bloggin' all things brownsville

Sunday, June 8, 2008

UT System Releases 2007-08 Accountability Report for UT Brownsville

Although the University of Texas at Brownsville continues to increase its enrollment and graduation rates, long-standing issues continue to exist, according to the UT System’s 2007-08 Accountability Report released last month.

Below are some highlights from the report. For the full report, click here.

Achievements, But …
According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, UTB ranked 8th in number of baccalaureate degrees awarded to Hispanic students in mathematics and statistics.

UTB also ranks 6th nationally in master’s degrees in mathematics and 16th in master’s degrees in English Language and Literature awarded to Hispanic students.

In fall 2007, UT Brownsville enrolled 17,214 students, an all-time record enrollment. Over the past five years, the campus has experienced rapid growth, with an enrollment increase of 63 percent. The three colleges and three schools of UT Brownsville educate more than 16,000 undergraduates and nearly 900 graduate students.

However, more than 65 percent of all undergraduate students are enrolled part-time – the highest percentage compared to its peers. And, a substantial proportion of this headcount enrollment growth was the result of a dual-enrollment program allowing high school students to complete college credit courses. Beginning in fall 2005, the dual-enrollment program expanded significantly and dual-enrolled high school students accounted for 14.8 percent of the total headcount enrollment. By fall 2007, the dual enrolled students accounted for 33.9 percent of the total headcount.

More than 90 percent of UT Brownsville students come from Cameron County, among the nation’s 100 poorest counties with a per capita income is $10,960. Ninety-one percent of students are Hispanic, mirroring the ethnic composition of the community. Seventy percent of full-time undergraduates and 65 percent of part-time undergraduate students receive need-based financial aid.

From 2003 to 2007, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded increased by 50 percent to 922 degrees and the number of master’s degrees increased by 16 percent to 179.

In fall 2007, 106 first-time undergraduates were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, more than 8 percent of the total top 10 percent cohort in Texas.

Graduation and Persistence Rates
UT Brownsville’s first-year retention rate of 69 percent is third highest among its peer institutions, and is approaching the campus’s goal for 2010 of 70 percent.

However its six-year graduation rate, 18 percent, is the second lowest among this group of institutions.

The number of baccaulaureate degrees awarded increased by 50.4 percent from 2003 to 2007 to 922. UT Brownsville contributes significantly to the production of baccalaureate degrees in mathematics, ranking eighth nationally in numbers of baccalaureate degrees awarded to Hispanic students in mathematics and statistics.

Student Experience
Comparing UT Brownsville with peers on three indicators from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) provides an overview of how seniors at UT Brownsville viewed their educational experience. Based on the responses of seniors in 2007, 82 percent of UT Brownsville students evaluated their educational experience as good or excellent, and 82 percent of seniors said they would attend the institution again, equal to national peers.

However, academic advising was viewed less positively at UT Brownsville. Sixty-three percent of UT Brownsville seniors responded that academic advising was good or excellent, compared with 71 percent of students at peer institutions.

Overall, UT Brownsville added a total of 205 faculty, an increase of 39 percent. The full-time equivalent faculty increased from 378 to 504, a 33.3 percent increase over the same time period. Between 2003 and 2007, tenure-track faculty increased by 61 percent to 142.

However, compared with peers, nationally and in the 10 most populous states for the 2007-08 academic year, faculty salaries at UT Brownsville were generally lower than the average at all ranks.

From 2003 to 2007, the value of UT Brownsville’s endowments has increased by 88 percent from $3.9 million $7.3 million. The 2007 value of its endowments translates into $831 per FTE student and $14,772 per FTE faculty. Donor support declined from $1.3 million to $1 million; not unusual for a young institution in UT Brownsville’s economic setting.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any numbers on the graduation rate of students that started as part of dual-enrollment?

Patricia A.

Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Ms. Patricia A.,

That is a great question. I doubt the numbers would be strong, since many dual enrollment students take the courses and apply them towards their degrees at other institutions.

This is a great opportunity to discuss dual enrollment. I believe dual enrollment is a good thing for students. One it gives them college courses while in high school which means they are living under the roof of their parents. This will help insure they study and don't spend the nights partying away with their friends if they take those same courses as Freshmen in college.

Two, it will help them not have to spend grant or more importantly loan money on courses as Freshman when they have other expenses for that money. Remember they are living under one roof.

Moreover, getting them closer to finishing their degree quickly gives them added motivationto stay finish their degree.

And finally, and I believe this is an overlooked point, if they don't have to spend money on that first year and possible part of their second year this will help the local economy in the long run. Why you ask?

Instead of them finishing their degree with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, which would be paid to credit agencies in other parts of the country like the Dakotas, they will have money to spend and invest.

They can begin to build their life. They can afford to buy that house, buy a steadier used car, pay taxes, etc. This is a good thing and they will not have to go into huge debt. Debt is a bad thing, just look at the mess we are in now.

This is why it pains me to see many non-local university professors claim Dual Enrollment is hurting the university. What about the community, folks?


Monday, June 09, 2008  
Blogger BobbyWC said...

Everyone knows I am no great supporter of the UTB/TSC administration - but I hate when cold numbers fail to tell the entire story.

Dual enrollment is a great thing. These are really TSC numbers and should not be included in the UTB analysis.

Community colleges are not universities - they are places where people go for limited job training, summer courses while home for the university, and to just get the freshman courses out of the way before hooking up with a full university.

Until they separate the dual enrollment and in fact all freshman courses from the analysis - I think the analysis unfairly hurts UTB -

Now look up the sky is falling - I defended UTB.

