The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board met on July 22 to hold their quarterly board meeting. Materials can be found here and the agenda can be found here. Part one of the hearing can be found here and part two can be found here. Audio disruption occurred throughout the livestream.


This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Agenda Item 1-C: Commissioner’s Comments

Harrison Keller, Commissioner of Higher Education

  • Have had robust discussions; have a lot going on this year
  • Will have a major policy discussion around digital learning
  • Digital learning was a silver lining to the pandemic
  • Established a new division of digital learning from GEER funds
  • Will get a public report on the review/revision of the 60X30 plan
    • Will consider how to change plans to meet the states
  • Update on transfer initiatives is important due to implementation of legislation last session and the work of the Texas Transfer framework
  • Will update on new GEER Funds in addition to the $175 million allocated to higher education previously
    • Will have much to discuss concerning the grant and contracting process


Agenda Item IV-A: Moving Forward with Digital Learning in Texas

Michelle Singh, Assistant Commissioner Digital Learning

  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Digital learning is an important component in the future of education
  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Keller has said their goal is to make this agency a better resource/partner for institutions
  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Overviews Michelle Singh’s professional history
  • Goal of the Division of Digital Learning is to promote and sustain quality digital learner experience
  • Overviews the staff of the division; GEER funds have been used to hire two members
  • Digital learning was an asset to get Texas through the pandemic and Winter Storm Uri
  • Online learning has cons like digital interruptions and perks including accessibility
  • Need to look at digital learning as an integral part of learning
  • This is not a competition to face-to-face instruction
  • We are not going back, but moving forward to preserve success of it
  • “New normal” is delivering the best experience regardless of the medium
  • Will leverage institutions’ resources to handle a globally competitive job market
    • Virtual career fairs, hybrid spaces, etc.
  • Need to change the narrative of digital learning; should be mainstream, institution centric, and part of a successful business strategy
  • Will engage stakeholders and conducting surveys
  • Currently have a research engagement with UT Austin to figure out what services/programs/projects are needed
  • Open Education Resources Grants currently impact 34,000 students
  • Will begin providing capacity grants to provide a framework for students who do not have digital infrastructure at their schools
  • Recently launched OER Core Elements academies for digital support
  • Will continue to offer OER Advanced Skills academies; is in high demand
  • Are going to hold community events such as Open Texas Conference, OERTX Creator Fest, and the Digital Learning Summit
  • Partnering with Dallas College, The Charles A. Dana Center, DIGITex, ISKME, OpenStax, and Texas Digital Library
  • Started technology assistance partners task group from the last round of OER grants
  • Are going to create a Digital Learning Clearinghouse resource site which does not exist anywhere else in the states
    • Is funded by GEER funds
  • Are looking forward to the $96.1 million more in GEER funding
  • Agency is working on Data Modernization Initiative, TXWORKS and are expanding digital service catalog
  • Want to infuse digital learning in every aspect of learning; like stackable credentialing, hybrid environments, re-skilling and upskilling
  • We want people to say that Texas got it right and leveraged what happened to move forward
  • Raven and Singh discuss how to change the rhetoric that digital learning is not just for emergencies
  • Torn – Understands the benefits of digital learning, but what about those who lack the access to online learning and what about networking?
    • Need to empower institutions how to do this effectively; did not have time to teach this during the quick transition
    • Need to study programs; working on measurement to find where resources need to be put
  • Torn – Need to ensure all students have the same opportunities
  • Smith – For the website, will there be student involvement in its creation?
    • Have student engagement; have a student representative in LTAC also
  • Keller – This underlines our ability to be a resource and advocates; will work in close partnership with our institutions
  • Keller – Would not be able to do this without legislative leadership
  • Farias – Is about increased visibility
  • Wilson – Concerned about creating a good resource that is not used
    • Are going to pilot this and will look at what is successful at current universities
  • Schwartz and Williams discuss their support of the program


