Archive for the ‘Texas Education’ Category

Occupy UT inspires student activism in face of obstacles

Posted on: January 26th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson 3 Comments

(Mary Tuma/Texas Independent)

Even as authorities continue to stifle the public protest, the Occupy Movement has found new venues for activism. The movement has grown on college campuses around the country. From the organization of an Occupy UMASS to the continued activism of students at Occupy UC Davis, college campuses have acted as an incubator of the Occupy Movement.

In Texas the Occupy Movement has been embraced by colleges and universities around the state. As the Texas Independent reported, student led protests have been organized at some of the state’s flagship campuses. At the University of Texas in Austin, Occupy UT has been organizing to take action on a variety of issues in conjunction with other student organizations.

According to the student newspaper the Daily Texan, Occupy UT hosted a student forum on education the day after participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March. As with many other Occupy movements on college campuses around the country, the cost of and access to higher education has become a major part of the dialog.

On the group’s web site is posted a list of grievances entitled “Declaration of the Occupation of the University of Texas at Austin.” Included are a range of issues from the cost of tuition and the rise in student loan debt, to the university’s ties to the military-industrial complex, major corporations, and major banks. However, the group is not officially recognized as a student organization by the university, and this has created some conflict between the students and the administration.

The Daily Texan reported that university officials have said that lack of communication between Occupy UT and the administration has prevented the students from enjoying the same privileges of other student organizations. However, a recent change in administration policy effectively banning camping on campus has been seen as a direct action against the student activists.

Trevor Hoag, a member of Occupy UT, told the Texas Independent that the administration has said that if the student activists want to have a physical occupation that it would have to be done under very specific parameters. Some of these parameters included keeping the number of tents low, the encampment would be required to maintain a certain aesthetic, and students would not be allowed to camp overnight.

“I think it’s pretty clear that this administration is trying to save face and prevent a public occupation,” said Hoag. “When the faculty council brought up the rules regarding camping on campus I think it was obvious that they were worried about the movement on campus and what it would look like if there were a physical occupation on campus.” Hoag went on to say that he thinks this is about preventing protest, but that it will not prevent Occupy UT from moving forward with protests and events.

“Occupy UT is the umbrella organization,” said Hoag. “We are trying to get other groups to unite toward common causes. This week we are going to have a walking tour partnering with the African Studies department on campus, and a professor is going to lead a talk about the statues and buildings on campus and the history of racism.” On campus  a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, and other statues and buildings named after Confederate figures and Ku Klux Klan members have all stirred controversy.

Hoag downplayed any friction between Occupy UT and the administration saying that “there is not necessarily any bad blood.” The major conflict between the two groups, says Hoag, is between the student activists’ desire to protest and the administration’s requirements to allow those protests. “The university wants any form of protest to be highly highly controlled,” said Hoag. “They will say yes we will work with you, but they want that protest to be controlled.”

While Hoag admits that they do have some “legitimate concerns” about safety, he says that it is mostly about control. “At the end of the day the administration would be more well served to say that we can take the criticism, they shouldn’t be threatened by us,” said Hoag. Despite the complications he believes that the Occupy Movement will continue at UT and throughout the country. “The city occupies and the national occupy groups are all going strong,” said Hoag. “Even the places where the camps were brutally dismantled, they are still going strong.”

Policy change to Texas DREAM Act likely to be approved by higher Ed board

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson 10 Comments

Texas Dream Alliance activist Jose Luis speaks during protest at the capitol.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will likely implement a policy change this week to the so-called Texas version of the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition while attending college in Texas. In a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, at the THECB offices in Austin, the board will likely approve new rules which govern the implementation of the law by colleges and universities.

Under the law undocumented students that sign an affidavit to pursue citizenship and otherwise qualify as a resident of the state are eligible for in-state tuition. In fiscal year 2010 colleges and universities in Texas reported that 16,476 students had filed affidavits. This represents about 1% of total enrollment at institutions of higher education in Texas, and about 12,000 of those students attend community colleges. The number of undocumented students in Texas colleges for fiscal year 2011 will likely be available later this spring after the numbers have been certified.

“There are two provisions that are going to be added to our rules,” said Dominic Chavez, the Senior Director of External Relations for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Chavez told the Texas Independent that the first policy change is one to make it clear that institutions are responsible for maintaining the affidavits that the students sign, and the second is to remind students of the obligation to seek legal status.

