FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2008
(AUSTIN) — Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst on Tuesday (Jan. 29) issued interim charges for all Senate committees, including the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee chaired by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.
The Higher Education Subcommittee is charged with looking at ways to improve quality, increase affordability, and expand access to higher education. The charges include examining different methodologies for assessing the quality of degree and certificate programs at higher education institutions and for measuring student learning outcomes, reviewing the method for measuring graduation rates to determine whether alternative measures are more appropriately suited for institutions with a large percentage of non-traditional students, examining ways to assess and improve academic advising to help students succeed in higher education and complete their course of study and graduate in the minimum time required, and studying research funding and assess the research infrastructure and capabilities at higher education institutions.
"I am delighted that Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst issued these substantive and important charges that will enable the subcommittee to develop important policies related to higher education," said Senator Zaffirini, the second-highest ranking senator and the highest-ranking senator for Bexar County and the border region. "This subcommittee will play an important role in improving higher education in Texas as a result."
As vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee during the 2007 regular session, Senator Zaffirini was instrumental in drafting a balanced budget while restoring funding for critical health and human services programs. She was one of five senators on the Appropriations Conference Committee who wrote the state’s final appropriations bill and is one of four on the Legislative Budget Board that is co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick. The LBB has budget execution authority during the interim, along with the governor.