Center For The Study Of Texas Politics To Be Launched At U. T. Dallas
Will Examine Nuances of State's Political Process

In an effort to improve the electorate’s understanding of politics and the state legislative process, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is establishing a Center for the Study of Texas Politics.

The non-partisan center will be housed in the university’s School of Social Sciences and headed by Dr. Greg Thielemann, a political scientist and professor of government, politics and political economy at UTD. According to Thielemann, the center will be dedicated to creating opportunities for citizens to interact with Texas’ leading policymakers.

“We hope to enhance the quality of instruction and research related to the study of Texas politics,” Thielemann said. “As part of that initiative, we will connect Texas political leaders with college and high school faculty and students, business leaders and others. By doing this, I believe, we can gain a more accurate understanding of the legislative process and of legislative issues important to Texas.”

To complement its goal of connecting government and political leaders with the community, the center will sponsor four policy-driven programs each year on campus. The following events are scheduled for the 2002-03 academic year:

  • September 25, 2002, 12:30-2 p.m.- Robin Hood and Public School Finance – The panel will include Texas Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant; State Senator Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo; and State Representatives Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, and Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville.
  • November 15, 2002, 6:45-8:15 p.m. – The Changing Face of Texas – Panelists include: State Reps. Fred Hill, R-Richardson; Helen Giddings, D-Dallas; and Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, and State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.
  • January 24, 2003, Time TBD – Judicial Selection – Panelists include: Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips and State Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock.
  • March 14, 2003, Time TBD – The Evolving Speaker of the Texas House – Panelists include: Former Texas House Speakers Gib Lewis, Billy Clayton and Gus Mutscher.

The lectures, which will take place in the Galaxy Rooms of the Student Union on the UTD campus, are free to UTD students, faculty and staff and $15 for all others. Individuals may purchase a discounted pass to both fall lectures for $20.

Additionally, the center and the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program will co-sponsor a for-credit leadership seminar for McDermott Scholars and students in UTD’s Collegium V Honors Program. The students will meet with Texas state senators, representatives and other leaders to learn about community involvement and public service. McDermott Scholars attend UTD on full, four-year scholarships and are selected on the basis of their ability, demonstrated performance and leadership potential.

At the outset, the center will be sponsored by UTD and TXU. The expectation is that eventually other corporate sponsors and community leaders will help fund it.

For more information about the center or its forums, please call (972) 883-4929 or e-mail [email protected]. For sponsorship information, please contact Carlos Peña at (972) 883-2107.

Media Contact: (972) 883-4431 [email protected] , or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].