Commentary Archive

UT Dallas could not have reached its current steady pace of reaching Tier One goals without the dedication of administrators, donors, faculty, legislators and friends of the University.

These links offer insight into how we got here.

Tier One Archive
Tier One Commentary and Discussion
President Daniel is a finalist for Texan of the Year

December 23, 2009 - "The rallying cry was for more nationally recognized, Tier One research schools — an area where Texas has been a national laggard, not a leader. Momentum built into enactment of legislation that was remarkably similar to the idea hatched in the UTD president's office. For his bright idea, pluck and dedication to building a better state, we salute David Daniel as a finalist for 2009 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year." Read more...

UTD president stumps for Dallas to build an ‘MIT of the South’ PDF

August 6, 2009 - Summertime is often downtime for college presidents. But David Daniel has spent the past three months on the go, holding ‘presidential gatherings’ and trying to bring the University of Texas at Dallas to the forefront of the business community.” Read more...

Tier One university bill is signed, uniting old foes PDF

August 6, 2009 - "One could have easily mistaken Wednesday's signing of the so-called Tier One bill, designed to create more Texas research universities, for a higher education love-in. There were the presidents of the UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas and University of North Texas grinning and giving each other the thumbs up." Read more...

Perry signs law to help Texas universities PDF

June 17, 2010 - “Sitting outside a lab filled with stainless steel instruments and winding cables, Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday signed into law a bill that creates an incentive program to award seven Texas universities millions of dollars in an effort to help them become top U.S. research institutions.” Read more...

Perry to sign bill today at UT-Dallas to encourage creation of major research universities PDF

June 16, 2009 - “Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to travel to the University of Texas at Dallas to sign a bill today that will encourage creation of more major research universities in Texas.” Read more...

Tier-one bill provides 'methods' for Tech, emerging universities to reach goals PDF

June 9, 2009 - “Even with a blueprint in place allowing Texas Tech and six other emerging research universities the chance to become national research institutions, the finish line could be years away.” Read more...

Dallas-area leaders say brain power is key to Dallas' prosperity PDF

June 5, 2009 - For Dallas to prosper in the next 100 years, public and private leaders said Thursday, the keys are education, new talent and a robust trade industry. One goal for the city to cut foreign competition should be to turn local universities into top research institutions, Richard W. Fisher, president and chief executive of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said at the 100th anniversary luncheon for the Dallas Regional Chamber.” Read more...

Welcome Competition PDF

June 4, 2009 - “They say every journey begins with one step. The three of us watched the state of Texas embark on a journey this week with a giant leap toward excellence – the passage of a bill creating competitively awarded incentives to support the emergence of national research universities.” Read more...

Voters to decide on Tier 1 funding in November PDF

June 3, 2009 - “Voters statewide will have a say in whether Texas develops more top research universities on the level of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station.” Read more...

Texas needs more great universities. And we're likely to get them. PDF

June 3, 2009 - “Just when we’re about to despair of Texas, our legislators confuse us by doing something really, really smart — like making sure that our state has enough top-notch universities.” Read more...

Editorial: Toward Tier One status PDF

June 1, 2009 - “The 2009 Legislature has set the bold goal of pushing more of Texas’ research universities into the ranks of the nation’s best. At a time when many economically distressed states are spreading financial pain to higher education, Texas lawmakers made the shrewd decision to strategically invest.” Read more...

Bill for more 'tier one' universities heads for governor's signature PDF

June 1, 2009 - “A bill creating a pathway for Texas to have more top-notch research universities cleared the House and Senate on Sunday and is headed to the governor. The bill would change two sources of state funds, containing about a half-billion dollars, and target them and $163 million in new money as incentives for seven state universities to attract more research money and top faculty.” Read more...

Tier one safely passed PDF

May 31, 2009 - “Dallas Democratic Rep. Yvonne Davis just got to make her case about bypassing the budget process. Speaker Pro Tem Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, answered her questions. And the last hurdle was cleared for the tier one university bill to pass.” Read more...

Trench Warfare, Anyone? PDF

May 29, 2009 - “No part of the country has escaped the recession’s wrath, but North Texas is on relatively firmer footing than most regions. California, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts are hemorrhaging jobs at astronomical paces and pursuing large tax increases to mend shattered budgets. California had gone so far as to send taxpayers IOUs instead of tax refunds they were owed to close the state budget deficit. This isn’t the sort of move that inspires business confidence, helps economic competitiveness or keeps talented workers from packing up and moving to other states.” Read more...

