Commission to Study Higher Education in Victoria Being Formed

Group will offer recommendations regarding The Victoria College, University of Houston-Victoria

A blue ribbon commission to study the future of higher education in Victoria is being created by officials from the University of Houston System and The Victoria College.

The Commission on Expanding Access to Higher Education will be comprised of community leaders and higher education administrators. It will consider options for developing a more effectively integrated partnership between the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) and The Victoria College to better serve students in the region and the state. The objective is to improve the educational pipeline so more Texans can earn higher education degrees.

The commission will hold public sessions in which community members will be encouraged to provide information and comments. The commission will deliver its findings in October to the Board of Trustees of The Victoria College and the UH System Board of Regents.

State Rep. Geanie W. Morrison, who chairs the House Committee on Higher Education and whose district includes DeWitt, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties, expressed enthusiasm about the creation of the committee.

"Both UHV and The Victoria College are making significant contributions to our community and the prospect of an even closer collaboration between them is very promising," said Morrison. "I am committed to taking whatever community or legislative action is necessary to move the committee's recommendations forward."

The Commission on Expanding Access to Higher Education is being co-chaired by Ron Walker, president of the Board of Trustees of The Victoria College, and Welcome Wilson, chairman of the UH System Board of Regents. Members of the commission will be announced later this month.

"We want to offer this community and the state the very best higher education opportunities that we can," said Wilson. "This commission will recommend productive ways to do that."

"This is a valuable opportunity for our community to participate in planning the future course for higher education in our region," Walker said. "I support The Victoria College remaining a strong community college and working to fulfill that mission. I also believe The Victoria College and UHV should maintain their mutually beneficial partnership no matter how each institution evolves. Most importantly, I have faith that the community, The Victoria College and UHV will work together toward the common goal of providing the best higher education opportunity possible for our region. "

Currently, The Victoria College offers lower-level (freshman and sophomore) classes and UHV offers only upper-level and graduate classes. There have been ongoing discussions in the community about the feasibility of expanding UHV into a four-year institution and/or exploring new areas of collaboration with The Victoria College.