According to the new policy, which has been placed on the consent agenda for the meeting, institutions will be required to “retain the signed affidavits permanently, and to instruct students when they are admitted, annually while they are enrolled, and upon graduation of their obligation to apply for permanent resident status.” The new rules also call for the institutions to “refer students to the proper federal agency” for instructions on how to apply for legalized status. “This is a message saying that we take this thing very seriously, this is not just a piece of paper that they sign,” said Chavez.

According to Chavez, the policy change came in large measure due to the amount of public debate surrounding granting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, specifically during the Republican presidential primary. “During the presidential election, when the dialog became so white hot, our board decided that there could be changes to the way the law is implemented,” said Chavez.

“One of the questions that comes up constantly was who controls these documents and who maintains these documents,” said Chavez. “There was a lot of disparity in the maintenance of these documents by institutions.” If the documents are not maintained according to the board’s policy there are not any penalties incurred by the institutions. “The worse thing that could happen would be a negative finding on an audit,” said Chavez.

Students themselves are not the focus of the policy changes, as Chavez explains that the board does not believe that they will have noncompliance from undocumented students. “These students know their status, and they know their situation very well,” said Chavez. Chavez acknowledges that without federal legislation, undocumented students may not be able to regularize their immigration status. “Ultimately this issue has to be addressed at the federal level,” he said.

Greisa Martinez, a Texas A&M graduate and DREAM activist, described the policy change as “simply pointless.” Martinez points to the problems that the new policy could cause by forcing institutions with little expertise on immigration issues to track the status of individual students. “Requiring institutions to handle a case-by-case scenario would prove inefficient, costly and could potentially delay the admission process of the student,” said Martinez. “Higher education institutions are not knowledgeable in immigration law and would not know how to approach a federal agency about a student’s situation without putting in peril their privacy. For institutions of higher education to handle this without prior training is in fact, an unfunded mandate.”

California DREAM Act gives hope, faces same shortcoming as the Texas version

Posted on: January 11th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson 1 Comment

California joined Texas in making it easier for undocumented immigrants to attend college when Assembly Bills 130 and 131 were passed into law. However, despite the intentions of the legislation, the California version of the DREAM Act faces the same limitations as the Texas version.

AB130, which went into effect on Jan. 1, allows colleges to make private scholarships accessible to undocumented students. AB131, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, makes state funding available to undocumented students. The state funding comes in the form of CalGrants. The California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 undocumented students will be eligible for $14 million in grants, which represents one percent of the total student aid budget of $1.4 billion.

.( Image: Mark Samala/

New America Media reported that while many undocumented students thought they would be able to receive federal student aid, unanswered questions remain about the program’s funding and implementation.

After the legislation became law it faced opposition, and opponents began a petition drive to place the law on the November ballot in an effort to repeal it. As the Los Angeles Times reported, activists fell short by 50,000 signatures.

In Texas, House Bill 1403 was passed into law in 2003 and effectively granted undocumented immigrants in Texas the ability to receive in-state tuition at publicly funded colleges and universities. The law requires students to reside in Texas with a parent while attending high school, and graduate from a high school or receive a GED in Texas after living in the state for at least three years.

As the Texas Independent reported, when the bill was introduced there were 19 co-authors, and it passed unanimously through the House Higher Education Committee, where nobody testified against the bill. The legislation sailed through both the Texas House and Senate, where only four lawmakers voted against the bill.

However, undocumented immigrants in both Texas and California face the same obstacle despite their access to higher education. Without federal legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship, undocumented students that graduate from either state will not be able to legally work here.

University of Houston researchers have found the Texas law has led to few real economic gains for undocumented immigrants in the decade since it was passed. The Texas Independent reported that UH economics professors Aimee Chin and Chinhui Juhn found that “unchanged federal policy on financial aid and legalization for undocumented students may dampen the state laws’ benefits.”

Chin told the Texas Independent that in an environment where undocumented students can’t gain citizenship, “the return on investment is relatively slow,” said Chin. The economic impact is minimal because it would be difficult for employees to justify hiring undocumented workers with bachelor’s degrees.

