2012 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference Summary

Welcome to the information site for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2012 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference, which was held at the DoubleTree Austin Hotel (6505 IH-35 North in Austin) on October 4-5, 2012. The focus of this year’s conference was on Continuous Improvement and Innovation in Higher Education. Our keynote dinner speaker on October 4 was Dr. Arthur Levine, President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Speakers regarding innovative practices and improvements in U.S. higher education included Dr. Stephen M. Jordan, President, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Dr. Debra Humphreys, Vice President, American Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Andrew Ng, Director, Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Co-Founder of Coursera (preconference speaker at 11:00 a.m.; roundtable discussion leader at 4:45 p.m.).

The conference began at noon on Thursday, October 4, with the Annual State of Higher Education Luncheon and Star Awards Ceremony. The State of Higher Education Luncheon was also held at the DoubleTree Austin Hotel from 12 noon to 1:45 p.m. and featured the 2012 Star Award finalists and a keynote address by Dr. Raymund Paredes, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education. Conference sessions began immediately following the luncheon with a special legislative discussion featuring The Honorable Dan Branch and The Honorable Judith Zaffirini who provided an overview of the work of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency and the preparations that are being made for the 83rd Legislative Session. Panel discussions on that afternoon focused on innovative practices and activities at universities and colleges in the U.S. and in Texas that are helping to promote, sustain, and scale continuous improvements on campuses. The discussions included best practices that have been implemented. Thursday evening there was a special dinner for regents, trustees, and other higher education leaders that featured keynote speaker Dr. Arthur Levine.

The conference continued on Friday, October 5, with an orientation for new governing board members and other interested education leaders. To meet the recently mandated training for community college governing board members, as specified in House Bill 1206 (82nd Texas Legislature), special orientation sessions from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. included best practices in campus financial management, financial ratio analysis, and case studies using financial indicators. While these sessions satisfied the training requirement for newly appointed regents and elected trustees (Texas Education Code, Section 61.084), many tenured regents and trustees also found them helpful.