AUSTIN, Texas – Recently, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) announced appointments to the newly created Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency. 

This joint oversight committee will ensure governing boards are following best practices when they develop and implement policy, look for major policy decisions to be adequately vetted and discussed transparently and protect the excellence and high quality of the state’s institutions of higher education.

Dewhurst appointed Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) as joint chair of the committee. The committee members include Senators John Carona (R-Dallas), Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin). 

Straus appointed state Reps. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) will serve as joint chair of the committee. 

Speaking on Pitts’ appointment, Straus said, “I am pleased to appoint Chairman Pitts to the joint oversight committee on higher education. I know that Jim will serve our body well in this role, while also adding his experience and talent as chair of the House Committee on Appropriations.”

“It is an honor to be selected to be a part of this committee,” Pitts said. “I am proud of the significant investments we have made in higher education in Texas and appreciate this opportunity to ensure we are doing all that we can to follow through on our commitment to excellence.”

The committee will make recommendations for legislative or administrative action. An initial report will be made no later than Jan. 7, 2013.