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Monday, May 9, 2011

Speaker appoints Bonnen to Higher Education Joint Oversight Committee

Insider's Report Vol. 8, No. 10

On Friday, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced my appointment to the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency.  It will be the committee's responsibility to ensure governing boards are following best practices in policy implementation; look for major policy decisions to be adequately vetted and discussed transparently; and protect the excellence and high quality of our state's institutions of higher education.

In making this announcement, Speaker Straus stated, "Texans have made significant investments in higher education.  We must do all that we can to ensure that these public institutions operate transparently and with world-class leadership.  The talented members that we are appointing today understand that effective university governing systems enable our students to compete on the global stage."

As Governor Perry presses his appointees of university governing bodies to adopt certain policies, this joint committee will fully vet these ideas to ensure that the national stature of major Texas universities is enhanced and not impaired by their potential implementation.  I believe that Texas can find a balanced approach to providing an affordable and accessible pathway to a college degree without undermining the value of this degree or the prominence of Texas' institutions of higher education.  It is the committee's goal to seek input from many different viewpoints on this issue and extend this conversation beyond the current session and into the legislative interim.

Also in this role, I will examine ways to contain the rising costs of tuition, while also representing the voice of Brazosport College.  As our Governor continues to promote a $10,000 college degree in Texas, this committee provides me the opportunity to illustrate that this degree already exists at Brazosport College as the result of a baccalaureate degree program authorized by my legislation in 2003.  These programs have been a tremendous success, and the expansion of the community college 4-year degree program is a consideration that I intend to bring to the table as a part of committee discussions.

To view the Speaker's announcement in its entirety, click here.