univeristy of texas

Higher Education
2:32 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Audit: UT Gay Parenting Study 'Severely Flawed'

UT researcher Mark Regnerus' paper on gay marriage has been refuted by a panel at the same journal that initially published his work.
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. 

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Education
10:50 am
Fri July 27, 2012

A&M's Outsourcing Plans Have Workers Concerned

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.

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University of Texas
2:08 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Worker Rights Consortium to Monitor UT Apparel Factories

Activists demanded that the university ensure products were made in fair labor conditions.
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.

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Environment
1:27 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

How Natural Gas is Fueling the UT-A&M Rivalry

Researchers hope to make it easier and more affordable for consumers to own natural gas vehicles.
Wikimedia

When Texas A&M left the Big 12, many assumed the rivalry between the Aggies and the Longhorns left with it.

Now the two Texas colleges are facing off again, but this time there’s a chance both schools – and the public –  could win. Yesterday, UT-Austin and Texas A&M were awarded grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop cheaper natural gas vehicles.

UT’s Center for Electromechanics received more than $4 million to engineer new ways to refuel natural gas cars at home.

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Sports
12:07 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

UT Athletic Director Dodds on College Football Playoffs

KUT News

A committee of university presidents, including University of Texas President Bill Powers, stood together on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. and said ‘No more.’ The committee approved a plan from Bowl Championship Series (BCS) leadership  calling for a four-team playoff system in college football, set to start in two years.

The move completes a six-month process for the BCS commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from college football fans.

What does this mean for the Texas Longhorns?

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University of Texas
11:15 am
Wed June 27, 2012

When UT Appeared to Be in UVA's Shoes, Many Spoke Out

William "Bill" Powers, Jr., president of the University of Texas at Austin, at Trib Live on April 28, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

On Tuesday, the University of Virginia reinstated President Teresa Sullivan after her forced resignation this month sparked a dramatic outcry. Throughout the ordeal, observers have drawn parallels to Sullivan’s former stomping grounds: the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked for nearly three decades.

For the last year and a half, speculation has swirled about the intentions of some University of Texas System regents. Many feared that those regents — appointed by Gov.Rick Perry — were put in place to implement a controversial set of dramatic policy changes the governor had promoted that some criticized for being anti-academic and overly business-minded. So when Sullivan was abruptly terminated at UVA, apparently over her opposition to her board’s eagerness to push rapid top-down changes, UT observers’ antennas perked up.

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University of Texas
1:50 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Former UT Prof at Center of Higher Ed Storm

Teresa A Sullivan was let go as University of Virginia president under vague circumstances.
virginia.edu

A University of Texas professor is at the center of controversy in her new home at the University of Virginia, where until just recently she was president of the school. 

Teresa A. Sullivan taught for decades at UT-Austin, ultimately rising to Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the UT System. In the summer of August 2010, she was named president of the University of Virginia (UVA).

It was a position she held without apparent controversy – until news broke she was stepping down from her position, apparently under pressure, eight days ago.

In a way, the controversy in Virginia recalls a similar action closer to home: rumors that University of Texas president Bill Powers had been marked for ouster by the school’s Board of Regents. Speculation regarding Powers’ job grew after he clashed with the board after it declined to approve a tuition increase Powers sought.

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Education
4:46 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Slideshow: Students Call for Passage of DREAM Act

Undocumented students and supporters rallied in support of the DREAM Act yesterday.
Photo by Mario Jacinto for KUT News

As part of a national day of action, undocumented students rallied on the University of Texas campus yesterday in support of the DREAM act.

Students United for the Dream Act called for rallies across the country on Thursday, to urge for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors act, which provides undocumented youth a path to legal citizenship in the United States.

Undocumented youth from Austin and San Antonio, joined by members of the University Democrats, gathered and spoke on the lawn near the LBJ library at UT yesterday. KUT News captured audio from the event's speakers, embedded above.

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University of Texas
4:18 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Powers Outage on the 40 Acres: What Would it Take to Fire the UT President?

UT Austin President Bill Powers' job security has been the subject of much speculation.
Photo by Crystal Chavez for KUT News

Is UT Austin President Bill Powers’ job in jeopardy?

Those rumors started circulating last week, following a post from Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka. Powers had recently and publicly clashed with the UT Board of Regents after a proposed tuition hike at the system’s flagship institution was voted down.

Despite denials from those involved, the rumors continue. But what exactly would it take to oust Powers?  

