Texas Tribune panel discusses higher education enrollment at Odessa College


Citing a major fall statewide in college student enrollment in bigger instruction establishments, Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith led off a paneled discussion Thursday at Odessa Higher education sharing how three West Texas education and learning leaders were being picked not simply because their respective establishments reflect the statewide drop, but alternatively mainly because their establishments are looking at raises in student populations contrary to the statewide craze.

Signing up for Smith in the discussion bundled Greg Williams, president of Odessa Faculty Sandra Woodley, president of the College of Texas Permian Basin and Scott Muri, superintendent of the Ector County Unbiased University District.

Placing the stage for the dialogue, Smith shared statewide statistics on university student bigger schooling enrollment, highlighting how the state has viewed just over a 13 percent fall in local community college or university enrollment and a 4 % drop in primary 4-year establishments.

Nevertheless, the functionality in West Texas institutions do not replicate this decrease.

“The information in this area is really improved than the news in Texas in the main,” stated Smith, adding “and section of the purpose we desired to come here is not due to the fact you’re emblematic of the decrease, but since seemingly some thing is operating right here that is not performing in other places.”

Woodley described how UTPB knowledgeable about a 5 % enhance in pupil enrollment all through the onset of the pandemic, and when she states very last year the faculty shed about 375 students, this 12 months UTPB officers are viewing an upswing of about 11 percent enrollment. Woodley accredits a 5-year effort to entice people today to go to, the new Falcon Absolutely free Method, exactly where pupils with restricted household methods can get their tuition paid out for, and other outreach applications.

Shifting to Williams, Smith pointed out how neighborhood colleges historically symbolize the bulk of the higher instruction populace in the condition and opened the ground to Williams to make clear how Odessa University is managing to “cut towards the grain” by viewing higher pupil expansion.

Williams reported when he commenced at Odessa Faculty, the institution experienced 4,000 college students, and the higher education has viewed file progress each year, including for the duration of the pandemic, and broke 8,000 learners for the first time this previous fall.

Williams explained that in 2011 Odessa Higher education had a “defunding scare,” and school leaders made the decision at that time they would hardly ever keep on being in a placement to depend solely on the legislature for funding.

Questioned about the college-heading culture right before the pandemic vs . right now, Muri said the society was on the rise which he attributed to the collaboration with the other institution leaders on the panel.

Muri went on to condition that ECISD officials determined that at minimum 70% of their pupils require to have one of 4 varieties of post-secondary qualifications, such as a diploma, technical licensing or military working experience.

Muri included that the vital to reaching that 70% intention is making a tradition inside of the pupil populations that glance toward write-up-secondary schooling goals. He discussed that in partnering with equally area bigger education establishments college students at the district could become a component of those people institutions by-twin credit rating and enrollment chances.

Smith cited a wide range of studies on submit-secondary schooling in Texas among the youthful grownups, which includes how Texas is only 2nd to California in grown ups ages 24 to 35 that do not have at the very least an associate degree.

Woodley resolved these stats focusing on the underperformance in West Texas by citing the need to have in the rising vitality field for a workforce that requires a increased-level of education and learning and skillsets.

Smith then shifted the conversation back again to the Texas Legislature, prefacing his up coming query to the instruction leaders by mentioning current steps by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in earning the Senate Higher Education and learning Committee a subcommittee, mentioning Patrick’s desire in ending college tenure, and then asking no matter whether they felt that the legislature understands the value of increased schooling and no matter if the legislature “respects” it.

Williams responded by expressing he doesn’t know how the legislature feels but that his position is to make an impression on the legislature while concentrating on their students.



  • Smith shared how in a earlier conversation with condition Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) that Craddick shared how when he 1st arrived to the legislature in 1969 school finance was a top concern. Quick forward decades and the concern is still something the legislature has however to remedy, Smith observed.
  • Woodley shared how UTPB navigated the pandemic by flipping to electronic finding out really swiftly. Williams reported the pandemic ultimately built OC far better and defined how they held school coming to perform and transitioned as quite a few learners as attainable to digital discovering.
  • Asked to determine any a single plan that the legislature could put into area to solve the challenge that Texas does not have a strong higher education culture, Woodley reported the situation comes back to funding and that the legislature should really make sure the formulation, which includes those people for K as a result of 12 colleges, are fully funded to maintain schooling inexpensive.
  • The discussion is obtainable to look at on need at texastribune.org/events.


Source website link