|Image source: Office of the Governor website|
Texas Governor Perry’s Encouragement for Faculty
Today I had the privilege of being invited to, and participating in, a conference call for bloggers with Texas Governor Rick Perry. I have always promised to remain apartisan in this blog, so I will merely report on what he said without comment. One participant asked a question relevant to higher education and I report the question and the governor’s answer.
Questioner: Do you have any words of advice or wisdom for faculty in higher ed and the university system in general as a lot of them are already feeling several years of budget crisis and with the stringent cuts that we are looking forward to over the next year? What would you say to faculty who are trying to make it happen for the students?”
Perry: Yeah. Well, here I think we have some of the really fine institutions of higher learning in the country [here] in the state of Texas, and as we look at ways to make our institutions more affordable and accessible and really challenging the universities, and obviously their faculty as well, to come up with new and very expansive ways of creating more wealth. For instance, the commercialization of technology has not been as expansive at our institutions of higher learning as they should be. For instance, we had some statutes and historic ways of doing research where the professors and those researchers did not get to enjoy the wealth, if you will—they didn’t get to share in the proceeds that came from the commercialization of technologies, and I happen to think that the universities that really expand and make and allow, if you will, their faculty to be more engaged in keeping some of the wealth that they create with their research and what have you, that you’ll make Texas a more inviting place for professors to come and to continue to increase that ability to raise money. Obviously, our research capabilities are bringing federal dollars [from] the department of, for instance, the defense accelerated research projects—they use billions of dollars that are available there to create new and innovative… whether its treatments for disease or whether its protection of our troops, and all of those will, most likely, those innovations will come from our colleges and universities, so I full well expect our universities in the state of Texas will be stronger over the course of the years to come, and some of these universities in other states that continue to strangle, for lack of a better word, the innovation that their professors and instructors and researchers are allowed to be engaged in will fall behind and Texas will become a place where a researcher who truly wants to work, a professor who truly wants to work and be paid by virtue of the product they are putting out of the classroom, they’ll be rewarded with higher salaries and I feel very comfortable that we are going to continue to be a place that [faculty], whether it is professors or researchers, etc. want to come and live.