Agenda Item V-A: Gifts and donations to the Board

  • Gifts and donations are approved by the board


Agenda Item V-B: 60x30TX revision Update

Melissa Henderson, Associate Commissioner

  • Are looking to revise the state’s 60X30 plan by the following parameters:
    • Leveraging and accelerating innovation
    • Expanding focus to include adult learners, especially reskill and upskill
    • Prioritizing high value credentials than align to current/future job opportunities
    • Ensuring Texans have access to all the related information
  • Highlights areas of stakeholder engagement including the Summer Summit, message testing, and outreach efforts
  • We be examining if expansion of the age range for all working-age adults or to have specific targets for different age groups
  • Are substantial gaps between skills and credentials high-value jobs need and those that Texans have
  • Student debt goal and marketable skills goal have been and continue to be met
  • Artificial Intelligence may require works to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030
  • Measurement should focus on graduation outcomes in the workforce, specifically employment and salary
  • Ideally, forms of measurement will also focus on the medium and long-term
  • Will continue to discuss the metrics for this aspect of the plan
  • Texas received only 7% of U.S. R&D expenditures even though Texas was the third in the nation in research expenditures
    • Texas falls behind 14 other states in this area
  • Overviews expenditures of institutions as it relates to state research funding
  • Several state-funded programs that advance research funding:
    • National Research University Fund
    • Governor’s University Research Institute
    • Texas Research Inventive Program
    • Texas Research University Fund
    • Core Research Support Fund
    • Texas Comprehensive Research Fund
  • State research funding at Texas public universities was approximately $373 million in FY 2020 and $341 million in FY 2021
  • Stakeholder feedback has stated that commercialization metrics are difficult to track and current data is limited
  • As conversations continue, will be open to metrics that can be used in the future
  • Equity considerations are going to be across the board
  • Next steps are open comments in the Texas Register on July 20
  • Deadline to submit comment is on August 29
  • Comments will be reflected in October board meeting materials
  • August-September goals/metrics will be defined, strategic plan drafted, and stakeholder engagement
  • October board meeting will have approval of the strategic plan
  • Will externally launch strategic plan at the Fall leadership conference
  • Wilson – Has been difficult to measure success; involving employers is important


Agenda Item V-C: Update on Texas Transfer Initiatives

  • Farias – SB 25 from the 86th strengthened transfer policies, will be presented
  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Cannot do this without engagement and cannot pretend to know what is best for students
  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Have student representatives on a new committee to improve transfer moving forward


Stacy Silverman, Assistant Commissioner

  • SB 25 is the best unit of measure for transfer initiatives
  • Have implemented the following statutory obligations:
    • Allow students to provide consent to share information about other programs if not admitted to the institution of choice
    • Students must file degree plan earlier at 15-30 hours
    • Study core curriculum/meta majors
    • Producing a report on non-transferrable credit (improvements underway)
  • Are in progress in implementing collecting recommended course sequences
  • The Texas Transfer Advisory Committee is implementing the Texas Transfer Framework
  • Subcommittees will meet in August
  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Aims to handle lateral transfers from other four-year universities as well
  • Farias – Good to hear about student engagement
  • Williams – Could you elaborate about dual enrollment obligations?
    • If a student needs dual credit, aims to get them to take what would apply to their degree plan
    • Would have a degree map to easily determine what they need to take
  • Williams – Community colleges self-report?
    • Do not have a reporting requirement for a degree plan for community colleges, but institutions do


Agenda Item V-D: Update on Star Awards

  • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Propose to use the Star Awards to recognize institutions of higher education who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic


Ginger Gossmin, THECB

  • Provides an overview of the Star Award’s history
  • Application deadline in August 27
  • Early October finalists are determined
  • Farias – Will you ask if board members who have done something similar before?
    • Will focus on internal staff reviews due to the expedited nature
    • If board members want to look at nominations, will defer to the Commissioner
    • Keller – Want to bring recommendations to the board, aim to pick a broader range of effort
  • Wilson – How many institutions qualify in the state?
    • Over 300, is open to everyone; could even include K-12
    • Ray Martinez, Deputy Commissioner – Could be over 100


Agenda Item V-E: Update on the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund

Harrison Keller, Commissioner of Higher Education

  • Previously were granted $175 million, and $103 went out the door right away
  • Overviews Phase I of GEER Funding
  • Raven – What level of reimbursements would the university make to the foundation?
    • Keller could not hear the question due to technical difficulties
  • Are well below the 60X30 target particularly for male students, black students and Hispanic students
    • Will need to focus on how to engage these populations
  • Lessons learned from Phase I:
    • There are skills gaps
    • Limited training capacity for high-value programs
    • Challenges in bridging access for adults, adult returning students need support, and HEERF can be used for strategic investments
  • GEER Phase II grants $94.6 million in total:
  • Expanding capacity for high-demand high-value education: $48.1 million
    • Up to $25 million to launch Texas TRUE Initiative; established by SB 1102
    • Will be grants to support expanding micro-credentials
    • Will be grants to expand data collection and analytics; includes development of course sequences
    • $5 million to support work-based learning and apprenticeships and short-term in high demand fields
    • Will be working with TWC to set up a state credential library; was included in HB 3767
  • Financial aid and student support: $28.5 million
    • Supports additional grants
    • Protection for college, but no credential
    • Resources will be allocated for student success and equity including counseling programs to HBCUs
    • Will pilot two student financial aid programs; one for transfer students and for high-achieving low income students
  • My Texas Future: $10 million
  • GradTX 2.0 Expansion: $4 million
    • Was originally a part of LAR, Governor’s Office noted we could use GEER funds
  • Data security and assembly: $4 million
    • Completion of the legacy modernization project, was originally part of LAR
    • Working closely with institutions on different grant applications
  • Torn – What is the accountability for these dollars?
    • Have reporting requirements such as students served with Phase I
    • Have tried to structure programs to figure out how effective they are
    • Want to be able to go to the Governor and Legislature to show how these programs will help bolster need for investment
  • Schwartz – Discusses funding as a silver lining of the pandemic
    • Hope we can get a no-cost extension from the federal government to ensure we are using these funds effectively/efficiently
    • Need to move aggressively as current deadlines remain


