July 24, 2008
More flagships

This is a step in the right direction.

Lawmakers on Wednesday took one step closer to anointing a third public flagship by inviting leaders of Texas' seven "emerging" research institutions to pitch a case for why they should become the state's next tier one research university, and how much it would cost the state.

"We think we can do it, but we have to be really strategic," said Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System. "It's all about vision. Nobody invests in whining."

"Why do we deserve to be the next one? Because we have momentum," UTSA president Ricardo Romo told a Senate subcommittee led by Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

Adding just one tier one university would cost the state about $70 million annually, $140 million for two and $210 million for three, said David Daniel, president of the University of Texas at Dallas. And it would have to be stable from year to year, like the oil profit endowment that feeds UT-Austin and Texas A&M.


Bill Powers, president of UT-Austin, warned lawmakers not to spread the money too thin. "Could it be two? Probably. I think there won't be funding for more than that," Powers said. "These are very hard decisions, but someone has to make them."

Back in May, the Legislative Study Group came out with a report (PDF) that said we could add four flagships for $188 million, which is considerably less than what UTD's Daniel says. It suggests we could make all seven of these schools flagships for $405 million. On a per-population basis, we really should have at least six such schools - California has ten Tier Ones, New York has eight. Getting two more, to bring the total to four, is certainly an improvement over what we have now. But it's not enough, and we really need to think bigger. This should be a priority. BOR has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 24, 2008 to Budget ballyhoo

Not being from this area, I'm not real familiar with this issue. But I would have thought that Texas Tech was close to that category. What is Tech missing to make it a Tier I school?

As for which school "deserves" the new investment? Seems to me that San Antonio is the area least served by higher education. Unless San Marco and Austin are considered within the San Antonio area.

Posted by: Kent on July 24, 2008 8:13 PM

The rumor around our campus is that the lege is going to put up alot of matching fund opportunities. Inotherwords, research funding we get from NSF, NASA, etc. will be matched by a state funding agency somehow. I probably should know more than this, since whatever happens will likely impact my career, but I honestly don't.

Posted by: blank on July 24, 2008 9:10 PM

Yes, Tx Tech, UTSA, UT Dallas, U of H, UT Arlington, and UNT in Denton are all competing to be the next Tier I.

They all garner significant amounts of research dollars, much less than UT Austin or the main A&M campus, but more than the smaller state universities.

U of H (37 million last year), UT Dallas (32 million last year) and Tech (28 million lst year) are close competitors, the rest lag behind.

Posted by: locutor on July 25, 2008 4:02 PM
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