After the UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s speech and the UT regents blessing for his plan, we thought the UT controversy was over and progress now could be made in moving forward with positive measures. Apparently UT president Bill Powers wants to keep the fight going – all in our opinion to the detriment of the students, parents and taxpayers in an effort to continue with the status quo of rising fees.
In the article by Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune titled – “President Bill Powers: We Are a House Divided” it appears he actually does have his, “head in the sand” and his “feet dug in against change.”
Read and decide for yourself.
Update: University of Texas President Bill Powers stuck to his prepared remarks (scroll down to view), and the audience — made up mostly of UT faculty, students, and boosters — responded enthusiastically. Powers’ expressions of support for the faculty and his reference to Gov. Rick Perry‘s $10,000-degree challenge met with the biggest responses.
Original Story: University of Texas President Bill Powers isn’t mincing words in his State of the University address, scheduled for this afternoon. According to prepared remarks distributed before the speech (and subject to change), he takes head-on the controversy that has dogged the state’s higher education community for several months.
“To paraphrase Lincoln, we are a house divided about our fundamental mission and character,” he says.
In the remarks, Powers prescribes his own path to bring people back together and implement transformational changes to higher education. He also takes some thinly veiled swipes at those that have criticized the university in recent months, including Rick O’Donnell, the controversial former adviser to the University of Texas System whose hiring sparked much of the controversy.
Months after his position was unceremoniously eliminated, O’Donnell released an analysis of UT data that grouped professors into different categories based on productivity. “Dodgers” were a particularly unproductive subset of the unproductive group he termed “coasters.” This did not go over well at UT.
In his remarks, Powers says, “Tilting at the windmills of supposed faculty who don’t work hard or who don’t care about our undergraduates — for all the rhetoric about dodgers and coasters — will simply divert us from the real tasks at hand.”
Powers calls for a tone that is more respectful of faculty. “The tone of discussion would take a positive turn if everyone in the UT family — even those who call for more extensive change — would publicly defend our faculty and our campus from outside attacks,” he says.
He disputes the notion that UT has its “head in the sand” or its “feet dug in against change.” He also answers Gov. Rick Perry’s challenge for universities to create a $10,000 bachelor’s degree, noting that a quarter of current freshmen — after scholarships and grants — pay less than $2,500 per year for their UT education.
Powers’ speech includes a few bold challenges of his own. Playing off remarks he made in May calling for the university to raise its four-year graduation rate to 70 percent from its current perch around 53 percent. Today, he calls for that to happen in five years. Read more…