univeristy of texas

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Rising summer temperatures could lead to expanded waistlines, according to a study announced today by University of Texas researchers.

Research from Paul von Hippel, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has shown that adults living in counties with the highest and lowest temperatures are the least active and by extension, the most obese. This especially holds true for areas with humid summers and dark winters.

Hippel and co-author Rebecca Benson, a UT doctoral student, studied each of the 3,000 counties in the United States, assessing different variables that could predict why some counties were more obese than others. Many of the counties in the Southeast account for areas with the highest rates of obesity. The mountain West, with cool, dry summers, represents the lowest proportion of obese adults.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Three days after a legislative committee said there were grounds to impeach University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall, the chairman of UT’s board of regents called on Hall to resign.

During an open meeting of the board Thursday, Paul Foster said that Hall has created controversies that have distracted the board from its obligations.

"We spend a huge percentage of time dealing with him rather than dealing with the issues of the system," Foster said. He also directly addressed Hall, saying his resignation "would be the most beneficial action you can take at this time." 

KUT News

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean, Dr. Clay Johnston.

Johnston spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin – and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.

"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. is steering the university through two court cases and a football coach that’s making news both on and off the field.

Powers recently sat down with KUT’s David Brown to talk about what’s happening at the 40 Acres. Listen to the extended interview in the Soundcloud player below. Here are some highlights:

On the UT System suing actor Ryan O'Neal over a portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett:

“This was her wish, that her alma matter have it. It is a very valuable painting. … To have this pair of very iconic Warhol portraits would be very valuable as a cultural archive for our museum – and of course she’s one of our Texas Exes, so it’s important for us to have this painting.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. takes on another role this October: chairman of the elite Association of American Universities, a prominent pedestal from which to shape the national conversation about higher education. 

Austin just might have heard a sneak preview of where he plans to go with that discussion, through his annual State of the University address delivered last week.

KUT News

The University of Texas Board of Regents has approved a new plan to fund the new Engineering Education and Research Center at UT Austin.  The change to the funding plan was necessary after lawmakers failed to approve bonds for capitol projects in the most recent legislative session.

UT Austin had requested $95 million in Tuition Revenue Bonds to use toward the new facility. Now, UT can borrow up to $150 million from the UT System's Revenue Financing System to make up that difference. The rest of the money will come from $5 million in current funds and $50 million in gifts.


Before crushing those pesky fire ants crawling across your porch, did you ever consider the critters’ effect on the ecosystem? The University of Texas’ newly formed Texas Invasive Species program has $2.7 million dollars to answer those questions and more.

The program, formed with a six-year grant from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation, utilizes researchers from the Brackenridge Field Laboratory to investigate and protect Texas's ecosystems from exotic invasive species.

KUT News

UT Men’s Basketball team lost their opening game in the College Basketball Invitational against Houston last night. The Texas basketball season had already come to an end for the Horns without making it to the NCAA playoffs - their first shut out since the 1997-98 season.

Houston Cougars’s Daniel House set the final score to 73-72 after a mid-range jump shot with only 17 seconds left.


The men’s basketball program at the University of Texas has been on a winning streak lately. That is, until last night.

The streak is over – and so is the team's season – after a 66 to 49 loss to Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. 

Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers told the UT Board of Regents on Wednesday that his school is ready to begin searching for a medical school dean.

A UT-Austin medical school, expected to open in either 2015 or 2016, is beginning to get off the ground. In May, the Board of Regents pledged $30 million per year for the next eight years. In November, Travis County voters approved Proposition 1, which will contribute about $25 million annually to the school. And more recently, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation pledged $50 million to the school.


Beginning this fall, the University of Texas will start offering free online courses through the non-profit organization EdX.

The UT Board of Regents authorized a partnership with EdX last fall. As KUT News wrote at the time, classes offered through EdX are not for college credit; instead, participants can earn a "certificate of mastery." The university says its also exploring the expansion of online learning for enrolled students.

The University of Texas’ graduation rate is under scrutiny as the school attempts different ways to increase the number of students graduating in four years.

In February a task force assembled by UT President Bill Powers offered 60 suggestions to encourage students to earn their degree more quickly.

In late August and early September, UT began a sort of branding campaign. The number 2016 (signifying the graduation date for incoming freshmen) began to appear all around campus: on shirts, on tote bags, and even on Twitter (as #2016 became a popular hashtag).

KUT News

If you ask a Longhorn fan their thoughts about the Longhorn Network, you might hear complaints about its cable carrier agreements. Ask a rival team's fans, and you might hear grumblings about the cash cow the network represents for the Forty Acres. 