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University of Texas
3:36 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Cigarroa: Chairman Didn't Direct Me to Fire Powers

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, responding to a news report suggesting UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell had asked him to fire University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, said Thursday that Powell "never directed me to fire anyone." 

Cigarroa's statement follows a blog post late Wednesday from Texas Monthly Senior Executive Editor Paul Burka. Citing an unnamed source, Burka wrote that the regents are angry at Powers for publicly expressing disappointment with their decision — made with encouragement from Gov. Rick Perry — to reject Powers' request for a slight tuition increase. Burka wrote that Powell asked Cigarroa to officially recommend that they fire Powers, and that Cigarroa refused. The post suggested the board would likely call a special meeting to take action. 

The report sparked an overnight social media campaign on Powers' behalf. 

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Austin
3:37 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Cap Metro Bus Crashes Foam Sword Brawl at UT

The scene after the accident this afternoon.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Video captured earlier today on the UT Campus shows an incident that injured one student, albeit not seriously.

The video below captures a scene from Foam Sword Friday, an end-of-semester tradition of sorts, where students relieve finals anxiety by engaging in faux battle.  As you can see, one participant received a blow from a Cap Metro bus instead.

The Daily Texan tweeted the student suffered only minor injuries.

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Business
11:36 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Today at UT: The 'Super Bowl' or 'Project Runway' of Business Pitches - Take Your Pick

The McCombs Business School is sponsoring a high stakes venture competition today.
Photo by Teresa Viera for KUT News

Rental maternity clothing? Malnutrition-fighting porridge? Dust compressors? Soon, one of these inventions could be part of your daily life.

Beginning today and running through Saturday, the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition will evaluate business concepts from 40 teams around the world. Hosted by McCombs School of Business' Texas Venture Labs, it's the longest-running competition for graduate student entrepreneurs – the "Super Bowl of business plan competitions," as the school describes it in a press release.

To qualify for the competition, teams had to win regional competitions first, with competitors culled from 13 countries including Thailand, Brazil, Germany and Norway. UT's team has invented a product called eyeQ, which according to McCombs School of Business spokesperson Renee Hopkins, uses video-based technology to monitor consumer purchasing behavior. In other words: Stores get information about how their customers shop, and customers will get an Amazon.com-like retail experience in a brick and mortar store.

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AM Update
7:40 am
Mon April 2, 2012

AM Update: Powers Defends UT Admissions, Baylor Women in NCAA Final, Leffingwell’s April Fools Prank

UT's race-conscious admissions policy has drawn increased scrutiny.

Powers Speaks Up for UT Admission Policies

University of Texas president William Powers Jr. defended UT’s admissions process, which looks at race as a factor, in The New York Times this weekend.

Powers applauded the university's "holistic review" policy, which allows it to look at more than just grades.

“If a company had 100 applications for five positions and just took the five with the highest grade point average without looking at anything else, I think people would be stunned,” he said. “Grades are important, but there are other important indicia, like leadership and diligence. Grades don’t tell us who is going to have a proclivity, or aptitude, for geosciences, fine arts or teaching.”

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Education
2:25 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Supreme Court to Consider Role of Race in College Admission

UT's admission policies, possibly including the "top 10 percent" rule, will be heard before the Supreme Court this fall.
Photo by KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the issue of race in college admissions

Today, the court agreed to hear a challenge to the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, who argues she was denied admission to the university because of UT's race-conscious policy.

It's the second time the court has taken up the issue in the past 10 years. In 2003, the court upheld the University of Michigan's use of race in assessing law school applicants by a vote of 5-4. But today's court is more conservative. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the majority opinion in the Michigan case. She's since been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito – who tends to vote with the court’s more conservative bloc.

Yale law professor Peter Schuck tells KUT News a number of factors outside the court’s University of Michigan ruling could be in play, as each state university system differs. Here in Texas, Schuck points to the effect the UT system’s “top 10 percent” rule could play.

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Austin
8:48 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/8/12: Amber Alert, Ron Paul's Minnesota Showing, UT Studies Prof Performance

Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith (left). They believe she is with her mother, Kimberly Smith.
Photos courtesy Texas Dept. of Public Safety

Amber Alert Issued

Forth Worth authorities have issued an Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith. Jessica is a white female, 5’1” tall, weighs 120 pounds and has brown hair and eyes.  

Police believe Jessica’s abductor is her mother, 42 year-old Kimberly Smith. Smith is a white female, 5’2” tall, weighs 150 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. Smith has a cross tattoo on the back of her neck and a decorative tattoo on her back.  

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