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Senate Committee on Education Subcommittee on Higher Education - 80th R.S. (2007)

Committee Members
Judith Zaffirini, Chair
Kip Averitt
Dan Patrick
Royce West
Tommy Williams
• Examine different methodologies for assessing the quality of degree and certificate programs at higher education institutions and for measuring student learning outcomes. Review current institutional performance standards and make recommendations that promote academic and financial accountability. Review the method for measuring graduation rates to determine whether alternative measures are more appropriately suited for institutions with a large percentage of non-traditional students.
• Identify potential future economic trends and workforce needs, including those created by additional nuclear generation facilities, and identify strategies to help meet these needs.
• Examine ways to assess and improve academic advising to help students succeed in higher education and complete their course of study and graduate in the minimum time required.
• Study the need for new higher education institutions and make recommendations for developing a long-term strategy for creating and supporting new institutions, especially additional flagship public research universities. Explore methods for determining where such universities should be located and ensuring that such universities admit a qualified and diverse student body. Consider the state's allocation of and need for resources for medical education, including graduate medical education, geographic distribution of those resources, and the value of associating a medical school with a top-tier academic campus.
• Study research funding and assess the research infrastructure and capabilities at higher education institutions. Make recommendations for streamlining the various sources of funding (Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund, the Research Development Fund, and the Advanced Research Program) and for developing a statewide strategy for increasing research at higher education institutions, including ways to improve research commercialization.
• Evaluate the cost and feasibility of a range of options for providing health care insurance for students attending institutions of higher education.
• Review the status, effects, and success or failure of higher education authorities operating under Chapters 53, 53A, and 53B, Education Code, and nonprofit corporations carrying out the functions of higher education authorities under those chapters. Make recommendations regarding any necessary changes in the statutes and administration of same. (Joint charge with Senate Finance Committee)
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Subcommittee on Higher Education, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor any pending federal legislation that would impact student financial aid.

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