But if you ask University of Texas head football coach Mack Brown his thoughts about the Longhorn Network, you might just get a piece of his mind.

That's what happened yesterday at Brown’s weekly press conference, where he spoke rather frankly about the effect the network is having on the Horns this football season.

Brown argued that the Longhorns are a “little overexposed” this year. He cited a conversation he had with Baylor Head Coach Art Briles where he was told that “Baylor sees every practice.” He also thinks that opponents north of Waco are watching too.

Good morning. This misty weather is expected to clear some, with highs warming into the mid-80s according to the Weather Channel. Here’s some of  KUT News’ top stories from this morning and yesterday evening:

The University of Texas is making the case for its affirmative action program before the Supreme Court today. Here’s a round-up of links on what’s at stake, and what to expect.

Supreme Court Set to Hear Oral Arguments on UT's Admissions Policy (Texas Tribune)

Abigail Fisher, a white student who graduated outside the top 10 percent of her high school class, was denied admission to UT-Austin in 2008. Claiming that students with lower test scores and less extracurricular involvement were admitted to UT-Austin over her because of their race, Fisher sued the university.

Now the justices will consider Fisher’s argument that UT-Austin’s admissions policy violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and federal civil rights statutes because it considers race when admitting the students who are not automatically admitted in accordance with state law. The court’s decision is expected to come early next year.

Liang Shi for KUT News

Today marks 11 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Here's information on remembrance events and other stories making news today:

Local 9/11 Memorial Events

There are several events scheduled today across Central Texas to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

At 10 a.m., Austin firefighters will climb the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower. Wearing full gear, they’ll climb up and down the equivalent of the height of the World Trade Center.

At noon, there will be a 9-11 Memorial and pipe and drum performance in the Texas Capitol Rotunda.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

One of Austin’s biggest employers is getting ready to hand out raises.

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers says merit-based pay increases for faculty and staff will go into effect Sept. 1.

The salary increases will vary by department and Powers says they aren’t huge – but will help the university hang on to talented faculty and staff.

KUT’s bid to acquire a second radio station is coming back before the University of Texas Board of Regents next week.

At its Aug. 22 meeting, the Board of Regents' Academic Affairs committee is set to hear a proposal from UT-Austin that would acquire KXBT 98.9 FM on behalf of KUT. The terms of the proposal have changed somewhat since the regents tabled the initial proposal back in July. That proposal saw UT-Austin covering the entirety of the $6 million purchase price of KXBT, and KUT reimbursing UT for the loan over the course of 20 years. 

This new proposal calls for UT to contribute $4 million toward the purchase price, with KUT promising to repay the loan over 10 years. KUT would cover the remaining $2 million of the $6 million cost itself. It also states should KUT fall behind on payments to UT for more than four months, UT "will sell the license at fair market value as soon as feasible."

You can view the committee's agenda and backup information online.

University of Texas

A study by University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus that questioned the parenting abilities of gay couples is “severely flawed,” according to an internal audit by the scientific journal that published it, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The highly critical audit, a draft of which was provided to The Chronicle by the journal’s editor, also cites conflicts of interest among the reviewers, and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”

The study was published in the journal Social Science Research.  A member of the journal’s editorial board, Southern Illinois University sociology professor Darren Sherkat, was assigned to examine the peer review process. His assessment was blunt.

“It’s bulls**t,” Sherkat told the Chronicle of Higher Education, adding that the study should never have been published. 

A&M's Outsourcing Plans Have Workers Concerned

Jul 27, 2012
Callie Richmond for Texas Tribune

When the Texas A&M University System announced that its flagship would gain $260 million in new revenue and savings in the next 10 years by outsourcing its building maintenance, landscaping and dining services, Chancellor John Sharp said the plan was an unprecedented way to raise money in financially struggling higher education.

“Today’s announcement means more money will be available to recruit, pay and retain faculty and researchers,” he said at a news conference on June 21.

But excitement over the plan is not universal. Many people on campus and in the surrounding community are worried and angry. A&M staff members who perform the support services have expressed concern over their future employment. And Bryan-College Station vendors fret that they could lose one of their biggest clients.

Divya Darsi for KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin is joining the Worker Rights Consortium. The WRC will monitor working conditions of factories that make UT apparel.

The move comes after recent protests by student activists who denounced conditions in these factories and called for closer monitoring.

Tara Doolittle is a spokesperson for UT. She says joining the consortium can offer consumers peace of mind about where UT products come from.

"We are certainly concerned about the working conditions of the folks who make the apparel that bears our name — and we now have two agencies helping us make sure those conditions are what they should be," said Doolittle.