In response to fiscal problems at Texas Southern University, former UT President Larry Faulkner was selected Tuesday by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on an advisory committee that will make recommendations to the university's board of regents.
Perry issued an executive order Tuesday, naming the intent and members of the advisory committee. Texas Southern University is one of two traditionally black colleges and universities in Texas. Perry said in his order that it is in the state's and students' best interests to continue and improve the higher education at the university. The committee will meet continuously until March 15, when they will present the board of regents with suggestions and long-term plans.
"Recent findings of questionable management practices have unfortunately hurt the reputation of a good university," Perry said in a written statement. "The members of the advisory committee will evaluate the mission, direction and overall management practices of the university and recommend real changes where needed to keep TSU focused on its core mission of educating students."
The university has been historically underfunded and suffered financial challenges, university spokeswoman Gayle Barge said. The committee will be excellent to help fulfill the needs of the students, she said.
The governor's office has created this committee to be a resource for the university, as they consider structural and operational changes, Faulkner said.
"I have a lot of experience in higher education in leadership in Texas and elsewhere," Faulkner said. "That's why I guess Gov. Perry appointed me. I believe that our goal is to largely provide advice on how TSU can strategically meet its mission more effectively and how it can operate more effectively."
Faulkner can bring leadership and heartfelt commitment and take the university where it needs to go, Barge said.
As president of the Houston Endowment, Faulkner said he has some connections with Texas Southern University. The Houston Endowment, which is a foundation that supports education, arts and the environment, is funded by the wealth of Jesse and Mary Gibbs Jones, who were an influential couple in Houston in the 20th century, Faulkner said. The endowment has financially supported TSU in the past.
The committee will meet for the first time Feb. 7. Along with Faulkner, some other members of the committee are National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Gary Bledsoe and committee chairman and Rep. Glenn Lewis, D-Tarrant.
"TSU has a long history of producing able African-American leaders in Texas," Faulkner said. "Its been an important institution in developing the social fabric here. To fulfill that future, it's got to operate as effectively as possible and my job is to help them do that."
Story courtesy of the Associated Press and The Daily Texan.