May 2011 eBulletin

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Volume LXIV Number 4
April/May/June 2011
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
April/May/June 2011 - Volume LXIV Number 4
In this quarter’s TACT newsletter...
Page 3 Letter from the President
by Gary Coulton
TACT Board of Directors 2010-2011 President Gary Coulton University of Texas San Antonio President-Elect Peter Hugill Texas A&M VP of Financial Affairs Frank Fair Sam Houston State University VP of Membership Mark Gaus Sam Houston State University VP of Legislative Affairs Cindy Simpson Sam Houston State University Directors At Large Elizabeth Lewandowski Midwestern State University Allen Martin University of Texas - Tyler Debra Price Sam Houston State University Executive Director Chuck Hempstead (512) 419-9275
Page 5 Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead by Tom Jacobs
Page 6 College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior Page 8 In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee Page 9 The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree
by Dr. Van Davis
Page 10 Keep a Finger on the Hot Issues: TACT Legislative Tracker Page 11 GRF Contributions Page 12 Membership
TACT
Texas Association of College Teachers 5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, Texas 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
Copyright © 2011 by the Texas Association of College Teachers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without permission; Chuck Hempstead, Editor.
TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
President’s Letter
by Gary Coulton TACT President
These are perilous times for public institutions of Higher Education in Texas. Does this message sound familiar? It should. To be frank, in the 15 years plus that I’ve been involved with TACT, I cannot recall a time when there hasn’t been serious cause for concern. (Of course some years the issues have been less anxiety-evoking than others.) I suppose that in a perfect world, or even just a perfect state, we wouldn’t have to worry about issues that might threaten the quality and accessibility of higher education. But we do. It’s been rather dramatically illustrated in recent months that there are a number of very influential people (most of them have little or no experience in the academy) who are sure they know what ails higher education in Texas. They also seem to believe that they possess the cure. If left to their own devices they would “fix” higher education with little or no input from faculty. Oh yeah, and then there’s the Legislature. However, they have legitimate authority over many issues that affect education at the university level.
The former group seems to be losing ground as the public becomes more aware of the mess in which they are currently mired. (What’s the old saying... “Sunshine is the best disinfectant?”) Regarding actions of the Legislature that promise to impact Higher Education, TACT is very experienced and able to represent the interests of Texas faculty. As an example of our successful efforts consider funding of the TEXAS Grants financial aid program (maintaining funding for the program is on our 2011 Legislative Agenda; click here to view the Agenda). The program was created to enable disadvantaged students to attend college. At the beginning of the current session, the Legislature was prepared to cut the program’s funding by more than 40%. However, this week the Senate Finance Committee voted 13 to 1 to restore 90% of current funding to the program. In this economic climate, I’d put that one in the victory column. Another Legislative Agenda item we hope will go our way (but will undoubtedly be more difficult to achieve) is the effort to block legalization of handguns on campus. The belief that allowing students to be armed on campus would
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
President’s Message (cont’d.)
