Quotes to note: UT productivity report and MyEdu

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Report reaffirms faculty productivity

Marc Musick, associate dean for student affairs, released another report last week analyzing the productivity of UT faculty. The report comes amid controversy surrounding the efficiency of higher education in Texas. The following quotes are from Musick’s report unless otherwise noted.

“There is a common belief that at UT-Austin and other major research universities, professors only conduct research, get grants and teach graduate students. ... The data demonstrates that this belief is simply not true.”

“[The] differences between the expectations and abilities of instructors at different faculty ranks make them virtually incomparable for productivity purposes.”

“[The report] finds, in general, that the 1,988 tenured and tenure track professors at the University of Texas at Austin work very hard for their students and provide an incredible return on investment for the state.”

“We need to be very careful moving forward if we’re going to measure faculty productivity.”
— Musick in response to a question about the UT System’s plan to establish a productivity dashboard that will show up-to-date measures of productivity across the system.

The birth of the MyEdu deal

The following quotes are from emails and documents obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act regarding the UT System’s $10-million investment in MyEdu. The unique partnership, announced Oct. 18, gives the system a 22.5-percent stake in the company.

“John Cunningham is Bill Cunningham’s son. He started this business some time ago, and it has really taken off. I believe Bill has supported it, too.”
— Randa Safady, UT System’s vice chancellor for external relations, in an email to UT System spokesman Anthony de Bruyn, with carbon copies sent to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and several other system officials on July 5. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Cigarroa said he was unaware of the investment made by former chancellor and UT president William Cunningham in MyEdu but also said he was under no obligation to disclose it and that it was not pertinent to the deal. In all the emails obtained by The Daily Texan, Cunningham is never mentioned or involved in brokering the deal.

“My type of tempo! That is why I like to play fast Flamenco music!”
— Cigarroa in a playful email to MyEdu CEO Michael Crosno on Sept. 7 acknowledging Crosno’s enthusiasm in getting started with the project. The agreement was signed Sept. 13.

“I am pleased to convey that the agreements with MyEdu have been finalized, and now the tangible work of implementation, including all fifteen campuses and UT System Administration, commences.”
— Cigarroa in a Sept. 21 memorandum to all the university presidents of the system. In the memorandum, Cigarroa announces the creation of “a rapid response team” chaired by Pedro Reyes, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and UT professor, and asks all system institutions to appoint a “campus liaison” to “develop their campus action teams to work on implementation.”