Despite the shortcomings, activists believe that the California legislation is “overwhelmingly positive.” José Ivan Arreola, outreach manager for Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), told the Texas Independent that for undocumented students in California the opportunities that have been opened up for higher education are significant. “It’s huge,” said Arreloa. “It is huge especially considering the political climate when other states are passing legislation that is hostile to the immigrant community.”

Arreola went on to say that while there is still need for a pathway for legalization so that undocumented immigrants can fully participate in the society, the legislation has given undocumented students more than just access to higher education. “It has given undocumented students an opportunity, and hope,” said Arreola. “We are going to create a better future for ourselves, regardless of the obstacles.”

NCTC joins other Texas colleges instituting tobacco bans

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

This semester students will no longer be able to smoke a cigarette between classes at North Central Texas College. Throughout Texas, colleges are clearing the air as campuses are instituting tobacco bans. The changes in policy are aimed at improving the environment around campuses. Implementation and enforcement of the bans have focused more on education and less on punitive action.

NCTC announced the policy change in a press release, “students returning to any NCTC campus after the holiday break will be coming back to a campus that has been declared totally tobacco-free.” The college also introduced a web site that included details of the policy, and resources for students and faculty that want to stop using tobacco products.

Robbie Baugh, the director of Campus Operations at NCTC, told the Texas Independent that the administration made a recommendation to the board of regents to become tobacco-free at all five campuses. “Our board of regents approved the recommendation and approved the changes to our smoking policy,” said Baugh.

According to Baugh, the students as well as the faculty were involved in the decision making process. “The student government organization brought the petition to the administration to become a smoke-free campus. Our vice president of instruction, representing faculty, was included in the decision process to recommend the smoking policy changes to our board of regents,” said Baugh.

Not only were both constituencies involved in the process, but they initiated it. “Student, faculty and staff complaints regarding the health hazards of second-hand smoke, unsightly cigarette butts scattered around campus and a student driven petition that was presented to our administration and board of regents asking for a smoke-free campus environment,” said Baugh, summing up reasons for the ban.

The ban is not being enforced by campus police, and disciplinary action against those that violate it is ambiguous. “Initially we will depend on our staff and students to remind persons who are in violation, in a courteous and respectful manner, that NCTC does prohibit the use of tobacco products on the campus,” said Baugh.

Baugh went on to say that “if that person refuses or the conversation becomes confrontational then the student or staff member is to report the incident to the vice president of student services, if a student or campus operations, if it involves an employee or visitor. Currently no penalties are being enforced, however if a person continues to violate the policy they will be disciplined in accordance with student discipline or employee discipline procedures.”

The American Lung Association’s “100% Tobacco-Free Colleges” lists colleges in Texas including Alamo Community Colleges, Blinn College, Huston-Tilloston University, and Midwestern State University. However, other college campuses throughout Texas have instituted tobacco bans, including those in the University of Texas System: University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Brownsville, and University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

UT-A instituted a ban in August of 2011 after nearly two years of engaging both the students and faculty. University leadership came together to look at the issue, motivated predominately by the negative health effects of tobacco products. In 2009 the college reached out to the student and faculty population seeking their input.

Kristin Sullivan, Assistant Vice President for Media Relations at UT-A, told the Texas Independent that campus forums provided for discussion and rigorous debate. “Everyone was at the table, beginning with an online survey in 2009,” said Sullivan. However, while the students and faculty had a voice in the policy decision, ultimately the final decision was that of the university president.

At UT-A violation of the tobacco ban is treated just like any other violation of university policy or the student code of conduct. University police are not writing citations, but rather those that violate the policy are referred to educational classes. “We have not seen any problems with violation of the policy, and there has been mostly compliance,” said Sullivan. “We think that this is due to the fact that we have focused on education about the policy.”

(Image of North Central Texas College Gainesville from

Texas A&M University measures faculty productivity with Academic Analytics software

Posted on: December 15th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

With the rising cost of tuition and decreasing funding from the state, Texas universities are increasingly looking for more tools to increase their efficiency and productivity. How to measure faculty productivity has become a contentious debate within the higher education establishment, and Texas A&M University has been at the center of the discussion.

According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Texas A&M recently inked a deal with Academic Analytics LLC for software that tracks faculty members’ scholarly productivity. Reportedly the contract is worth $525,000 over five years, and tracks when faculty members publish journal articles, how much grant funding is received and awards received from professional organizations.

