The Coordinating Board adopted Closing the Gaps by 2015 (CTG) in October 2000. CTG was greeted by strong support from educational, business, and political communities. The plan has maintained a high level of visibility and support from these and other entities because of its potential to strengthen Texas’ economic base, attract businesses and faculty, generate research funding, improve quality of life, and enhance the overall stature of the state. Considerable progress has been made towards achieving the plan’s goals with strong legislative support and the creativity and initiative of higher education institutions in Texas.
Four areas require additional attention, however, if all of the goals and targets of CTG are to be attained by 2015. To this end, the Coordinating Board developed an Accelerated Action Plan to focus resources toward achieving targets in four lagging areas: 1) participation of African American males and Hispanics, 2) success of African Americans and Hispanics, 3) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degrees and certificates, and 4) teacher certifications and effectiveness. The Board and Texas institutions continue to work to achieve these goals by 2015.
Even as Texas deals with these immediate concerns, the Coordinating Board has begun to look beyond Closing the Gaps beginning a strategic vision for 2030. The Board adopted the following strategic vision at its April 2010 quarterly meeting:
2030 Leadership Vision for Texas
Texas is a global leader in higher education in which students, the State, our communities, institutions of higher education, and the P12 system have a shared responsibility for student success. Students complete their programs of study well prepared to succeed in the workplace, serve their communities, and improve their quality of life. Institutions of higher education and the graduates they produce are key contributors to creating an innovative and globally competitive economy in Texas.
To achieve this vision, the Council for Continuous Improvement and Innovation is charged with developing a culture of continuous improvement in Texas higher education and a higher education system that is internationally competitive.
Charges to the Council:
Charge One: Identify Metrics for Texas’ International Competitiveness by 2030
· The Leadership Vision provides the organizing framework for approaching the statewide 2030 strategic plan for higher education and outlines aspirations to move Texas toward international leadership in student success and higher education excellence. Using this framework the Council will review the preliminary analysis developed by FSG Social Impact Consultants and to concentrate the Council’s efforts on developing a focused set of metrics for assessing progress toward the vision and providing statewide accountability.
· The Coordinating Board identified two basic principles in moving forward: first, Texas and the Coordinating Board have a unique capacity to gather, analyze, and provide reliable, comprehensive statewide data; secondly, that data will be a core asset in mobilizing stakeholders and steering concerted action towards state goals. The Council will review proposed metrics and recommend the key final metrics needed to assess Texas’ continued progress towards an internationally competitive education system and economy.
Charge Two: Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
· Develop a culture in Texas higher education dedicated to the continuous improvement of educational outcomes and all those components necessary for Texas to be internationally competitive. The Council will review and recommend processes to increase efficiency and effectiveness across all higher education activities, including programmatic areas aimed to increase student success.
· Identify best practices in all areas of campus operations that have demonstrated success. The Council will identify, as appropriate, opportunities for collaboration in areas such as purchasing, program development, library resources, online education, and any other area deemed promising.
· Identify areas in which state mandates, policies, or procedures create inefficiencies or excessive costs for institutions. The Council will recommend an approach to capital financing with special attention given to developing an alternative to the use of Tuition Revenue Bonds and financing-deferred maintenance.