Editorial: Adjust 10 percent law and add to Tier One pool PDF

May 19, 2009 - “Developing more Tier One schools would give top students more choices. When the Texas House takes up the Senate’s bill that would revise the state’s 10 percent rule, House members are likely to feel a sense of déjà vu. Two years ago, the chamber endured a testy debate over the rule, which guarantees admission to most Texas public universities for students who finish in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.” Read more...

Texas must have more Tier 1 universities soon PDF

May 12, 2009 - “After years of political posturing that got them nowhere on establishing more Tier 1 schools, state lawmakers appear ready to invest some serious money in expanding the number of research universities in Texas.” Read more...

UTSA's Tier 1 fate rests in trio of proposals PDF

May 7, 2009 - “With calls for more national research universities in Texas at top volume, state lawmakers are on the verge of bringing that dream closer to reality.” Read more...

To compete nationally, Texas needs research universities PDF

May 4, 2009 - “In 2000, Texas set a bold goal for itself: Enroll 630,000 more students in colleges and universities by 2015.” Read more...

Boosting universities to top tier could take 20 years

May 2, 2009 - “Legislation intended to increase the number of top-tier research universities in Texas enjoys wide support among state lawmakers and appears likely to pass this session. Whether it will achieve the goal is another question.” Read more...

Make UT-Dallas a Tier-One University

May 1, 2009 - “We should take advantage of the economic plights of California, Michigan, and the East Coast to recruit their best companies to relocate to Texas. We should also lure away from their universities the best and brightest to come make the University of Texas at Dallas a tier-one university and Southern Methodist University the Dallas equivalent of Rice.” Read more...

A Strong Start PDF

May 1, 2009 - “State lawmakers made an emphatic statement the past two weeks about building a higher-education legacy. The House and Senate each unanimously passed legislation that could give seven emerging research universities the tools to reach elite Tier One status and catch up with other mega-states in the quality of higher learning.” Read more...

Senate OKs criteria for universities seeking top-tier status PDF

May 1, 2009 - “Legislation that specifies how seven state universities can qualify for the extra funds they need to become top-tier institutions was approved by the Senate on Thursday despite complaints that two schools – Texas Tech University and the University of Houston – have an inside track under the bill.” Read more...

Help for universities to reach Tier 1 OK'd PDF

April 25, 2009 - “A bill to help more Texas universities gain national research prominence easily passed the House on Friday. But the funding for the competitive grant program – estimated at $500 million over the next two years – still must be added to the budget, a tough hurdle with the state in a tight financial situation.” Read more...

UTSA gets push toward top status PDF

April 25, 2009 - “Texas lawmakers voted unanimously Friday to make it easier for the University of Texas at San Antonio to gain elite status by gradually becoming a national tier-one research institution.” Read more...

Dan Branch: Tier One universities are key to Texas' future PDF

April 21, 2009 - With more than 24 million Texans and only three national Tier One academic research universities – UT-Austin, Texas A&M and Rice – it’s no wonder that our top schools have more outstanding applicants than they can admit.” Read more...

Meeting the need for Tier l PDF

April 10, 2009 - “It’s not hard to tell which current legislative bill is the best to help universities like the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas grow into nationally recognized research institutions.” Read more...

Editorial: Hits and Misses PDF

April 10, 2009 - “Call this a good week for colleges and students across Texas. The Texas Senate overwhelmingly approved a resolution that would give voters the chance to approve a way to fund more Tier One universities. A ‘yes’ vote on that resolution in November would allow Texas to cultivate more national research universities. In turn, schools like the University of Texas at Dallas could attract more research projects that benefit Texas’ economy.” Read more...

Rethinking earmarks for eggheads

April 7, 2009 - “When it comes to muscling up to the funding trough in Austin, I’m happy to say the University of Houston does better than any other large university not named UT-Austin or Texas A&M at College Station.” Read more...

Editorial: Texas should invest from Rainy Day Fund PDF

April 3, 2009 - “When most of us read that the Texas Senate’s budget for the next two years is $182 billion, we probably think, ‘Omigosh, state spending is out of control. $182 billion is not chump change.’ Agreed, but there’s more to that number than the digits: The majority of the money comes from something other than the state’s general revenues. You know, sales taxes, business taxes and the like.” Read more...

