· The development of the new Higher Education Strategic Plan is an important step for Texas, one that requires consideration from all areas. One of the strengths of the current Texas higher education plan, Closing the Gaps by 2015, has been the buy-in and strong support from the state's educational, business, and political communities.
· In order to help develop the same level of buy-in and support, The Council for Continuous Improvement and Innovation in Texas Higher Education (CCII) recommended that an advisory committee be established to develop the next long-range plan for higher education in Texas. (Note: The CCII was formed as the result of a long-range recommendation from the 2010 Cost Efficiencies Report to the Governor, which came out of the effort of the Advisory Council for Higher Education Cost Efficiencies as a mechanism for promoting and institutionalizing efficiencies.)
· At the quarterly meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB or Board) on October 24, 2013, and on behalf of the CCII, Dr. David W. Gardner, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Planning and Policy/Chief Academic Officer, provided to the THECB an overview of the CCII’s recommendations relating to the schedule for inviting, securing, and considering institutional and other stakeholder feedback on the potential goals and the prospective measurable targets associated with the next long-term plan for higher education in Texas. (Please see Beyond Closing the Gaps: Timeline for Moving Forward.)
· On November 22, 2013, as part of the 2013 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference held November 21-22, 2013, in Austin, Texas, institutional governing board members and other higher education leaders were provided information about the work being done and planned by the THECB to establish the next long-range plan for higher education in Texas. After an overview presentation, conference participants were divided into four facilitated working groups and asked to provide feedback on the potential goals that were being considered for the next long-term plan for higher education in Texas.
· On December 6, 2013, the proposed THECB rules concerning the establishment of the “Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee,” the advisory committee that would provide to the THECB advice and recommendations regarding the Board’s development of the next long-term strategic plan for Texas higher education, were published in the Texas Register, with the required 30-day comment period to end on January 6, 2014.
· On December 9, 2013, a memorandum requesting nominations for committee membership was distributed to all the chancellors and presidents of Texas institutions of higher education. From chancellors and presidents, nominations were sought for (1) former members of boards of regents and trustees, or (2) former presidents and chancellors of higher education institutions who would be willing and able to contribute meaningfully to the work of the committee. Requests for business representatives who could similarly contribute meaningfully to the work of the committee were sent to the business community, with all nominations to be received by January 10, 2014.
· Once nominations were received, the nominations were reviewed to ensure statewide coverage and even representation of all stakeholders. THECB staff then verified that nominees were willing to serve and recruited members in areas that were needed.
· On January 6, 2014, the 30-day comment period for the new rules concerning the establishment of the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee ended with no comments received.
· At the quarterly meeting of the THECB on January 23, 2014, the THECB: (1) adopted the rules for the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee (please see Rules for Strategic Planning Committee); and (2) voted to authorize the Board Chair and the Chair of the Board Committee on Affordability, Accountability and Planning to approve the membership of the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee.
· Final membership of the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee was approved in late February, and on February 21, 2014, formal invitation letters were sent to Strategic Planning Committee members.
· The first meeting of Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee was held on March 3, 2014, at the Coordinating Board’s Offices in Austin. The Committee was charged with providing to the Coordinating Board advice and recommendations regarding the Board’s development of the next long-term strategic plan for Texas higher education. The tasks assigned to the committee included: (1) making recommendations for the goals, targets, and statewide strategies for the next long-term strategic plan for Texas higher education, and (2) soliciting input from stakeholders and the general public across the state.
· Subsequent to this initial meeting, the committee will meet on a monthly basis, as required by workload and tasks. Special meetings may be called as deemed appropriate by the committee’s presiding officer. Meetings will be open to the public and broadcast via the web, unless prevented by technical difficulties. Institutions will have input through subcommittees and during comment periods.
· It is anticipated that at the THECB’s quarterly meeting on July 23, 2015, the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee will present to the THECB for consideration and adoption the committee’s final recommendations regarding the next long-term strategic plan for higher education in Texas (as modified on the basis of solicited input from stakeholders).