The Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities Holds Public Hearing in El Paso
El Paso - The Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities was called to order today, June 12, 2000, at the University of Texas at El Paso by Chairman Jim Adams of San Antonio . Members of the Commission include Kirbyjon H. Caldwell and James Hooton both of Houston, Betsy Gobel Jones of Lubbock, Margarita Diaz Kintz of Austin, Nancy Cain Marcus of Dallas, Jeff Sandefer of Austin, Elaine Mendoza of San Antonio, Karen L Schewbart of Lake Jackson, Danny Vickers of El Paso, Tony Garza ,Railroad Commissioner of Austin, and Senators Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi, Bill Ratliff of Mt. Pleasent, Teel Bivins of Amarillo and Royce West of Dallas.
The commission was welcomed to El Paso and heard opening remarks by Dr. Diana Natalicio, President of the University. Natalicio spoke about how her university enrollment mirrors the demographics of the surrounding metropolitan area.
Following the president was a presentation of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Dr. Martin Basaldua, M.D., vice chair of the board and Dr. Don Brown , commissioner of the board presented the goals of the board's planning committee's draft report. These goals include increasing the percent of the Texas population enrolled in a Texas college or university from 4.9% to 5.5% and closing the gaps in enrollment rates across Texas by adding 500,000 more students by 2015. Also by 2015 they plan to increase the level of federal research funding to Texas institutions by 50 percent; increase the number of degrees and certificates from high quality programs and other student successes in college and universities by 50 percent, with an emphasis on increasing technology graduates. And finally, increase substantially the number of nationally recognized programs or services at each Texas college and university to raise the quality of higher education in Texas to a point where it is a least equal to the best in the nation.
After the presentation by the board the commission heard from Dr. Roger Benjamin. He reported to the members on the Rand/Cae study - a study performed for higher education in Texas, including future needs and projections - for the THECB. This was followed by public testimony.
The commissions next meeting will be held in Austin sometime in August.