Higher Education

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

How to boost graduation rates at the University of Texas? More student monitoring and orientation, decreased summer course fees, and increased tuition for students that have over-accumulated credits.

Those are some of the recommendations from UT’s Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates, compiled in a report issued today.

Photo by KUT News.

Report: UT Professors Provide Good Return on Investment

In the midst of an ongoing debate about how efficiently Texas colleges and universities manage taxpayer money, UT Austin has released a report saying its instructors generate nearly twice as much revenue through research funding and educational dollars as they cost the state in salary and benefits.

The report, authored by College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean Marc Musick, analyzes data released earlier this year by the UT System. A UT press release highlights some of the report's key findings:

  • All instructors generated about $658 million in teaching and research-related revenue in 2009-10. They were paid about $318 million in salary and benefits from state funds.
  • On average, tenured and tenure track faculty members earn $129,000 in salary and benefits from state funds, and each generates $280,000 in educational and research funding.
  • Among the one-fifth of instructors who teach the most semester credit hours, 56.8 percent are tenured and tenure track faculty members. Of those who teach the fewest semester credit hours, 77.2 percent are graduate students or non-tenured faculty.

While the report points out some successes, it also says UT can do better. It lists recommendations to push productivity higher, such as providing incentives to reward faculty who apply for grants and reconsidering the teaching mix to make sure there is a good balance of large and small classes.

Bluesman Doyle Bramhall Sr. Passes Away

Singer, songwriter and blues drummer Doyle Bramhall Senior passed away over the weekend at his home in Alpine. Bramhall was a key figure in helping establish Austin’s blues scene in the 70's. He wrote and co-wrote several songs for Stevie Ray Vaughan and released three of his own albums.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman

Thomas Lindsay, the man recently selected to head the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Higher Education, is no stranger to controversy. That may be considered an asset in the position, given the foundation’s role in igniting much of the debate that has gripped Texas higher ed this year.

Photo by Our Lady of Disgrace http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmocopymonkey/

What was expected to be a routine vote on a state proposition to extend a low interest student loan program may have run into a political buzz-saw called the Texas Tea Party.

On November 8, Texans will be asked to vote on ten ballot propositions. Proposition 3 would allow the state to issue up to $1.86 billion in bonds to finance student loans.

KUT News

Perry, UT Dean at Odds over Higher Ed Changes

Texas Governor Rick Perry is responding to a report from a dean at UT Austin.  The dean’s report criticizes proposals from an Austin-based think tank.  The governor backs those proposals which include splitting research and teaching budgets and giving state higher education funding directly to students instead of universities. 

Photo by KUT News

Another hot day ahead in Central Texas. Not that you needed me to tell you that. The forecast will remain pretty much the same until....hmmm....maybe October?

So why not sit back, stay cool and read this round up of the day's news.