Welcome to the information site for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2013 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference and Annual State of Higher Education Luncheon/Star Awards Ceremony. The conference and luncheon were held at the DoubleTree Austin Hotel (6505 IH-35 North in Austin) on November 21-22, 2013. The focus of the conference was on Closing the Gaps by 2015 and Beyond. Our keynote speakers included writer and speaker Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character; Dr. Jeff Strohl, Director of Research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce; and Rick Legon, President of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).

The conference began at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 21 with an orientation for new governing board members and other interested education leaders. Special morning orientation sessions included separate, concurrent sessions for university and community college board members. While these morning sessions partially satisfied the training requirement for newly appointed regents and elected trustees (Texas Education Code, Section 61.084), many tenured regents and trustees also found them helpful. The concurrent sessions were followed by a special luncheon and panel discussion featuring tenured regents and trustees who discussed what they wish they had known as new governing board members.

Immediately following the luncheon on November 21, conference sessions began (and orientation sessions continued) with a facilitated panel of legal experts who discussed effective trusteeship, ethics, and the avoidance of conflicts of interest. This legal panel was followed by a facilitated panel of higher education leaders who discussed how effective systems implement policies and develop effective working relationships with their campuses. A special reception and dinner for regents, trustees, higher education leaders, and other invited guests followed these discussions. This dinner featured the leaders of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency who provided an overview of the work of the Committee and discussed key higher education legislation passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry. Also featured at this dinner was a special recognition of “Texas Tuners” – those faculty members from across the state who contributed their time and expertise as members of the 2010, 2011, or 2012 Tuning Oversight Councils as part of the Texas Tuning Initiative.

Conference sessions continued on November 22 with keynote addresses by Paul Tough regarding the hidden power of character and its promotion in college students, and Dr. Jeff Strohl regarding higher education and the workforce. Following these keynote addresses, an overview of preparations being made for the next long-range plan for higher education in Texas was presented. Interactive workshops led by representatives of AGB were held to secure feedback on the four potential goals that are being considered for the next higher education plan and the key metrics to measure the state’s progress toward making Texas an international leader in student success and excellence by 2030.

The conference concluded with the Annual State of Higher Education Luncheon and Star Awards Ceremony. The luncheon was held at the DoubleTree Austin Hotel from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. and featured our 2013 Star Award finalists and a keynote address by Dr. Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education.


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