to the top eighth of high school graduating classes.

Dr. Ratliff testified that California has encountered some problems. Local control of community colleges put them at odds with the state higher education governance boards. Attempts to instill accountability have led to the community colleges now being micro-managed. Categorical funding is used by the state as a tool to get universities to do what statute cannot because they would not pass.

Some changes are under discussion to remedy some of the problems, including instilling centralized governance of community colleges and narrowing their mission, integrating K-16, and instituting a post-secondary longitudinal tracking system. There is also discussion about whether to expand the university system or to base funding on whether the entity can demonstrate progress towards its goals.

Dr. Ratliff also spoke of the reasons why California's attempts at creating a virtual university have failed. He testified that California's mission was to create a money-making venture rather to enhance capacity. Participating institutions played along, but the faculty did not want to be a part of it. Courses offered often duplicated distance learning courses already in existence.

Chairman Jim Adams introduced Dr. Judy Hample, Vice Chancellor of the Florida State University System. Dr. Hample discussed Florida's Strategic Plan. She testified that the impetus of the plan was that financially, the state could not continue to fund a system of universities that are all things to all people, and that access and production must be enhanced. Dr. Hample spoke of the recent restructuring of Florida higher education in four areas: mission differentiation, enrollment management, research corridors, and accountability.

The Florida model focuses on mission differentiation. Since Florida could not fund a world-class institution at each university, the system allows a university to excel in its specific mission. Florida's Research I Universities focus on producing an unlimited number of Ph.D.s but limit undergraduate enrollment. Research II Universities have no limit on undergraduate enrollment and can have specific Ph.D. programs. And, Florida's Comprehensive Universities are predominantly undergraduate, but do have master's programs. Comprehensive Universities may have limited Ph.D. programs under special circumstances.

Florida uses a "2+2" model for enrollment management. This means that most students first enroll in a community college for 2 years and then transition into 4-year university. Dr. Hample testified that only 20% of Florida's high school graduates go directly to a four-year institution.

Florida has formed three research corridors in major geographic regions of the state, and has developed a research plan that targets specific disciplines and industries. Florida is specifically targeting the microelectronics, aerospace, health, information technology, and environmental science industries.

Higher education funding goes to the state's governing board, which determines how to allocate money based on mission priorities that it sets for each institution. Funding allocations are also tied to accountability measures and goals, which are based on measures related to effectiveness, excellence, and efficiency.

The Commission members broke into groups to meet with representatives of Texas universities to discuss Models of Excellence.

The members reconvened at 2:45 p.m. There was no public testimony. Chairman Adams asked members for feedback on the Models of Excellence break-out session. Jeff Sandefer, Betsy Jones, and Margie Kintz each said the session was very helpful.

There being no further business, at 3:05 p.m. Chairman Adams moved that the Commission stand adjourned. Without objection, it was so ordered.

Jim Adams, Chair
Kimberly Berry, Commission Clerk