NORMAN: Tier 1 legislation makes amazing progress in Texas Legislature PDF

April 2, 2009 - “The people pushing for more top-level research universities in Texas — including the presidents of the University of Texas at Arlington, UT-Dallas and the University of North Texas — have made a lot of headway in Austin since the Legislature convened in January.” Read more...

Editorial: Rising Tier One tide would lift top 10% students PDF

March 20, 2009 - “Take note: The heat’s about to spike in Austin. This week, GOP Sen. Florence Shapiro’s proposal to cap the number of freshmen that a state university must accept from the top 10 percent of Texas high school’s graduating classes is scheduled to hit the Texas Senate floor. Chances are it will pass because proposals usually don’t come before the full Senate without a clear shot of triumph.” Read more...

In House, tier one fund supporters make pitch PDF

March 12, 2009 - “Our top students need more nationally respected options,” said Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas. Texas loses 6,000 high school graduates each year to out-of-state universities, he said. “Many of these students will make their lives elsewhere and never bring their talents and skills back home to Texas.” Read more...

State wants more Tier 1 schools

March 11, 2009 - “Support from state leaders will boost the chances of the University of Houston and UT-San Antonio gaining elite status as national research universities under a plan likely to get a legislative go-ahead this spring.” Read more...

University Presidents Push Lawmakers for Research Status

March 11, 2009 - “Three North Texas university presidents are asking state lawmakers to help their schools become major research universities. Wednesday they testified that a bill authored by Dallas Representative Dan Branch would do that. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports on hopes that a new strategy will prevent the push for tier one schools from failing again.” Read more...

Editorial: Cost of Tier One universities PDF

March 5, 2009 - “The message appears to be sinking in: Texas’ higher-education standing in the nation is somewhere below second-best, and something must be done. State lawmakers, having listened to experts define the problem in hearings this year, are now zeroing in on the price tag of building more research universities of national stature.” Read more...

Tier-one spotlight on Houston, DFW PDF

February 25, 2009 - “Former UT President Larry Faulkner encouraged state leaders Monday to focus on the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas when they select public universities to be raised to tier-one status so that they will serve the largest portion of Texas’ population.” Read more...

Former UT president favors Houston, Dallas areas for next top-tier schools

February 23, 2009 - “Efforts to raise more public universities in Texas to a nationally competitive status should focus on Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a former president of the University of Texas testified today. Larry Faulkner, who stepped down in 2006 to become president of the Houston Endowment, warned members of the House Appropriations subcommittee on education that it could take 25 years or so for a university to rise to what some people call tier one, top tier or flagship status.” Read more...

Texas should outdo California with top-notch universities PDF

January 28, 2009 - “The long campaign by the University of Texas at El Paso to become a top research university may come to a head this year as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Legislature debate the need for creating more tier-1 universities in the state.” Read more...

Welcome Tier One support from Dewhurst PDF

January 21, 2009 - “He favors a strategy that rewards universities for their own efforts and successes. That aligns with House legislation filed by Dallas Rep. Dan Branch that would provide matching dollars to emerging research universities — say, the University of Texas at Dallas, UT-Arlington and the University of North Texas — when they land major grants or sign top faculty talent. ” Read more...

It's time to demand a research university for Dallas-Fort Worth PDF

January 9, 2009 - “We might argue who’s No. 1. But it’s very clear who’s not No. 1 today in any kind of college rankings: the underfunded state universities in Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and Denton. Forget football. The real measures of a university are research grants, thick course catalogs and quality faculty. The important ranking isn’t the football Top 10. It’s the Carnegie Foundation 96. Of the top 96 research universities in America, not one is here.” Read more...

Our focus for 2009 PDF

January 2, 2009 - “At the collegiate level, legislators should create a new pool of funds that the state’s seven emerging research universities can tap as they strive to become Tier One universities. The University of Texas at Dallas, UT-Arlington and the University of North Texas are among the schools raising funds to become recognized research universities. They can’t get there without beefed-up state aid for research, which will help the state develop the jobs our ideas-driven economy demands. ” Read more...

