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A Jaguar Journey
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Robert K. “Bob” Glenn has spent more than three decades in higher education, serving students throughout. He became the 10th president of the University of Houston-Victoria on Aug. 1, 2018. Prior to moving to Victoria with his wife, Laurie, he served as the 36th president of Athens State University for 10 years. Glenn also was vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services at Middle Tennessee State University (1999-2008) and dean of students at Missouri State University (1993-1999). His “A Jaguar Journey” blog is intended to provide members of the UHV faculty, staff and student body, as well as alumni and members of the community, a direct connection to what he is doing as the new UHV president. Readers are encouraged to share their views and ideas by posting to the comments section.  

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UHV, VC and VISD partner up to provide pathways for students in region

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Wednesday, June 5, 2019


In previous posts, I have mentioned the signs of civic success from the book “Our Towns” by Deborah and James Fallows. The first sign of civic success was that “people work together on practical local possibilities rather than allowing bitter disagreements about national politics to keep them apart.” Second was that “you can pick out the local patriots.” Here is their third sign of success, which I would assert frames an opportunity for UHV and Victoria to think about our future together:


The phrase “public-private partnership” refers to something real. “Through the years, I had heard about ‘public-private partnerships’ but had thought of this as just another slogan. If it meant anything at all, it was probably a euphemism for sweetheart deals between big government and big business – the ‘public-private partnership’ to build the latest fighter plane, for instance. In successful towns, people can point to something specific and say, ‘This is what a partnership means.’ In Greenville, S.C., the public school system includes an ‘Elementary School of Engineering’ in a poor neighborhood. The city runs the school; local industries including GE, BMW and Michelin send in engineers to teach and supervise science fairs at the companies’ expense. In little Holland, Mich., a large family-owned scrap-recycling company works with the state correctional system to hire ex-convicts who would otherwise have trouble re-entering the work force. In Fresno, Calif., a collaboration among the city, county and state governments, the local colleges and universities, and several tech start-ups trains high school dropouts and other unemployed people in computer skills. The details vary, but the more specifically a community can explain what their public-private partnerships mean, the better.”


In my view, UHV has a great opportunity to partner up in our community with both the Victoria Independent School District and Victoria College. Early on in my tenure at UHV, I began meeting with VISD Superintendent Quintin Shepherd and VC President David Hinds. We now meet every month without fail to talk about partnerships.


Soon you will see banners going up around town that declare to Victoria that VISD, VC and UHV are “Partners in Your Education.” By that, we want to proclaim to all children in this region that there are pathways to whatever future they can imagine for themselves. We want people to know we are partners and not competitors to help our students get to that future. We want to put students in the position of choosing for themselves the path that best fits them and know that we will honor and affirm those choices. Higher education as a whole always has been bad at collaboration. Collectively, we tend to wait and see who shows up at our doors. To be successful in the future, I would assert that we need to reach back deliberately and pull students forward. We are already in conversation with VISD and VC about what we can do together. Possibilities like laboratory schools, planning innovative new curriculums, and professional development programs for teachers leap to mind.


UHV is fortunate that Dr. Hinds and Dr. Shepherd see the future as we do and are ready to work with us in blazing new trails. When that happens, I believe we can partner up with private entities like Caterpillar, Dow, Formosa or some of the other exceptional companies in the region to bring the public-private partnership concept to reality. I am optimistic that there will come a time when the Fallows write their next book that they will cite our partnerships in Victoria like they have done with Greenville, Holland and Fresno. There’s more to come. Stay tuned.

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Tags:  James and Deborah Fallows  public-private partnership  UHV  VC  VISD 

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College admissions scandal also brings good news

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Thursday, March 21, 2019


On March 19, the Advocate printed an editorial from the Los Angeles Times concerning the ongoing college admissions scandal. I do not take issue with any of the views expressed. I would assert, however, that this is a “good news, bad news” situation. The Los Angeles Times ably stated the case for the bad news, but I would like to remind readers of the good news.


The good news is that while there certainly are problems with college admissions, especially at institutions where there is a very high level of competition to get in, the reality is that at the vast majority of public institutions, there are few obstacles for admission, and any student willing to do the work has an opportunity to improve his or her life. I would assert that the University of Houston-Victoria is a clear example of what is good about public education, particularly in the state of Texas.


Let me start by stating my bias clearly. Public higher education is intended to be focused on benefiting society. It is intended to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to be an economic driver of good for the region it serves by providing access to education that lifts individuals up through their own labor. The link between obtaining a degree and economic prosperity is clearly documented. The individual obtaining the degree is better able to secure a prosperous future, and the region benefits from the growing number of people in better paying jobs. Prosperity can be judged by per capita income, and per capita income rises when the percentage of individuals with degrees increases.


In addition to preparing an individual to be a contributing member of the community, the second goal of public higher education is to better prepare individuals to be active participants in an educated citizenry. A representative democracy such as ours requires that its citizens be engaged. Citizens have choices to make between parties and candidates, and choices to make about issues that affect the common welfare. We all benefit when those choices are made cognitively and logically, rather than emotionally. The framers of our form of government always saw education (from K-12 to higher education) as an avenue to making good decisions. I would argue that education is a vital cornerstone of a democracy.


There are many reasons why so many students want to attend great institutions like the University of Houston, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and others. There also is the reality that these institutions cannot accept all applicants. The result is that there will be occasions when the system doesn’t work the way it should, and inequities will result. But let me state again the good news. The good news for the people of Texas is that there is a network of regional public institutions clearly focused on helping students get from wherever they are to wherever they need to be in order to better their lives and be full participants in the marketplace of ideas that is our democracy. That’s why UHV is a proud member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative that works to increase awareness about these regional public institutions and the important role they play in providing a high-quality and accessible education to a diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development. The good news for the people of the Coastal Bend region is that UHV, Victoria College and the Victoria Independent School District all are providing a broad highway to a bright future.

Tags:  AASCU  Opportunities for All  UHV  Victoria College  VISD 

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