Our institutions are committed to driving innovation in higher education by engaging in meaningful conversations with each other and with state policymakers and by informing institutional and state policy deliberations to increase the number and diversity of Texans holding high-quality certificates and degrees.
During the 2017 Texas legislative session, the Postsecondary Innovation Network engaged in discussion with lawmakers to inform their efforts to accelerate innovation in higher education with House Bill 17. While the legislation was ultimately unsuccessful, it laid the groundwork for current conversations about the future of higher education in Texas.
House Bill 17 would have established a facilitated network of leading public colleges and universities to incubate, evaluate, and rapidly scale innovations in educational delivery to expand opportunities for all Texans. The primary goal of the accelerator was to increase dramatically the numbers and diversity of Texans holding high-quality certificates and degrees by 2030. Participating institutions would have committed to accelerating the development and adoption of innovative and effective approaches to teaching and learning on their campuses and working in partnership with other Texas secondary and postsecondary institutions. The plans also included sharing lessons learned with other educational institutions, state agencies, and organizations across the state and beyond. These new approaches might have included innovative curriculum designs, including more efficient and flexible program requirements, streamlined transfer pathways, and expanded uses of applied learning experiences such as internships and co-op partnerships; improved approaches to advising and student academic support; expanded low-cost online learning opportunities; more strategic approaches to competency-based education and credit for prior learning; more flexible academic calendars; and, more cost-effective approaches to financial aid.
To facilitate rapid prototyping, testing, and scaling of innovations in educational delivery, participating institutions would have received broad relief from many state statutory and administrative regulations governing educational delivery. Beyond regulatory relief, the effort would have included serious efforts to design new higher education funding models based on outcomes in terms of production of high quality certificates and degrees in line with state goals, and an ability to draw on a specified pool of state funds to provide seed capital for developing and scaling innovative educational programs. Participating institutions would have committed to matching any startup funds received with a reallocation of existing institutional funds, and to sharing lessons learned including failures and improvements as well as successes.