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Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
July 23, 2008
Contact: Celeste Villarreal
(512) 463-0121
University Leaders Testify before Senate Higher Ed Subcommittees

(AUSTIN) — Texas needs more research funding and additional research universities, according to higher education leaders who testified at the State Capitol today (Wednesday). They addressed a joint hearing of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee and the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee that focused on interim charges issued by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, chairs the two subcommittees that heard testimony from representatives of academia and industry, health-related and general academic institutions, and the campus and system levels.

Witnesses discussed research productivity and funding in Texas, including undergraduate research and research commercialization, and their impact on economic development and revenue streams for universities.

"It is important that grant research criteria include opportunities for undergraduates as well as graduate students," Senator Zaffirini said. "Commercialization of research will become more important not only because of the real world benefits, but also because it can provide much needed additional revenue sources for higher education institutions, especially research emerging institutions."

Chancellors and university presidents who testified included Bill Powers, president, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Elsa Murano, president, Texas A&M University; Dr. Renu Khator, chancellor, University of Houston System; KentHance, chancellor, Texas Tech University System; Dr. Gretchen Bataille, president, University of North Texas; Dr. David Daniel, president, University of Texas at Dallas; Dr. Diane Natalicio, president, University of Texas at El Paso; James Spaniolo, president, University of Texas at Arlington; and Dr. Ricardo Romo, president, University of Texas at San Antonio.

Each subcommittee will make recommendations to the 81st Texas Legislature that convenes on Jan.13.

The legislature appropriated $16.5 billion for higher education during the current biennium.

Z photo

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI presides over two higher education subcommittees at the Texas Capitol. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed her Chair of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee and of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee.