AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry today encouraged more institutions of higher education to utilize a competency-based approach to earning a degree, and highlighted the importance of technology to help improve four-year graduation rates and make tuition more affordable. The governor was joined by Co-chair of the Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education, Governance, Excellence and Transparency Judith Zaffirini, House Higher Education Committee Chairman Dan Branch and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Chairman Fred Heldenfels IV for the 2012 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference, which is focusing on continuous innovation and improvement in higher education.
“Today’s highly-competitive, ever-evolving economy is demanding a workforce that’s more extensively educated and better prepared for the high-tech jobs of the present and future,” Gov. Perry said. “Through innovative programs and approaches, universities can meet their responsibility of educating the next generation of Texans without sacrificing an iota of the quality that's made our higher education system a beacon for researchers and students from around the world.”
Gov. Perry highlighted Texas’ College Credit for Heroes program, which uses a competency-based learning approach to allow veterans to get college course credit for the experience, education and training they obtained during military service. He also mentioned WGU Texas, a subsidiary of Western Governors University (WGU), which provides online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and this fall, will graduate its first class since its creation last year. The governor encouraged more colleges and universities to consider these affordable and flexible tools to help students seeking a degree.
“Innovation in academic programs and research and transparency in reporting our progress and processes are critical to our success in Texas higher education,” Sen. Zaffirini said. “Through effective bipartisan collaboration we can develop strategies and solutions to the challenges of ensuring accessibility, affordability and efficiency for students without sacrificing excellence.”