Operating Guidelines


Goal

To maintain and increase support for higher education and the universities in the University of Houston System.


Advantages

  • UHS institutions are responsive to community needs and responsible to the citizens of the Gulf Coast.
  • HS universities contribute to the state's economy and the quality of life of citizens.
  • The UH System and its institutions have undertaken significant efficiency and cost-saving measures.
  • The Regents, Chancellor and Presidents have expanded education opportunities for the region through the establishment of Multi-Institution Teaching Centers in Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties.
  • The universities are aggressively expanding research through the Research Development Fund.
  • Over the last two years, UHS universities have all enjoyed record enrollments, increased retention rates, and growing ethnic diversity.
  • In light of tuition deregulation the Governor and the Legislature have mandated a new accountability system for universities. They are demanding measureable outcomes in return for state support.


The Environment

State

  • At best, the comptroller is predicting limited economic growth.
  • Funding opportunities for higher education are limited, because demands from public schools, health and human services and corrections will continue to be higher.
  • Congressional actions changing state responsibility for such services as welfare and Medicaid may require higher state contributions.

Higher Education

  • Universities, like all of state government, will be expected to do more with less, increase the number of degrees granted, decrease time to degree, retain more students, and produce more teachers. 


Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Regents

  • Set legislative and funding priorities.
  • Build support by working with community leaders and groups.
  • Represent the UH System at legislative committee hearings and in other forums.

Office of the Chancellor/System Administration

  • Provide leadership and coordination in setting the legislative agenda and carrying it out.
  • Coordinate legislative contacts.
  • Coordinate communications with executive agencies.
  • Promote support for UH System agenda by working with local elected leaders, particularly the Mayor and County Judge, community leaders and groups.
  • Monitor legislative activity and report to Regents and Presidents.
  • Provide supporting research and documentation.
  • Communicate UHS initiatives to media.

Presidents

  • Assist chancellor in developing legislative agenda and strategies, and in identifying key issues and opportunities at university, system, and state levels.
  • Coordinate campus resources, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to identify, develop, and support essential legislative issues.
  • After consultation with the chancellor and the vice chancellor for governmental relations, coordinate and share progress regarding all major campus legislative contacts.
  • Communicate legislative issues and activities with faculty, administration, staff, students, and other internal constituent groups.
  • Brief legislators to facilitate their understanding and support of statewide and university initiatives.
  • Provide expert testimony.
  • Promote university priorities with statewide professional organizations.
  • Work with the chancellor, in building support from community leaders and groups.
  • Seek opportunities for positive media exposure.

Faculty

  • In accordance with Board rules and Administrative Memoranda, assist the president in developing and supporting legislative issues.
  • Work with the president to provide opportunities for legislators to participate in university activities.
  • Work with statewide professional organizations and community groups to promote state, system and university priorities.
  • Establish and support the Faculty as Constituents program.

Students

  • Under the direction of the president, assist in the support of essential legislative issues.
  • In consultation with the president, assist in the development of relationships with legislators and policy-makers by involving them in campus activities.
  • Assist in showcasing outstanding university achievements.
  • Establish and support the Students as Constituents program.

Alumni

  • Under the direction of the president, assist in the development and support of essential legislative issues.
    • Develop personal relationships with individual legislators to facilitate their understanding of and commitment to the university and its needs.
    • In consultation with the president, work with statewide professional organizations and community groups to promote state, system, and/or university priorities.
    • Participate in Cougar Advocates for Texas (CATs) activities.  


Engagement Strategies

Purpose

To familiarize legislators with campus and system operations, achievements, challenges and opportunities.

Primary Concentration

Legislative leadership and area legislators.

Engagement Strategies

  • Campus visits
  • Guest lectures to classes, student groups
  • Impromptu telephone calls
  • Op-Ed pieces
  • Social events
  • Athletics events
  • Letters to delegation
  • Community outreach
  • Public presentations
  • University publications
  • Faculty and Student Forums


Related Documents

Lobbying Policies (PDF)
HEF, Texas Constitution (PDF)
HEF, Statutory Appropriation Increase (PDF)
PUF, Texas Constitution (PDF)
Basic Steps in the Legislative Process