UT and A&M Stack Up Well Against Peers (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture

Critics of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M have had tough questions the last couple of years about how efficiently the state’s flagship universities use their dollars. They also have raised doubts about whether faculty members spend enough time teaching students vs. pursuing research projects.

The debate over the value that taxpayers, students and parents get from their investment at these schools has produced robust exchanges, the latest of which came last week from the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education. The organization, which is backed by supporters from the worlds of business, foundations and higher education, produced a report that shows how UT and A&M serve Texas as leading public research universities and as campuses for quality undergraduate educations.

Legislators should read the study as they consider how much to invest in these universities next year. The analysis that Michael McLendon, the new associate dean of SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, did while he was still on Vanderbilt University’s faculty highlights numerous findings that should reassure lawmakers. Here are just a few:

UT and A&M beat many other public research institutions in graduating their students in six years.

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