Academic Analytics was founded in 2005 by Dr. Lawrence Martin, the dean of the graduate school at Stony Brook University and associate provost and director of the Turkana Basin Institute. Martin described what he does to as “providing a clear snapshot of scholarly strength relative to others helps universities better market their differentiators as a way to attract students and enhance their reputation.”

According to its web site, Academic Analytics is a “full service provider of academic business intelligence data.” In addition the web site proclaims that it has “reinvented itself during the last three years and transformed from a company that publishes ranking tables into a higher education service provider geared to delivering accurate and timely academic business intelligence to university administrators.”

Based in the Long Island High Technology Incubator at Stony Brook University in New York, Academic Analytics compiled data from 2007 through 2008 on 173,865 faculty members associated with 8,744 Ph.D. programs at 387 universities in the United States. The company has contracted with universities such as Howard University, Northeastern University, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Missouri at St. Louis and University of Houston.

On Monday, Texas A&M Provost Dr. Karen Watson presented the Faculty Senate with a presentation about software which is designed to help the provost, deans and department heads measure the scholarly productivity of departments or disciplines. The software allows universities to compare a department or disciplines against peer institutions.

Dr. Michael Benedik, speaker of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate, told the Texas Independent that it “seems like a useful tool if used in conjunction with other evaluative measurements and if the results are put into context of that department and its history.”

The push to measure faculty productivity comes after the faculty of Texas A&M was at odds with the Texas A&M System regents over implementing other means of measuring faculty productivity. As the Texas Independent reported, when regents attempted to implement the recommendations of the conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the faculty was highly critical of the changes.

Benedik sees this new initiative as completely different. “The TPPF proposals were only to evaluate faculty on the basis of cost per student taught, so it focused on teaching and emphasized large classes as the logical outcome to lowering cost,” said Benedik. “It was a superficial and naive approach, failed to look at differences between graduate and undergraduate education, failed to differentiate between different types of universities or colleges and failed to take into account quality or any other contributions faculty might make.”

In addition while Benedik does not view the Academic Analytics software as the complete solution to measuring productivity because it only measures one piece of the whole picture. “Multiple tools are needed,” said Benedik. “Also note that this tool does not look at individual faculty but only at departments or units. That is probably the correct way to do it because a department operates like a team, individual faculty members contributing in different ways.”

Occupy movement organizes on Texas college campuses, prepares for future action

Posted on: December 8th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson 1 Comment

In the months since the Occupy Movement has begun, a significant segment of the protest has been focused on issues relevant to college students. The rising cost of higher education and the heavy burden of student loan debt have spurred students to get involved in the movement.

On college campuses around the country the occupy movement has been engaged, and the reaction to the protests by some administrators has spurred controversy. Democracy Now! reported that at the University of California at Berkeley police forcibly removed students and arrested 39 people, and at University of California, Davis, campus police pepper-sprayed student protesters as they sat together to protest the dismantling of the “Occupy UC Davis” encampment.

In Texas the occupy movement has been embraced on some college campuses, but there has not been the same types of confrontations with campus police that have been seen elsewhere. The students have often chosen to work with local occupy movement organizers than to focus solely on campus actions. However, as the movement has grown that appears to be changing.

According to the student newspaper the Daily Texan, a student walkout began the occupy movement at the University of Texas at Austin on October 5 as students joined with Occupy Austin. The event took place nationwide as Occupy Colleges called for students and faculty at college campus across the country to protest in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

According to the Occupy UT Austin Facebook page, the group stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. “The community is comprised of students, staff, faculty, and anyone affiliated with (or standing in support of) occupying university members.” A semester long event is being planned for January 16 until May 4 to occupy the University of Texas Tower. The Facebook event page says “that beginning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Occupy Wall Street movement will come to the University of Texas.” According to the group’s web site, a planning meeting is scheduled for December 13.

The Occupy Movement has also come to Texas A&M University. In November students organized with professors and community members in Occupy Bryan-College Station protests. The Texas A&M student newspaper the Battalion reported that a protest in November organized on campus, and an estimated 40 occupiers marched to the local branch of Bank of America.

