Proposition 4 an ally in University’s efforts
As a Cougar, I am always interested in any initiative that will impact our University and has the potential to shape who we are as an institution. Proposition 4 is now center stage in our minds because of its strong implications in helping our University achieve its brave initiative toward reaching flagship status.
Proposition 4 is a Texas constitutional amendment that establishes state funding for certain public universities to assist them in achieving national prominence as major research hubs. This amendment also seeks to prime the pump, so to speak, by channeling funds from generic higher education activities toward a more narrowly defined national research university fund.
We all know that anytime there is money involved, it can spur great debate. Money deals with taxpayers’ pocketbooks and determines the course of many of Texas’ higher learning institutions.
Say ‘moolah’ and people tend to quiet down and listen up. The debate all comes down to values; what we want to spend our money on. Values in any community or society can be very diverse. Texas is made up of a diverse group of debaters on the issue, and UH is one of the most diverse universities in the nation. The nation itself is the product of the blending of different cultures, values, beliefs and groups of thought.
According to Dr. William Cunningham, retired chancellor of the University of Texas System, ‘some people in Texas do not want to hear about the value of (flagship) institutions because of their ‘elitist’ qualities.’
Is it all a fa’ccedil;ade? Does flagship mean anything? Does it have substance, or is it just a label? As a Baylor University alumnus, I know firsthand what flagship status can mean.’
Baylor has been on the cutting edge of research for many years; so much so that even the latest Star Trek movie borrowed ideas from Baylor researchers who made groundbreaking discoveries on the subject of ‘warp speed.’
Some are uncomfortable with what I feel are progressive efforts. Flagship status has become a new catch phrase, and students were probably unfamiliar with the term until recently.’
Now, whenever you open The Daily Cougar, there it is. Flagship status wants to build on our University’s capabilities of producing brilliant minds in research and other respected forms of scholarship. UH proudly espouses its intent to reach this mark so that we can enhance our impact upon the communities that students decide to contribute to while here and perhaps when leaving.
I commend the University of Houston for being wise in eyeing the climate of our times; we need research and economic development. ‘
I believe the aim of Proposition 4 is closely aligned with the environment and climate of our state. After all, Texas is an epicenter of innovations in energy, technology and commerce. In order to increase the potential impact of our University for producing innovative scholarship for our state and abroad, flagship status seems to be a commendable endeavor.
A mentor once told me, ‘There is nothing wrong with aiming for the stars and setting lofty goals, because even if you fall short of reaching them you are better off; you will find yourself in the stratosphere, at the least.’
I think we will make it all the way to the top.