Agenda Item VII-C: Proposed Contract and Grant Approval

Nichole Bunker-Henderson, General Counsel

  • GEER Funding expiration is in June 2022; necessitates action to give flexibility to the Commissioner to approve authority that lies with the board
  • Have some procurement flexibilities due to the Governor’s Disaster Declaration
  • Authorize the Commissioner ability to approve any grant items or contracts less than $1 million
  • Motion to delegate full board committee ability of Rule 1.16 a-c to the Commissioner to approve all grant awards and contracts awards less than $1 million is adopted unanimously
  • Grant approval items and proposed contracts were removed from the agenda


Agenda Item VI-A: Consent Calendar

  • Consideration of approval of the 60x30TX Progress Report
  • Consideration of adopting the recommendation relating to approval of the nominated members of the Formula Funding Advisory Committee for the 2024- 2025 biennium
  • Consideration of adopting the recommendation relating to the certification of gifts that are fundable through the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) for emerging research universities
  • Consideration of adopting the recommendation relating to approval of the Facilities Audit Report
  • Review of facilities projects that were submitted to the Coordinating Board,
  • pursuant to Texas Education Code, Sections 61.0572 and 61.058
  • Consideration of adopting the TEXAS Grant Program report (Texas Education Code, Section 56.311(c-1))
  • Consideration of adopting the recommendation relating to the report on the effectiveness of the Open Educational Resources Grant Program (Senate Bill 810, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, and Rider 55, 86th Texas Legislature, Regular Session)
  • Report on activities of the Joint Admission Medical Program
  • Report on activities of the Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee, including the report on trusteed funds distributed in Fiscal Year 2021
  • Report on activities of the Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual Advisory Committee
  • Consideration of adopting the recommendation relating to changes in the Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual
  • Report on activities of the Medical Education and Graduate Medical Education Programs
  • Report on activities of the Autism Grant Program
  • Report on activities of the Learning Technology Advisory Committee
  • Report on institutional requests related to new degree and certificate programs acted on by the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioners since the last Board meeting
  • Consideration of adopting the January 2021 Annual Compliance Reports for institutions under a Certificate of Authorization (names beginning with “A” through “O”)
  • Consideration of adopting the request to extend the current contract with a higher education artificial intelligence vendor for the Virtual Advising Project (ADVi) for a term of one year
  • Consideration and possible action to extend the current contract with an open educational resources repository vendor for the OERTX Repository for a term of one year
  • Consideration of approving the appointment of member(s) to:
    • Apply Texas Advisory Committee
    • Certification Advisory Council
    • Learning Technology Advisory Committee
    • Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual Advisory Committee
  • Consideration of approving the issuance of a Request for Applications for the:
    • Autism Grant Program
    • Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Leadership Grant
    • Emergency and Trauma Care Education Partnership Program
    • Graduate Medical Education Expansion Program
    • Graduate Medical Education Planning Grants Program
    • Statewide Preceptorship Programs
  • Report on grants and contracts
  • Motion to approve the above items adopted unanimously


Agenda Item VI-A: Consent Calendar (Rules)

  • Consideration of adopting proposed amendments to Chapter 1, Subchapter J, Sections 1.151 and 1.152 of Board rules, concerning the Financial Aid Advisory Committee
  • Consideration of adopting the proposed repeal of Chapter 22, Subchapter AA, Sections 22.729–22.736, concerning the Kenneth H. Ashworth Fellowship Program
  • Consideration of adopting the proposed amendments to Chapter 22, Subchapter C, Section 22.53 of Board rules, concerning the Repayment of Loans
  • Consideration of adopting the proposed repeal of Chapter 22, Subchapter M, Section 22.265, concerning the Authority to Transfer Funds
  • Consideration of adopting proposed amendments to Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Chapter 1, Subchapter G, Rule 1.131; Subchapter H, Rule 1.138; Subchapter I, Rule 1.145; Subchapter O, Rule 1.188; and Subchapter P, Rule 1.195 of Board rules concerning the advisory committees and their abolishment date
  • Motion to approve the above items adopted unanimously