However, students at Texas A&M have not “occupied” areas on campus, and their activities have been limited to protests and days of action. Junior mechanical engineering major Justin Montgomery told the Battalion that it wouldn’t be effective to set up occupied encampments. “We’re doing this to show our support for what’s going on elsewhere, and also for all these people to have an outlet to voice their opinions,” said Montgomery.

Joshua Christopher Harvey, one of the organizers of Occupy Texas State, told the Texas Independent that he became involved in the occupy movement because “over the years it had become apparent to me that our government has grown less accountable to the people.” Harvey went on to say that the “encroachment of corporate personhood in our society and its impact on our political system was also of great concern.”

“Here in Texas,” said Harvey, “grants and funding for higher education were and are being cut. These cuts have led my university to increase the student population in an attempt to balance the $10 million budget cut by the state. This puts a great burden on our teaching staff. Due to further cuts next year, our tuition will rise. The Occupy Colleges Movement, which started in California allowed me and others an outlet to be a participant in the greater movement at a local level and to seek solutions to counteract the negative effects of corporate personhood and a failed economy on education in our state.”

Like Occupy UT Austin, Occupy Texas State is also planning future events, including the possibility of acts of peaceful and minor civil disobedience. These events could be “sit-ins or erecting a tent on the Quad and occupying it for a number of hours or possibly days to challenge university policies that we feel limit free speech and expression,” said Harvey. In addition Occupy Texas State is planning on working with the Texas State Employees Union, CWA-TSEU, in the coming weeks to address cuts and freezes to faculty and staff pay at our university.

Moving forward, Harvey says that the Occupy Movement on the Texas State campus is going to continue its efforts to further the message of the movement and engage students in action. “We will hold more Days of Action rallies, shows of solidarity to the greater Occupy Movement and seek to work with our local and state governments. We feel it is time to move from demonstrating to action and we are planning a host of activities for the Spring semester including a voting drive to register the incoming students in time for the 2012 elections,” said Harvey.

Grad students are less visible casualties of Texas’ higher ed budget cuts

Posted on: November 18th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson 1 Comment


Public universities have been trimming budgets across Texas, adjusting to cuts in higher education funding by the Texas Legislature earlier this year. Along the way, graduate students — who depend on modest department funding for their livelihoods, have been some of the least notice casualties of the cuts.

Much of the debate over college spending has focused on budget cuts at the university and system-wide levels, though cuts have trickled down into more practical matters. In October, the Texas Tribune reported on creeping morale trouble among some faculty, as a result of budget cuts and Texas’ drawn-out higher education debate. But some graduate students — the workhorses of many schools’ research mission — face even direr circumstances.

“One of the issues we’re asking ourselves is: What is the value of a graduate student education?” said Manuel Gonzalez, president of the University of Texas at Austin Graduate Student Assembly, in an interview with the Texas Independent. Gonzalez, who is studying in higher education administration, said graduate students are taking on more debt and have less access to subsidized student loans.

“We are dealing with the fact that we have a legislature that is unsupportive of higher education, and this is costing graduate students down the line,” Gonzalez said. Because university administrations and academic departments are being put in difficult funding positions, it’s become harder for graduate students to secure funding.

“Because of budget cuts and how they affect TA [Teaching Assistant] and GA [Graduate Assistant] positions, we are losing out on the opportunity to recruit the best and the brightest, not just from around the country, but from around the world,” Gonzales said.

The UT student newspaper the Daily Texan reported earlier this year that the lack of funding for graduate students was felt across the campus, including at the College of Architecture, which had to cut graduate assistantships. The dean of research said the measure would “impact our research abilities.”

The Battalion, Texas A&M University’s student paper, reported that budget cuts there had also left many graduate students without funding. Shrinking class offerings meant there were fewer TA positions available too, and fewer jobs for graduate students. Some professors had resorted to paying graduate assistants out of their own pockets, the Battalion reported.

Michael Alvard, a Texas A&M professor in the anthropology department, told the Texas Independent that “it’s not the departments as much as the administrators. The strategic budget reallocation process created a huge slush fund and they cut much more than was eventually needed — but they did not give the excess back to the colleges and departments. They kept it. This is one reason graduate students are out of luck.”

Other professors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, have said that graduate students have been left out in the cold, especially those that were further along in their studies. They have said they have been forced to defund students they felt were deserving, because their hands were tied.

