Honors student Krystafer Redden will soon be the voice for undergraduates across Texas as he serves his appointment to the Undergraduate Advisory Committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The board, which meets four times per year to work with the legislature, governor, and higher education institutions, promotes access to higher education and provides leadership to higher education in Texas. Redden's appointment is to the Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the board about undergraduate education. As the sole student voice on the board, Redden will provide perspective and offer ideas, although he is a non-voting member of the committee.
After being invited to apply by Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Elwyn Lee and Dean of The Honors College Dr. Bill Monroe, Redden was appointed by the governor to a 2-year term starting in June. While Lee and Monroe knew Redden would be an excellent applicant to the board, hopes were modest – this is the first time UH has had a student appointed to the Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Considering Redden has also been offered a position in and a scholarship for The Fund for American Studies' Capital Semester program in Washington, D.C., his successful application is no surprise.
"It's a reflection of education in Honors that I was even able to secure the appointment," says Redden, who is seeking dual degrees in Political Science and History, with minors in English Literature and Politics and Ethics (through The Honors College's minor Phronesis: A Program in Politics and Ethics). Clearly influenced by his Honors background, Redden says his soapbox is to try to influence a move away from rote acquisition of technical skills, which he believes is "untenable" given the "pace of technology." Instead, he believes in the "profound necessity for all college graduates to have a strong liberal arts and humanities background."
He plans to try to build relationships with students across the state so that he represents not just the needs of University of Houston students, but the concerns and perspective of all Texas undergraduates. When students find out about his appointment, he says, they're ready to start talking.