The Executive Director's
True Stories about Higher Education Recruiting
Guest Editorial: Dave Castle
2004-2005 GRF Contributors
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Association for Texas University Professionals
TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Vol. LVII No. 4
Texas Association of College Teachers ~ Defending Academic Freedom
by Dr. Elizabeth Lewandowski, TACT President
It is my great pleasure to be serving you as President of TACT. I hope
that in the next two years we can work together to make Texas a better home for
higher education and we can each renew within ourselves the desire to work both
on campus and off for the betterment of our students and our profession.
The 79th Legislature left us all with a bit of a sour taste in our
mouths. In an effort to protect the state budget, many campuses are now
facing cuts in both HEAF and general funding. These cuts have been put in
place at the same time that new state mandates are requiring more reporting.
Texas resident students will have to pay out of state tuition if they take too
many hours beyond their degree plan (a punishment for taking higher education
The news isn’t all bad. Some campuses will be breaking ground on new
construction, others will have funds for renovations. Many of us will
receive raises this fall. As I write, the special session on education has
begun and we all have hopes that some of the progress to be made will affect
higher education in a positive fashion.
Where does that leave us? TACT? Each campus? Each individual
employee of higher ed in Texas?
Admittedly it would be very easy to throw up our hands and say, “It’s over
for another two years. Why bother?” This would be a strategic
error for us all. While the regular session is over, a special session has
begun. When the special session is over, interim committees will be
established and serious work preparing for the 80th legislature will
begin. In other words, it isn’t over ! Ever!!
What does that mean to you and me? It means that the time for licking our
wounds is over and the time to begin the new fight has begun. At our
summer TACT Board meeting, we prepared our 2005-2007 Strategic Plan. We
have begun planning activities for the 2005-2006 academic year – a fall
meeting in Austin, spring regional meetings and campus meetings around the
state. We’ve begun discussion on the legislative strategy for the 80th
legislature. We’ve taken a serious look at our budget and the best way
make our dollars work for higher education lobbying.
In the upcoming months, you’ll be hearing how you can help make a difference.
Your phone call to a legislator can be the one to make a difference. Your
letter to a legislator can be the one to tip the decision. We are all very
busy – our TACT study (1999) showed that we average working more than 55 hours
a week. Sometimes a busy day turns into a week before we notice how time
has flown! Right now, most of us are enjoying a slower pace with summer
vacation, teaching and/or research. Take a little time to evaluate what
higher education means to you. Ask yourself if you can afford 5 minutes to
make a phone call or 10 minutes to write a letter to make a positive difference
in higher education in Texas.
Can you afford not to do so?
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