In interviews with other students, the familiar refrain is that departments have not done enough to ensure graduate students retain funding, while faculty tend to blame administrators for tying their hands.

Julie O’Hern, who is working towards her Ph.D. in oceanography at Texas A&M, did not find funding this semester. Instead, she said she’s taking a break from school to work as a deckhand on a research ship, and take on contract work observing marine mammals.

But because A&M requires grad students to be continuously enrolled, she had to register for one credit of research in absentia, which cost about $695.

“While funding is tough for everyone right now, we definitely noticed something of a backlash from administrators and faculty toward the students, once the money situation worsened,” said O’Hern.

“In my department there was about a 10-year history of graduate student management over student ‘enhancement fees,’” said O’Hern. “These enhancement fees were used by students to cover plotter paper, communal laptops and most importantly, research and conference travel funds. Last year, the faculty voted without student input to slash our travel budget by 60 percent and roll the funds into office improvements like cubicles.”

Valerie Reiss, the director of the Graduate Teaching Academy at Texas A&M, said that often “grad students come to school with a false impression of the funding situation.” However, Reiss said that it wasn’t “really productive” to place blame on certain departments or university administrations. “Graduate students are losing funding because of multiple factors; from the legislature to public perception of academia, to the economy.”

Critics say UT faculty productivity study raises more questions than it answers

Posted on: November 18th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson 5 Comments

A University of Texas at Austin study released this week challenged the perception that its professors are unproductive, as some higher education reform advocates have claimed, concluding instead that faculty “work very hard for their students and provide an incredible return on investment for the state.”

Higher education reform advocates, though, are challenging the study’s methodology, contending that the report actually confirms their claims.

Peggy Venable, state director for Americans for Prosperity Texas, wrote on the AFP blog that it is “outrageous that this public university produces a study at taxpayer expense and provides it to the media while embargoing it for several days so the public cannot review or comment on the study as it is released by the media.”

According to reporting by the Austin American-Statesman, UT-Austin sociology professor Marc Musick conducted the study at the request of College of Liberal Arts Dean Randy Diehl, “but earned no extra money for the work.”

“He is on the UT payroll, isn’t he? Anything done on state time is at taxpayer expense,” Venable told the Texas Independent. “Is the administration of the College of Liberal Arts bloated because the UT administration is using it to put out propaganda favorable to the University? If associate deans weren’t being used to lobby, we’d need fewer of them.”

Venable went on to say that the study confirmed an analysis by Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, who said that lumping all the professors together, “it can appear that faculty are productive when in reality some faculty are very productive and others are not productive.”

As the Texas Independent reported, Vedder and his colleagues at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity issued a report earlier this year claiming that that the top-performing 10 percent of UT-Austin professors brought in 90 percent of the research grants, and that 20 percent of the faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s new Center for Higher Education director, Thomas Lindsay said the UT report “raises as many questions as it answers.”

During the weekly TPPF podcast, Lindsay took issue with the fact that the report does not make any comparisons between UT and other universities. “You’ve got to have some benchmark to compare it to, and this study doesn’t do that.”

Lindsay also said that the study should have considered student outcomes along with faculty productivity. “To get a full picture of where we can do to improve things is to combine those two, to develop a truly comprehensive picture of faculty productivity and then compare that to other state public universities,” said Lindsay.

Vedder, who is also a senior fellow at TPPF, told the Texas Independent he was a “little disappointed” in the study, particularly in the way it was released. “I found it a little strange,” Vedder said. “The way in which it was released on a Sunday night was clearly designed to achieve some sort of public relations advantage.”

Vedder said he, too, had a problem with the study only considering faculty productivity, and not student outcomes. Also, he noted that the report only dealt with the UT campus in Austin, and not the nine other campuses that were included in the original data. “It seems to me that a university should be looking at things in a much broader way,” said Vedder.

Vedder also took issue with Musick’s choice to give extra weight to graduate student teaching hours, over undergraduate instruction, by a ratio of 29 to 1 — which he called a “mammoth ratio.”

Vedder said that he doesn’t fault the author of the study, but the formulas used. “What this study says is that we don’t make a lot of money from undergrads but we make a lot of money from grad students,” Vedder said.