be a good thing (and would prevent more problems than it would create) has gained traction with many, which is reflected in the recent progress of the Senate bill. According to Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press, Jeff Wentworth’s “handguns on campus bill” was passed by the Senate this week after being amended to a spending bill. Although the bill still faces significant opposition (a House version of the bill has been stalled for some time), handguns on campus continues to be very controversial, and the fate of the bills is still far from certain. If you are interested in either of these legislative issues (or others), I suggest that you contact your Senator and/or Representative and express your opinion. Not sure who your Legislators are? Go to: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/. Or, if you’re a current TACT member, read the Legislative Alerts that show up in your e-mail inbox (or view them at on our website), and/or use the TACT Legislative Tracker to keep up with what your representatives are doing. Sincerely, Gary F. Coulton, PhD Texas A&M University-San Antonio
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director
Sometimes my most eye-opening information is from Dan. Dan is married to former TACT President Elizabeth Lewandowski, and he knows that it is a TACT tradition to advocate for low college tuition (and better-funded scholarship programs) to make a college education available to as many people as are able to succeed at it. Dan may not remember that I have two teenage daughters, but the reader will see another reason why this issue catches my attention. Elsewhere in this eBulletin, we have re-printed College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior. The researchbased premise is that the more students believe that they can afford a higher education, the less likely they are to engage in potentially harmful behaviors such as cigarette and pot smoking and sexual activity. Dan suggests that I share this information with legislators. I think I will. Now, what will my daughters think? . . . In association news, I want you to join me in celebrating our VP of Financial Affairs, Dr. Frank Fair, for being selected as a Minnie Stevens Piper Award-winning Professor this year. Check out the full story here. We’re proud to have such a distinguished faculty member as part of our Board, and are thankful for his many contributions over the years. We would also like to congratulate TACT member Jim Westgate of Lamar University, who is also a Piper Award recipient. As summer approaches and the Legislative Session is starting to wind down, be assured that we will keep you updated on policy issues and decisions that pop up during the hot months ahead. Surely more will come of the $10K Bachelor’s degree discussion. Later in this newsletter, see Dr. Van Davis’ Powerpoint presentation to THECB on a proposed framework for the $10K degree. Don’t lose touch with us over the summer. Email us. Tell us what issues are bugging you. As I look back on the eBulletin from this time last year, the story was impending, catastrophic budget shortfall. Now, we’re in the thick of it. Let’s hope for a brighter future ahead, and, in the meantime, TACT will keep you up to date and looking forward.
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior
by Tom Jacobs Reprinted with permission from Miller-McCune Magazine Why do some teenagers engage in risky behavior such as drinking, drug use and multiple sex partners? Washington State University economist Ben Cowan has discovered a startlingly simple correlation that provides at least part of the answer. The more it costs to attend community college, the more likely it is that teens will act in self-destructive ways. “I find that lower college costs in teenagers’ states of residence raise their subjective expectations regarding college attendance and deter teenage substance use and sexual partnership,” Cowan writes in the Economics of Education Review. “Specifically, a $1,000 reduction in tuition and fees at two-year colleges in a youth’s state of residence is associated with a decline in the number of sexual partners the youth had in the past year, the number of days in the past month the youth smoked and the number of days in the past month the youth smoked marijuana.” Cowan analyzed data from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which features behavioral information on a cross section of Americans who were between the ages of 12 and 16 in 1996. His final sample featured nearly 5,000 young adults. He compared those findings with state-by-state data on community college tuition rates. The cost to attend two-year schools varies tremendously, from $4,000 to $5,000 for a full-time student in New York and Massachusetts to under $2,000 in seven states. (The figures are from the 2009-10 school year.) Cowan controlled for a wide range of factors, including family income, parents’ education level and stability of family life (measured by whether the child was living with both biological parents at age 12). Taking all that into account, he found that “teens living in states in which two-year college is relatively inexpensive engage in lower levels of sexual activity, smoking, heavy drinking and marijuana use.” What’s more, he found community college tuition rates have “the largest effect on youths who are plausibly closest to the college enrollment margin.” In other words, those kids who may or may not attend college are more likely to ultimately enroll in two-year facilities — and they are the ones whose behavior is most strongly impacted by tuition rates.
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior (cont’d.)
“These findings suggest that the often-studied correlation between schooling and health habits emerges in adolescence because teenagers with brighter college prospects curb their risky behavior in accordance with their expectations,” Cowan writes. To turn that statement around: Kids who see the prospect of a college education, and the better life it promises, slipping away from them have little incentive to check their self-destructive impulses. “For policymakers wishing to discourage teenage drug use and risky sexual activity, my results imply that tuition policy may be an effective way to do so,” Cowan concludes. Of course, many states are moving in the opposite direction, raising community college tuitions to deal with their budget deficits. Cowan admits lowering rates would be expensive, in that there are more than 6 million students enrolled in public two-year colleges in the U.S. But he adds that targeting youth “near the college-decision margin” could make such an effort more cost effective. His research adds to the evidence that cutting funds for higher education has unseen costs that will negatively impact society in the long run. The cliché “Do you want to fund colleges, or prisons?” can be amended to also ask: “Do you want to fund colleges, or drug rehab centers?”
