UT Writes Back to UH Pen Pals, Lawmakers on Houston Campus Plans

UT WRITES BACK TO UH PEN PALS, LAWMAKERS ON HOUSTON CAMPUS PLANS UT Houston Campus Site, Buffalo Lakes, HoustonUniversity of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven sent a letter yesterday afternoon to a list of higher-ups in Texas higher education and in the state legislature. McRaven’s letter comes in response to a February letter signed by 35 former University of Houston regents and addressed to the same crowd; that letter followed UT’s January purchase of 100 acres near the intersection of Willowbend Dr. and Buffalo Spdwy. for a planned Houston campus. Yesterday’s letter from McRaven repeated past assertions that the still-ambiguously-purposed land would not become another university, and that UT is not trying to hinder UH’s development as a research institution, adding that “it takes two or more to collaborate.” McRaven also writes that UT is including the state higher-ed coordinating board on its task force to determine what to do with the new space, and asks if those opposing the expansion are “really convinced that Houston, the fourth largest and most international city in the U.S., has all it needs in terms of intellectual and innovative horsepower for the decades ahead?” [UT System via Dallas Morning News; previously on Swamplot] Conceptual rendering of proposed UT campus: UT System

8 Comment

  • lol. So McRaven says “We’re not wanting to compete with UH, either as a college, or as a research space”
    farther down “Isn’t Houston big enough for two colleges?”

  • Will future population growth make additional university capacity in Houston necessary? A UT campus here is a good idea if UH begins to experience overcrowding.

  • I don’t think you appreciate how low UH’s standards are. They would be more than willing to dump 300 students in every classroom as long as their checks clear. If you’re saying that there’s room for 2 “good” universities then absolutely, as of now we only have Rice.

  • I notice that a lot of folks seem to think that the UT System is well-regarded for quality of instruction and research…but I think that there is some confusion about that. UT-Austin fits the bill, but some of the lesser schools offer merely mediocre instruction and comparatively little in the way of research opportunities; some of their programs are obviously profit centers. I don’t doubt that there are some educational niches that are underserved in Houston, but the question really ought to be whether the UT System is justifiably the best entity to serve those needs, either because it already has existing assets in Houston (such as MD Anderson) or whether its something in their mission that they can’t do anywhere else very well for some reason (such as A&M’s marine biology and naval architecture programs in Galveston). The UT and UH Systems are each branches of state goverment and should ostensibly be on the same team, so the rationale for any generalist program has to be based on some kind of administrative efficiency. If that rationale doesn’t exist or is weak but the UH System can’t pull off the same programs due to funding issues, well then the legislature needs to enable UH to do what UT says ought to be done that UT evidently has the spare resources to fund. Perhaps then its reputation would improve as well…

  • @MrEction – You act as if other public universities in this State don’t have large classrooms. UH, despite its reputation, is actually a good school. Not only has it become a Tier 1 Research University, a sports powerhouse and a huge part of our City’s economy, it has done so without the funding that UT or A&M receive from the State. Yes, I am an alumni, so perhaps you could call me biased, but I can tell you from first hand experience, it is a great education and it has served me well. I am successful BECAUSE I went to UH, not despite it.

  • @CREBBQ – I can also speak from experience on this. I have attended both UT (undergrad) and UH (grad) for technical degrees in both cases. The differences in quality are incredibly stark. I had little choice in where I went to graduate school since Rice did not offer graduate studies in my discipline of interest, and honestly I question the value of the education I am getting. I make the extra effort to learn beyond what is expected, but based on those expectations I would have a hard time ever recommending a UH graduate for a technical position. I will agree with Niche though that there is also a very large difference between UT-Austin and it’s satellite schools.
    Also, the fact that you think that the sports team has ANYTHING to do with the quality of the university speaks volumes.

  • If the state feels that more public university services are needed in Houston then it should accomplish that through funding equalization–far more efficient. If UT is a better university (a great university to be sure but as someone who has hired many people, UT students performed near the bottom; my top performers come from UH, Rice, St Thomas) its because of its long access to the PUF. UT’s move comes as UH is getting increasing accolades and money. This is simply a play at putting UH in its place. UT Admin is lying about their intent. They should be forced to sell the land. That kind of move is supposed to be discussed, approved by the education board. At the end of the day, UT is a state institution the same as UH. If UH had something similar Dallas under the same logic there would be unending criticism pouring out of Austin.

  • @MrEction @CREBBQ The differences between UT and UH are all related to the access to the PUF . I’ve been around the Houston academic community, and students from Rice, UT and UH differs in the funding access of their labs (not the quality among them at all). A lot of research groups in Houston are assembled from UH-Rice-Baylor-UTHouston professors and students.
    UH is outstanding in some fields as superconductivity, energy, chemical eng, etc. I think they manage their limited funds way better that other Texas education institutions.