RP75 - Relating to the establishment and support of Western Governors University Texas
GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF TEXAS
Austin, Texas - August 3, 2011
Relating to the establishment and support of Western Governors University Texas
WHEREAS, although enrollment in all Texas institutions of higher education has increased 47 percent since 2000, there is still a significant need to provide adult learners with greater access to opportunities to obtain higher education degrees; and
WHEREAS, increasing the number of Texans with college degrees and credentials will make Texas even more competitive in the global economy; and
WHEREAS, Western Governors University (WGU), a nationally recognized, nonprofit, independent university that is regionally and nationally accredited, offers online degrees based on demonstrated competency as opposed to degrees based on credit hours, clock hours or grades; and
WHEREAS, WGU is fully independent and requires no direct state financial participation or support; and
WHEREAS, Texas helped create WGU in 1997 to provide greater access to affordable education and training opportunities through online, competency-based programs, and Texas pledged to take appropriate actions to support the goals of WGU; and
WHEREAS, the mission of WGU is making higher education more affordable while improving educational quality; expanding access to underserved populations, including veterans; graduating students, and not just enrolling them; and meeting key workforce needs; and
WHEREAS, Texas and WGU desire to substantially increase the availability of this unique educational opportunity to Texans by establishing WGU Texas as a nonprofit educational institution in and for the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, the State of Texas should take additional significant steps to enable WGU to expand its services in Texas for the benefit of our adult learners;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of the State of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Texas, do hereby declare and express the commitment of the State of Texas to WGU and in its establishment of WGU Texas to meet the needs of more Texas students by providing online, competency-based educational opportunities, and in support thereof I do hereby call upon:
All agencies and officials of the State of Texas to work cooperatively with WGU toward the creation and establishment of WGU Texas as a nonprofit Texas institution of higher education that will provide Texans with enhanced access to online, competency-based higher education degree programs.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to recognize, endorse and support online, competency-based education as an important component of the state's higher education system; to work to eliminate any unnecessary barriers to WGU Texas' delivery of such education programs; and to work with WGU Texas to integrate its academic programs and services into the state's higher education policy and strategy.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to explore, consider and implement appropriate and effective methods to promote online competency-based education opportunities like those that WGU Texas will provide to dislocated workers, veterans and other Texans in need of higher education achievement and degrees.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) to explore, consider and implement appropriate and effective methods to promote and partner with WGU Texas to expand the supply of science, technology, engineering and math related teachers in Texas.
THECB, TWC, TEA and all other agencies whose assistance is required to create appropriate data-sharing processes, as may be required by state or federal guidelines for higher education providers, to assess WGU Texas' performance and determine the extent to which it helps the state achieve the goals of its higher education system.
In further support of these efforts, the state is entering into an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding that the state and WGU executed in 1997, to further memorialize and enhance the state's participation in and support of WGU Texas.
Pursuant to the terms of that addendum, WGU Texas shall establish an advisory board whose members shall be appointed in consultation with the governor.
This executive order supersedes all previous orders in conflict or inconsistent with its terms and shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded or superseded by me or by a succeeding governor.
Given under my hand this the 3rd day of August, 2011.
RICK PERRY (Signature)
ESPERANZA "HOPE" ANDRADE (Signature)
Secretary of State