Agenda Item VII: Matters relating to the Committee on Innovation, Data, and Educational Analytics

Consideration and possible action to solicit and/or enter into technology services contracts, totaling up to $1.5 million, to support creation and implementation of the student/public portal in furtherance of both the GradTX 2.0 initiative, associated labor market tool and other future agency initiatives, to be funded by federal Wagner-Peyser 7(b) funds granted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board by the Texas Workforce Commission


Tiffani Tatum, THECB

  • Currently looking at key pieces for implementation
    • Resource library
    • Career and career pathways information
    • Currently need education in training element
  • Contracted with one entity, but the plans are to expand
  • Motion to approve item adopted unanimously


Agenda Item IX: Matters relating to the Committee on Academic and Workforce Success

Donna Williams, THECB

  • Recommendation relating to the report on the effectiveness of the Open Educational Resources Grant Program adopted via consent
  • HB 1735 86 R – review of sexual harassment and assault policies under Education Code Chap. 51, reviewed 18 institutions and found compliance among all institutions, 2 were given recommendations & complied with these
  • Motion to adopt recommendation relating to funding appropriated to the Joint Admission Medical Program for Fiscal Years 2022-23 passes
  • Motion to adopt recommendation relating to the distribution of funds trusteed to the Coordinating Board to support Family Practice Residency Programs for Fiscal Year 2022 passes
  • New degree program requests
    • Texas A&M PhD in Philosophy in Construction Science – approved
      • Patrick Suermann, Texas A&M – Ready to support a PhD program in the dept., have 28 existing PhD students funded through grants & have largest construction research program currently
    • Texas A&M Kingsville BS in Computer Engineering – approved
      • Scott Smith, Texas A&M – Provides overview of computer engineering degree, won’t require additional resources to offer this degree
    • UT El Paso BS in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering – approved
    • UT RGV PhD in Physics – approved
      • Guy Bailey, UT RGV – Timely with expansion of SpaceX and other industry moving into South Texas
      • Farias, THECB – RGV is a fast growing area, agrees that this is timely & needed
    • Angelo State PsyD in Counseling Psychology – approved
      • Drew Curtis, Angelo State – Confident it meets workforce demand of training competent mental health professionals & meets mental health needs of Texas
  • Agenda items IX N through P(2) were approved on consent
  • Motion to extend the current contract for the Texas Success Initiative Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) passes
  • Motion to establish an interagency contract (IAC) with The University of Texas at Austin for continued research and data services for Texas OnCourse
    • HB 2827 87th R
    • OnCourse is a CCMR initiative widely used by counselors across the state, also provides digital learning for middle school
    • UT Austin data services have been relied on since inception of OnCourse, through the IAC the Research & Data team will manage a 3rd party evaluation, $400k total, $190k passthrough for evaluation
  • Motion to enter into agreements with Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Christian University, and Trinity University to allocate funding to continue the Advise TX College Advising Program passes
  • Agenda items IX P 6-10 were considered earlier
  • Agenda items IX Q 1-4, R 1-6, and S 1 were approved on consent
  • Motion to adopt new rules in Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Chapter 4, Subchapter U, Rules 4.360-4.364 of Board rules concerning Recommended Course Sequencing, Development and Institutional Reporting passes


Agenda Item X: Matters relating to the Agency Operations Committee

  • Comm. approved minutes, software items, $4m in GEER to support legacy application modernization
  • Comm. also received updates on 87th Session outcomes, review of FY 2021 financial report, audit of agency-wide financial statements for FY 2020, and compliance monitoring, among others
  • Motion to adopt operating budget for 2022-23 passes
    • Covers 2022-23, changes incl. $110m in financial aid, $48m for GME, $19.5m for children’s mental health, and CAPPS funding
  • Motion to adopt Annual Internal Audit Plan for FY 2022 passes
    • Risk-based, addresses many of the topics discussed at this meeting
  • Motion to adopt Annual State Compliance Monitoring Plan for Fiscal Year 2022 passes

Plan is driven by statute, addresses data integrity, financial assistance for higher ed institutions, and sexual misconduct compliance