Tier One funding for Texas universities PDF

December 19, 2008 - “The presidents of North Texas’ three major public universities are showing the way to strengthen higher education in the region and state. Their unity should catch the attention of area lawmakers and prompt the Dallas and Fort Worth delegations to similarly come together and work toward the same goal in the upcoming legislative session. ” Read more...

Booming States Lure Academics From Those With Financial Woes

October 31, 2008 - “UT Dallas President David E. Daniel would like to see as many as three more Texas institutions, including his own, secure more than $100-million per year in sponsored research funds and possibly even join the American Association of Universities, a group that focuses on research-university issues. (Only three Texas institutions — Rice and Texas A&M Universities, and the University of Texas at Austin — are in that group.) … “We have an enormous opportunity to come out of this much better positioned nationally and internationally,” he said. Read more...

Texas Tech should be tier-one school

October 7, 2008 - “Texas needs at least one more national research university, according to Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas-Austin, one of only two such tier one public higher education entities in the state. … An investment of $188 million in state funds could bring four schools to tier-one status (Texas Tech, the University of Houston, the University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Texas-El Paso). An investment of $405 million could yield seven additional tier-one schools in Texas, bringing the total to nine.” Read more...

Area universities competing to gain top research status PDF

October 5, 2008 - “North Texas colleges and universities are in a high-stakes race that could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for the region. But the cost will be high. The goal: to become a top-tier university. The research generated would then spin off technology that companies could use to make products or fight disease. David E. Daniel, president of the University of Texas at Dallas, stoked interest in late May with a report suggesting that Texas create incentives to encourage schools to compete for Tier 1 status.  “It’s important because our economic vitality absolutely depends on centers of creativity and entrepreneurship,” Daniel said, adding that the United States must compete with China and that contest should not be based on which country has the lowest wages.” Read more...

Bailey plans to help Tech take step up

October 3, 2008 - “A growing number of Texas legislators believe the state needs more tier-one universities to join the ranks of Rice University, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas. They argue it would make the state more academically and economically competitive. California and New York have nine and seven such institutions, respectively. Seven Texas universities - Tech, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, UT-El Paso and UT-San Antonio - are vying for the top status.” Read more...

UTSA Tier One bid is right for region PDF

September 28, 2008 - “Making UTSA a national-level research university is not just about the institution or San Antonio. The economic growth of the region and the state is at stake as well. Texas has only three world-class universities. Two are publicly funded, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M, and one is privately funded, Rice University in Houston. The need for more top-tier universities is not new, but politics has played a major role in state leaders’ hesitance in designating the next flagship university.” Read more...

Officials address tier-one university bid PDF

September 26, 2008 - “Daniel said in an August interview with The Daily Texan that all seven emerging research institutions should be allowed to compete for state funds on an equal playing field under any plan. In his proposal Daniel said a comparison between the emerging research universities in Texas and national tier-one universities showed a gap in funds of $3,000 per student. Based on the average size of the seven schools, his proposal said a $70-million-per-year infusion of state funds would be required to achieve parity.” Read more...

Exploring the Unimagined PDF

September 14, 2008 - “Local leaders are calling for heftier state funding to elevate a Dallas-area university to Tier One research status. TI’s investment should be evidence that the business community does its part. TI’s commitment to higher education illustrates a university’s importance to the economy. The company’s founders established the forerunner of the University of Texas at Dallas to ensure the fertile minds vital to a competitive technology company.” Read more...

Lawmaker vows to push for more top-tier universities PDF

September 14, 2008 - “Texas absolutely needs more tier-one universities,” Rep. Dan Branch said. “We have two publics, one private. California has nine. To me, that says it all when you look at the economic development result of those federal research dollars and the fact that we’re missing that in Texas.” Read more...

Status: Tier One PDF

September 11, 2008 - “According to UT-Dallas, Texas ships out more than 10,000 high school graduates to colleges around the nation while only recruiting around 4,000 to Texas universities. More nationally recognized schools in Texas will increase the prominence of university education and research in the state, which will also increase economic opportunities for graduates in communities close to those schools.” Read more...

Eliminating politics to create more flagship schools PDF

September 10, 2008 - “Each of the seven contenders for flagship designation — Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, UT-El Paso and UT-San Antonio — has a good case that it should get it. … It is not likely that all of those schools could obtain flagship status in 10 to 15 years. Even if that were possible, it would cost far more than the Legislature would or could give. So the list should be narrowed to what is realistic. To do that, the state must move beyond politics, said Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. We agree. Paredes believes that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, along with experts, could use objective standards to whittle the list. “We have the criteria now,” Paredes said. “They’re not arcane or esoteric.” Read more...

