AUSTIN, Texas – State Sen. Brian Birdwell officially began his role as vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education on Wednesday, serving alongside Chairman Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and five other senators.

After a series of committee shifts made by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in January, Birdwell was appointed as a vice-chairman and remained on the committees for Economic Development, Government Organization and Veteran Affairs.

“I am pleased to have remained on all of my previously assigned committees and I am especially delighted to have been selected to serve as vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education,” Birdwell said. “These assignments will allow me to focus on a variety of important issues and I look forward to the important work that lies ahead.”

Birdwell believes the appointment will provide an opportunity to address matters facing the numerous institutions of higher education within Senate District 22. The senator’s related priorities include but are not limited to:

• Increasing transparency of expenditures by public institutions of higher education

• Supporting results-based funding measures

• Helping community colleges continue their tradition of being affordable, cost efficient options for students, families and working adults

• Standing as an advocate for the state’s technical institutions

• Ensuring private universities maintain the freedom to maneuver

“Better schools make better Texans,” Birdwell said. “I see my role on this committee as an opportunity to continue to improve our universities, community colleges and technical schools and their ability to afford Texans the opportunity to excel.”

The Senate Committee on Higher Education meets at 8 a.m. Wednesdays in room E1.012 of the Texas Capitol.