Bobby WC

Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Adela Garza said...

Why I’m running for TSC Trustee…
Let’s put the Students First!

I’m Adela Garza, candidate for the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees.

I am running for Place 1 Trustee to bring my years of experience as the President of the Board of Trustees of the LFCISD, my dedication and fresh perpective to our College leadership.

Let’s shift the focus back to the students! Current dropout rates are unacceptable. Our highest priority must be to ensure each and every student who enrolls will graduate, and to make this a reality our money must be directed towards the students’ needs.

As Trustee, I will work to invest in high-caliber professors, qualified assistants, local scholarship development, expanding the course schedule and improving availability, giving student real value for the tuition … the foundation of a valuable education.

Re: dual enrollment, it is a great benefit to the students of our community. It costs students 5 dollars to enroll at TSC, yet they receive full university credit at a great savings. High school students can take courses at TSC, begin collecting college credits and become practically a college sophomore before they transfer to UTB or elsewhere.

One issue I plan to address if elected is the issue of local taxation. We are being taxed twice. Paying high taxes every year, and then tuition at one of the highest tuition rates in the state, is simply not fair, particularly in one of the poorest counties in the nation. Changes will require renegotiating the partnership to modify the taxing situation.

To Patricia A: stats on dual enrollment are not easy to find as enrollment and graduation numbers for UTB/TSC are combined in the University's report to the State, due to the partnership. You can see the figures here:

I believe that together we can bring positive change.

Let’s give our students the education, support, and university experience they deserve!

I am asking for your vote one more time. Please don’t forget to vote in the run-off.

Last chance to vote early! TODAY and tomorrow (Tuesday) 8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Early voting locations
Brownsville : Brownsville Public Library, Courthouse Elections Office, Christ the King Church , UTB/TSC, and the Brownsville Navigation District Office
Port Isabel/ South Padre: Benny Ochoa III Annex Bldg (Port Isabel)
Los Fresnos: The early voting location for Los Fresnos has changed. Early voters please go to Resaca Middle School.

For more information please see my website and I'd love to hear your questions on my blog!

Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous BC said...

So in fall 2007 17,214 students enrolled in UTB. ok.

What kind of students are they?

Does that number include people that take a cooking class a music lessons or a dance class?

Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why you ask?


Because it's a program, and like all programs it has to be evaluated periodically to see if it's working. If the goal is to increase the number of local students that finish college, then I don't think it matters whether they finish at UTB or another institution; I don't think the goal is to perpetually increase dual-enrollment numbers for its own sake. The incentives you listed are ultimately suppossed to make graduation more attainable, so whether they finish at UTB or somewhere else, graduation rates this group of students need to be tracked separately.

Patricia A.

Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Ms. Patricia A.,

I don't believe I asked "Why you ask?" I am in agreement with you. I only said the rates might not be strong and that is okay due to students not finishing at UTB-TSC. They should be tracked separately and they also need to not count towards the enrollment data.

Administration inflate student population numbers that are not there. DE students generally do not use the facilities that "normal" students use. They are not a burden but are a benefit to the overall education of our students. There is no disagreement there.


Monday, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You put forth these numbers of degrees awarded to Latino students as if they have some actual meaning.

When the student population is well over 90% Latino, how can the school fail to have high numbers of degrees awarded to Latinos?

Pollyanna, Melly Anna, mirror, show me what's the difference?

Too esoteric?


DE students not a burden? My sources tell a vastly different tale. However, since I am known to splash certain discomfiting bits of knowledge about in a manner somewhat reminiscent of some of Linda Blair’s most memorable scenes, these particular revelations have been made with stern caveats against public repetition without prior authorization. Quite simply, the nature of the information would most likely reveal its source, and dissemination of anything that goes counter to the Shangri-La mythos that is de rigueur regarding this would be result in unacceptable repercussions. So many pontificating pundits.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

You put forth these numbers of degrees awarded to Latino students as if they have some actual meaning.

When the student population is well over 90% Latino, how can the school fail to have high numbers of degrees awarded to Latinos?

No, I didn't. The UT System did. I don't find any meaning in them, because -- DUH -- a high number of Latino graduates is unavoidable for a border communitiy.

For this to be listed as an achievement is ridiculous. Yes, increases in the number of graduates is, but the fact that they're Latino, isn't. It's a given.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Hey, Anon,

I took DE courses while I was going to high school. The only time I ever set foot on campus was to pay for my class and take my ID picture.

They are not a burden because most of the work they do are on their high school campus and work on their computer probably at home through proxy servers. They have access to information that is of benefit. Your sources are probably the same elitist professors ticked off they are not teaching only basic classes which are easier to teach because it is the same thing over and over again. Nope, they are probably having to teach more and more upper division classes as the number of DE students increase.

Now, if these students are ill-prepared to take these upper division classes, that is a different story. I wonder, did these upper division students take a course taught by an adjunct or a high school teacher with a master's degree?

Maybe they are afraid of failing these students because they might not keep their tenure-tracked job or won't be tenured-tracked at all or won't get that merit pay increase? Yeah, those are probably your sources.

Now as to your disgreement over the use of numbers, you may be right that numbers may not mean that much considering we are a border community with a bunch of Hispanic/Latino students. They almost have to be high by default.

But to say that Melissa is polyanna-ish with her presentation of UT System public information is way off base. She quotes UT System accountablity reports did you see it in the Herald? How about the Collegian? Or hold on a sec, did UTB News and Information cover it? Maybe they are the one's you should be writing to.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008  

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