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee
From the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst On May 6th, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (San Antonio) announced appointments to the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency. The joint oversight committee will: Ensure governing boards are following best practices when they develop and implement policy; look for major policy decisions to be adequately vetted and discussed transparently; and protect the excellence and high quality of our state’s institutions of higher education. “Over the last eight years, the Legislature has invested $7.5 billion to improve higher education and provide greater access to Texas students who otherwise could not afford to get their degree,” said Lt. Governor Dewhurst. “I believe the state’s partnership with our colleges and universities merits ongoing involvement with the Legislature − not just during Session − in order to achieve the educational excellence Texans expect and our students deserve.” “Texans have made significant investments in higher education,” said Speaker Straus. “We must do all that we can to ensure that these public institutions operate transparently and with world-class leadership. The talented members that we are appointing today understand that effective university governing systems enable our students to compete on the global stage.” Lt. Governor Dewhurst has appointed Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) as joint chair of the committee. The committee members include Senators John Carona (R-Dallas); Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock); Rodney Ellis (D-Houston); Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo); Kirk Watson (D-Austin).
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
Speaker Straus has appointed Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas) as joint chair of the committee. The committee members include Representatives Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton); Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio); Eric Johnson (D-Dallas); Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham); and Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie).
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree
by Dr. Van Davis
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board met on April 28th to discuss Governor Rick Perry’s idea of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree. Dr. Van Davis, the Special Projects Director in the Academic Affairs and Research Division for the THECB, presented a framework for a $10K degree, what the obstacles are, and what is already progressing. In his presentation, Davis emphasizes that there is “no one size fits all model of higher education.” Davis suggests that differentiating course formats, enrollment throughout the year, and utilizing open source materials and virtual resources are just a few avenues toward creating a workable system on such a tight budget. The $10K Bachelor’s Degree definitely is not impossible, but will most certainly take some innovative strategizing to implement.
See the full Powerpoint presentation here. Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
Keep A Finger on the Hot Issues! TACT Legislative Tracker
Summer’s coming and it’s gonna be a scorcher! Keep your head cool and keep up with the Capitol by checking the TACT Legislative Tracker, our new online method for getting you the news you need on the issues that matter most to higher education professionals. Visit www.tact.org/legislative to access the tracker.
Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
Have a question or comment about the Legislative Tracker? Log in to the TACT website let us know what you think. Or simply email us at tact@bizaustin.rr.com.
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
The James M. Puckett, Ph. D. Government Relations Fund
With all the legislative happenings this session, TACT has been busier than ever at the Capitol! Executive Director Chuck Hempstead has been busy listening and testifying at House and Senate committee hearings. It is extremely important that the voice of university faculty is heard on legislation that directly affects their careers. Please consider contributing to TACT’s Government Relations Fund* to support the legislative activities of the association that supports your career!
*The TACT Dr. James M. Puckett, Ph.D. Government Relations Fund is a result of optional contributions made by those committed to TACT’s heightened public affairs program. It is not used for candidate contributions, but for activities that will increase awareness of TACT among opinion leaders of public policy. Your contribution will assist in TACT’s legislative efforts to improve Texas higher education. All expenditures are approved in advance by TACT’s President, President-elect and Legislative Committee Chair.
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
Click Here to Contribute!
Thank you to the following contributors
Allen Burrs Jill Carrington Gary Coulton Maria DeShazo Bob Harmel Chuck Hempstead
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275 [f] (512) 873-7423
Peter Hugill Harvey Johnson Joe Kemble Hsun-Ming Lee Allen Martin Andrea Williams
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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom
The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior In the News: Higher Ed Oversight Committee The Challenge of a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree TACT Legislative Tracker GRF Contributions Membership
New Membership Rates!
Please note the recent changes in our membership rates through the end of this membership year. • $125 Regular Membership. Professional staff, full-time faculty, librarians, administrators and other professionals. Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting 11/1/2010 and ending 10/31/2011. $95 Affiliate Membership. Administrative assistants, retired faculty, parttime faculty, graduate students, subscription members and libraries. Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting 11/1/2010 and ending 10/31/2011. $250 Annual Business Membership.


Renew your TACT membership online by visiting “Join TACT” or renew over the phone by calling (512) 419-9275.
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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 419-9275[f] (512) 873-7423
Visit www.tact.org, and join TACT Today!
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This document is © 2011 by TACT - all rights reserved.