Consensus growing on need for more top-tier universities

September 8, 2008 - “Perhaps the most comprehensive proposal has been put forward by UT-Dallas President David Daniel, who wants schools to compete for the money and honor. Under Daniel’s 34-page plan, the state Legislature would set aside up to $210 million a year, and the schools that aspire to tier-one status that raise the most money from private and community sources would get the largest shares of that kitty. Besides seeking traditional donor gifts, the schools might try other approaches, such as raising scholarship money for local students from a city, a business or some other entity, he said.” Read more...

Public universities in North Texas should work together on Tier 1 status PDF

August 24, 2008 - “Texas lags far behind other large states in its number of Tier 1 research universities. It has three, two of which are public: The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station. The third is private Rice University in Houston. The Association of American Universities says that California has nine Tier 1 institutions. New York has seven. The Dallas-Fort Worth area, with 6.5 million residents, has none. What’s needed to change that, of course, is money. David Daniel, president of the University of Texas at Dallas, told the UT System board of regents this month that it would take a minimum of $70 million per year in additional incentive and matching funding to bring just one of the state’s “emerging research universities” (a list that includes UT-Arlington and UT-Dallas) to Tier 1 status.” Read more...

UH makes strong pitch to compete

July 30, 2008 - “The race is on for Texas’ wannabe top-tier universities to prove to lawmakers why they deserve to be the state’s next UT or A&M. Actually, the race has been ongoing for more than a decade, but state leaders have shown signs that they may finally be getting serious about the idea. Texas has only three nationally competitive research universities, if you count Houston’s private Rice University, while California is generally considered to have nine and New York, eight. Such institutions are considered vital to a region’s economic growth, in staving off a brain drain and maintaining a skilled, well-paid work force. And well-funded, cutting-edge research and development attracts employers and generates startups.” Read more...

Texas needs to grow more research schools PDF

July 24, 2008 - “UT-Dallas certainly is close to becoming a Tier One school, and we think that Dallas-Fort Worth, the nation’s largest metropolitan area without such a research university, could support one.” Read more...

University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas make case for more research funds PDF

July 24, 2008 - “All of us today are talking about building a stronger Texas and focusing on the resources we have and the resources we need,” UTA President Jim Spaniolo told Senate subcommittees on higher education and higher education finance. …“We’re all in this together,” UNT President Gretchen Bataille said. “We need educated people in this state, and it’s up to all of us to contribute to that.” Read more...

Legislature, keep focus on colleges PDF

April 29, 2008 - “Lawmakers need to create a way for universities to compete to become Texas’ next top-tier research school. We’re not talking about a session-consuming debate over which universities deserve that chance. We could fight that battle for years and never come up with an answer. We’re talking instead about giving any of Texas’ emerging research universities the chance to earn that distinction. That list includes such schools as the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Tech University.” Read more...

The Need For A Dallas-based Research University PDF

April 7, 2008 - “Cities without research universities are the Rust Belts of tomorrow. No city that does not have a vibrant intellectual climate that attracts and engages bright minds will be a long-term player on a major scale in the new economy.” Read more...

Next UT chancellor can help Texas PDF

April 7, 2008 - “We certainly need a Tier One university here in Dallas-Fort Worth, the largest metropolitan area in the country – in the country – without an elite research university. To get to that point, the state needs a new policy designed to lift more schools to Tier One status, which requires such tangibles as at least $100 million in research spending.” Read more...

D-FW needs top-tier university PDF

April 6, 2008 - “An effort to build a Tier One university in North Texas will center on Austin next year. At least six legislative committees or special panels are analyzing the Byzantine process for funding universities, including the possibility of redefining priorities. A whiff of transformation is in the air. It’s an opportunity not to be squandered by political, business and community leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth who understand the economic and social value of attracting creative minds to the region.” Read more...

Beyond UT, A&M Legislators: Create another flagship university PDF

February 17, 2008 - “There are two possible scenarios for the crowding crisis in Texas’ top universities: Students can continue competing like mad to get into limited spots at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. Or legislators can create a third, maybe even a fourth, flagship school that high schoolers want to attend. ” Read more...