Editor’s note: On Friday the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) hosted a panel to discuss several issues pertaining to Texas higher education, including a set of controversial reforms published by the foundation. Former TPPF staffer Rick O’Donnell generated controversy when he was hired as an adviser by the Board of Regents in February and was subsequently fired last month. UT President William Powers, Jr. attended on behalf of the University. The following quotes were reported by The Texas Tribune.
Discussing higher education
“The big bulk of what we do is undergraduate teaching, and that needs to undergo revision and change as well. If the issue is change, we embrace it and have been doing it for a long time.”
— UT President William Powers Jr., at the panel, responding to criticisms of the role of research within the University
“I agree with almost everything Bill said. I agree with almost nothing Dr. Trowbridge said.”
— Texas A&M accounting professor Robert Strawser who sat on the TPPF’s panel on behalf of A&M’s faculty senate
“I’m not certain what that means.”
— Strawser responding to a question on “results-based contracts,” one of the TPPF’s seven “breakthrough solutions.”
“A recent study issued by the American Enterprise Institute reveals, for example, that from 1980 to 2006, 21,674 scholarly articles were published on Shakespeare. Do we need the 21,675th?”
— Forum attendee and TPPF senior fellow Ronald Trowbridge in a column published in The Texas Tribune. Trowbridge, who has been critical of what he calls an overemphasis on research by universities, cited several points from his column throughout the forum.
“Football coaches, who work with bodies, are subject to intense accountability. Professors, who work with minds, are not. Go figure.”
— Trowbridge calling for increased accountability measures for professors in his column.
“How is research actually practiced throughout all academic disciples in a research university? My suspicion is that no one fully knows and that the assumption is that all research is valuable.”
— Trowbridge, reiterating his criticism of the status quo regarding university research.