President's Column: Final Letter
by Donna Cox, Professor Emeritus, Sam Houston State University
As I contemplate my last “Message from the President”, I am at a loss as to what I should compose. Should I write something involving politics, something that is enlightening, persuasive or reflective? I have experienced all of these as a member of TACT. Becoming involved in a political process has been a wonderful learning experience for me. Through my association with TACT, I was able to share my concerns in higher education with various legislators. I learned that our elected officials do want to understand our concerns. They may or may not agree with what we have to say, but they are generous to open the door of their offices and listen to what we have to say. It is quite empowering to be able to actively seek solutions to concerns, instead of just reading about them in press.
When I attended legislative days, I learned about the inner workings of state legislative committees, how they come by their decisions and how those decisions directly affect higher education. Legislators have many constituents. Some seem to have more influence than others. One of greatest benefits to TACT is the years of long guidance and tireless work of Chuck Hempstead. If you have ever walked the halls of the state capitol with Chuck, you know that everyone knows him and are quick to shake his hand. Chuck has made it possible for members of TACT to visit face to face with members of the Texas Legislature multiple times a year. Chuck is truly the unsung hero of TACT.
I have been persuaded that membership in TACT is not only valuable but exceedingly necessary in order to accomplish goals that are important not only to teachers of college students but for our students and their families as well. The organization has taken on concealed carry on campus, protection of free speech by all, questioned unfunded mandates that financially burden many campuses, challenged the quality of some mandated programs and fought for salary increases for faculty. Sometimes I found pressing these issues uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, but necessary. Who will ask uncomfortable questions or argue basic rights for students and faculty if not TACT?
Finally, I have been reflecting on the years I have been a member of TACT and on my two years as president. I am proud of and my association with TACT. The dedication of Chuck, his staff, and TACT members who share information about issues concerning higher education have my greatest respect and my association with these people has made me a better person.
Welcome to Lisa Hobson, our new TACT president. May your tenure in the office be as meaningful for you as it has been for me.