Monday, September 18, 2000
10:30 A.M.
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, 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 Monday, September 18, 2000.


Senator Teel Bivins
Kirbyjon Caldwell
James Hooten
Betsy Jones
Nancy Marcus
Elaine Mendoza
Senator Bill Ratliff
Jeff Sandefer
Karen Shewbart
Senator Royce West
Pam Willeford (ex-officio)

Chairman Jim Adams
Commissioner Tony Garza
Margie Kintz
Senator Carlos Truan
Danny Vickers


Acting as Chairman, Betsy Jones called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m. There being a quorum present, the following business was transacted.

Ms. Jones advised that the first order of business was to approve the minutes of the August 21, 2000 meeting. James Hooton moved to approve the minutes. Without objection, the minutes were approved.

Betsy Jones introduced Senator Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, who welcomed the Commission.

Ms. Jones then introduced the Chancellor for Texas Tech University, John Montford, who discussed the growth of Texas Tech University and factors that have contributed to that growth.

Dr. David Schmidly, President of Texas Tech University, addressed goals for the University, which include access and diversity, enhanced scholarly and research excellence, improved use of communications technology, improved community engagement, and increased partnerships and collaberations. He cited a recent poll conducted by Research America which showed that 97% of Texans believe that Texas should be a leader in science and technology, and that 95% feel that spending money on science and technology research is important to Texas' economy.

Dr. Schmidly said Texas Tech recently admitted the largest and most diverse freshman class in the University's history, and discussed growth in graduate enrollment.

Senator Royce West asked whether the Top 10% law helped Texas Tech achieve its best class in terms of diversity. He also asked about the impact of the TEXAS (Grant) program.

Dr. Schmidly said that the Top 10% rule has helped, though perhaps not to the extent that it has helped Texas A&M and the University of Texas. Texas Tech's success is largely a result of extensive outreach. He also said TEXAS Grant and other programs like it help. He said Texas Tech uses about $4 million per year to enhance financial aid programs.

Ms. Jones turned to John Opperman to begin the discussion with an explanation of the goals for this meeting.

The Commission members' discussion focused on possible goals, objectives, and action items in the following areas: Access and Participation; Technology, Economic Development, and Excellence.

Following the discussion, Ms. Jones called Dr. Max D. Summers, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and of Genetics and Biology, and Director of the Center for Advanced Molecular Science at Texas A&M University, who was invited to address the Commission on the topic of Research.

Dr. Summers delivered a PowerPoint presentation from the faculty perspective on the challenges of incorporating research into the educational process and the impact on research education on the economy of Texas. He testified that university-based research is the key to America's future. Texas must develop a knowledge-based economy that maximizes prosperity for all its citizens and ensures global competitiveness across all regions. The role of research universities as an engine driving economic change is in teaching and research education.

Dr. Summers defined the major characteristics for successful entrepreneurship within the research university setting. A faculty member develops an idea and presents the idea to a superior to seek funding. The faculty member must assemble a team, manage a budget and manage personnel. A successful product can result in patents, royalties, licenses, and professional recognition; but, the greatest product is knowledge and successful students who have had the opportunity to lean to problem solve, obtain information, and apply it in productive and creative ways.

Dr. Summers testified that the challenge is being able to foster an entrepreneurial culture within the process without compromising the fundamental university responsibility to teach. Entrepreneurial activities must be allowed to occur and flourish. Professors need to be in a position to be more competitive for extramural funds. He cited that $24 billion in public and private research funds has resulted in 4,800 patents and 400 new companies.

Senator Teel Bivins asked who paid for the patents. Dr. Summers replied that patents are paid for by the university, but that royalties are later used to reimburse the university.

Betsy Jones asked whether the work in the lab supports the teaching. Dr. Summers replied that the research enables him to keep current information in front of the students. He provides links on the internet to his students so that they can do practice exercises.

Jeff Sandefer asked on what promotion is based. Summers replied that ten years ago, his experience was that promotion was based on research only, but now it is based on both teaching and research.

Senator Bivins asked what Dr. Summers would recommend be done with indirect costs. Dr. Summers recommended that lawmakers look into how indirect costs are used @ to build and strengthen the research infrastructure. The funds could be used as incentives.

Senator West asked whether patents from research are owned by the university or by the funding entity. Dr. Summers replied that federal entities generally give the patent to the institution. Different rules apply to private entities. Royalty income is shared.

There was no public testimony.

Dr. Opperman asked members to submit feedback prior to the next meeting, which will be held on October 19, 2000 in Austin, Texas.

Senator Bivins suggested that members should note their objections so that future discussions may be more focused.

There being no further business, at 4:01 p.m., Betsy Jones moved that the Commission stand adjourned. Without objection, it was so ordered.

Jim Adams, Chair
Kimberly Berry, Commission Clerk