Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fightin' Texas Aggies: Alliance for Texas A&M University

A group of prominent former students of Texas A&M have started the Alliance for Texas A&M University to support the university's research mission and its academic reputation:
Our concern is the result of the extraordinary level of political intervention in our university. The latest of these interventions has resulted in the negative publicity given to proposals to fundamentally change how the research universities in Texas fulfill their educational responsibilities. These proposals are usually referred to as the “Seven Break Through Solutions.” It is our opinion that several of these proposals will do significant damage. The
seven proposals are neither new nor break through. They represent naive and, in some cases, self-serving proposals from inexperienced organizations and individuals.

We call on all members of the Aggie community to familiarize themselves with the proposals we think are damaging. We call on each of you to reach your own conclusions. If you share our views, we encourage you to express your views to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. We encourage you to ask the Board of Regents to end their well-known support for the seven proposals. We call on you to ask the Board of Regents to resist inappropriate political intervention and to task its university administrators to further enhance the quality of Texas A&M University while always striving to remain cost efficient.

The reaction to the break through solutions proposal at UT, the other flagship university in the dramatically different than at A&M. At UT, its Chancellor and President "have been standing up for what a Tier One university should be", said the president of its faculty senate. The Texas A&M leadership should be as vigorous as UT in seeking to preserve its status as a Tier One university.

It is our observation that individuals, including Boards of Regents, often misunderstand the fragile nature of academic prestige. It does matter what Regents say and do. An ill-advised short term decision will have long term detrimental impacts. They should be challenged to recognize and preserve the generational obligation that has caused Texas A&M to be the great university that we all love and respect.
Well done, gentlemen.

My own discussions of the "Breakthrough Solutions" can be found: here, here, here, and here.

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